Bloomington-Normal YMCA

YMCA/Easterseals Project Receives Huge Boost: Local Family Donates $4M Challenge Gift

Published 09.13.18


Bloomington/Normal YMCA 602 S. Main St Bloomington, IL 61701 (309)827-6233

September 11, 2018



BLOOMINGTON, IL – Sept. 11, 2018 – The Bloomington-Normal YMCA and Easterseals of

Central Illinois today announced they recently received a new $4 million gift with a catch.

They must match that in local fundraising by December 31st in order to receive the full gift.

The gift, the largest in Bloomington-Normal YMCA history, is from an anonymous family to

build a new YMCA/Easterseal facility in the heart of McLean County. Earlier this year, the

project secured a gift from OSF Healthcare St. Joseph Medical Center providing a new site

along East Washington Street in a central location in the county, with great accessibility to

both auto and public transportation.

"This family challenge gift is an enormous boost to our fundraising efforts. This is another

local family that is dedicated to ensuring our communities have a world-class, accessible

and suitable place for kids, families and seniors throughout our community," said BJ Wilken,

Executive Director and CEO of the YMCA.

Wilken also announced that since receiving the family challenge gift, the YMCA and

Easterseals have secured another $2.2 million toward the match – leaving just $1.8 million

to raise to meet this challenge. "The family challenged our volunteers and the community

responded. We hope to have this challenge met before Christmas and then we are into the

homestretch on our fundraising."

The YMCA and Easterseals envision a future facility with an indoor competitive pool and

warm water therapy/recreational pool, a full-size gymnasium, health and wellness center,

teen and senior program center, as well as consultation and therapy space for Easterseals'

client families and their children.

The YMCA/Easterseals facility will begin construction upon the conclusion of a fundraising

campaign to raise sufficient funds for new construction. "I wish I could give you a specific

date when we hope to start construction, but if our initial conversations are any indication,

we are really excited by the level of vocal support especially for a partnership between the

YMCA, Easterseals and OSF Healthcare," added Wilken.

Wilken cited new YMCAs in Champaign, Springfield, and Decatur as models for the potential

of a new facility replacing an increasingly aging YMCA on Main Street and the former

Easterseals facility on Empire Street. "When you can combine the services of both the

Easterseals and the YMCA into one efficient and accessible facility, that is a win-win-win,"

said Steven Thompson, President and CEO of Easterseals of Central Illinois. The new

facility will exceed accessibility standards, meaning children and adults with physical

limitations can fully access the new facility, something not possible at the older YMCA

facility. "Today, we can do so much more with new construction than we can ever do in

renovations. That is why it is so critical to create this new YMCA/Easterseals facility,"

added Thompson.

Campaign Co-Chairs Julie Dobski and Steve Snyder confirmed that the fundraising effort

would need to be complete in order to move forward with groundbreaking and construction.

“We have 100 percent of our boards committed. We have an ideal, centrally-located site

and we have a generous community that has the capacity to finish our capital campaign.

We are so motivated to finish our campaign and get started,” said Dobski.

The YMCA is working with architects and builders to design the new interior spaces,

gymnasium and pools. The total cost is estimated at $16 million. "Ask me on December

31st where we stand in our fundraising, but we hope to be into the home-stretch," said



About the YMCA: Established in 1855, the Bloomington-Normal YMCA is the oldest

continually existing human service organization in McLean County. Serving more than 5000

people annually, the YMCA is dedicated to instilling Christian principles through programs

that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. As a charitable, non profit organization, the

Y seeks to establish programming in the community for youth development, healthy living

and social responsibility.

About Easterseals of Central Illinois: Easter Seals has been helping individuals with

disabilities and special needs, and their families, live better lives for nearly 100 years. From

child development centers to physical rehabilitation and job training for people with

disabilities, Easter Seals offers a variety of services to help people with disabilities address

life's challenges and achieve personal goals.

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