On Thursday, March 1st, 2018, the YMCA of Greater Montgomery hosted our 150th Anniversary Celebration, Annual Campaign Kickoff, and Capital Campaign Kick Off at the Historic Cleveland Avenue YMCA.
When we paused to reflect on our history, our future together, and all of the stories in between, the YMCA knew “The Story of Us” would be a great theme for the momentous occasion. As guests arrived, they enjoyed a beautiful slideshow reflecting on the past and present and were welcomed by the evening’s emcee, Sam Martin and assembled for a buffet-style dinner to commemorate the occasion.
The Historic Cleveland Avenue YMCA gymnasium, completely transformed, was filled with 250 of the YMCA’s closest friends and guests to celebrate a historic evening that began with a prayer and devotion by former President and CEO, Bob McGaughey.
Just after the prayer, the Choralees, under the direction of John Howard, filed into gym with an accapela version of “The Lord’s Prayer” which served as a beautiful opening to a beautiful night.
Guests enjoyed stories of how our modern day YMCA came to be with testimonies from Junie Pierce, Sim Sippial, Judge Vanzetta McPherson, Jimmy Lowder, Dan Harris, and Debbie Johnson. Their stories reflected upon the history of the YMCA, their personal sentiments of their time spent with the YMCA, all dating back to childhood, and gave a hopeful nod to a bright future of the YMCA.
The evening also included a Capital Campaign kick off. Jimmy Parnell, Chair of the Capital Campaign and President and CEO of ALFA encouraged everyone to build upon the exciting legacy of capital campaigns for our YMCA as he thanked his team members:
He announced several lead gifts that have helped contribute to the success of the quiet phase of the campaign thus far…
Raycom Media (Pat LaPlatney)
J.K. Lowder Family Foundation
Smith Charitable Trust
Alabama Power Foundation (Leslie Sanders)
He announced that to-date we have raised $ 3,355,250 from 57 donors.
We have received $934,750 in new pledges and $944,750 in increased pledges. He encouraged everyone to get involved and dig deep as we continue to work towards a capital investment in our YMCA.
Next the audience heard from Taylor Blackwell, our Annual Campaign Chair. He reminded the audience that the Capital Campaign helps provide the space to run our programs for the community. The Annual Campaign is the means to fill that space with the children and families that need the Y. It takes both for the Y to have the desired impact in our community.
He gave an update on the impact of the YMCA, and, as a result, the great need for the annual campaign as over 65,000 lives are touched each year by us:
Just over 7,800 (7,878) kids improved their skills, made new friends and learned to love a sport in our YMCA youth sports programs.
Just over 12,500 (12,712) kids were kept safer in the water due to swim lessons while nearly 4,100 (4138) teens learned how to become tomorrow’s leaders through YMCA teen programs.
More than 3,000 (3178) smile-filled visits were made at camp and more than 2,500 (2554) kids gained help from their counselors in the YMCA after school program.
Thanks to a supportive community helping us to raise $1,188,286 in our annual campaign last year, just over 8,000 kids were able to enjoy our YMCA with $2.6 million given in financial assistance.
Our goals for this year’s Campaign are to:
· 100% Board Giving across Metro & Branch boards
· Need to increase the number donors and member giving
· Continue to Increase Chandler Society Donors
· Increase our visibility and impact as cause driven, charitable organization
With a goal of $1,175,000 this year, he announced that the campaign will run until our Annual Celebration on May 7.
Next, everyone was thrilled to hear from Gary A. Cobbs, President and CEO and Liston Eddins, about the current state and future of our YMCA.
Highlights of the evening included an unveiling of the story of our Brown Bag Bus, the YMCA of Greater Montgomery’s mobile feeding unit, a special proclamation gifted by Governor Kay Ivey and presented by 2018 Alabama Youth Governor Claudia Hubbard, and a performance from a group of teenagers who participate in our newest offering called K-Pop, a Korean dance class featured at the Wilson YMCA.
Thank you to everyone who attended and all who helped us celebrate this special occasion including our generous friends who made the night possible: Walker360, WCOV, Raycom Media, and Dana’s Floral Design. We look forward to celebrating our 150th anniversary throughout 2018 and look forward to many more years of impact for our community.