Tyrone Y impacted by United Way shortfall

Over the past five years, the United Way has contributed a little more than $190,434 to the Tyrone YMCA. The high amount of that span reached $40,911 in 2001 and the low was recorded last year with a $34,716 contribution.
This year, the numbers figured to be a little different as the local chapter of the nation-wide, fundraising organization failed to reach its goal of $1.2 million.
“Right now, we’re at $898,959 and there is still some money we haven’t put into the computer yet,” said Kay Johnson, executive director of the United Way’s Blair County chapter. “It looks as if we’ll get a solid 80 percent, and hopefully more, but I can’t guarantee that. We’re a little disappointed.”
According to Johnson, the United Way had hoped to give the YMCA $37,239 this year, but because of the shortfall, could only muster $25,785.
“We really hated to do that,” said Johnson, “and not only there. We had to cut funding from other places as well.”
The local chapter of the United Way serves 29 Blair County organizations.
Despite the cut in funding, YMCA Executive Director Amy Hampton said the situation would not affect the current slate of programming at the Y.
“We’re definitely not going to cut any programs because of it and it won’t affect our members in any way,” she said. “What it will do though is make us, the staff, become more creative and inventive in coming up with ideas to make up this difference.”
According to Hampton, the timing of the news from the United Way makes this month’s annual fund drive even more important.
“Just because we didn’t receive as much as we hoped to have had, it doesn’t mean we’re just going to give up,” she said. “Now, it’s that much more important that we reach our own goal.”
The YMCA has established $30,000 as its goal for the fund drive. Since Feb. 1, the organization has raised about $5,000.
“We’re happy with that amount now, but that still leaves $25,000 between what we have and the goal,” she said.
This year’s fund drive takes a different approach than in years past – possibly because the organization didn’t reach its goal last year, which was also $30,000.
According to Hampton, about 40 volunteers have assembled and placed themselves into groups of five. Each of these volunteers are planning to speak, face-to-face, with five other people, regarding what the YMCA is and how important it is to the community.
“Last year, we didn’t reach our goal,” said Hampton. “We used mailings and phone calls to work the drive, but we think the idea this year will be to go an physically speak to the people and let them know what we’re really about and what we’re trying to do. People will see how committed we are to this organization and the only way we can show that is to be there in person.”
According to Hampton, the funds raised will be applied to operation costs of the facility.
Currently, there are more than 700 members who enjoy the YMCA’s facility and programming schedule, and if things go as planned, more members will be joining in the coming weeks.
The push for new members began in early January, and since then, the organization has welcomed 30 new memberships. Through Feb. 28, anyone purchasing a new, one-year membership contract will receive 25 percent off the price. This includes, single, family and joint membership packages.
According to Hampton, the goal is just to get people through the door. She believes those who tour the facility would see the value of a membership.
Tours are free and those who think they may be interested in a membership can apply for a two-week trial pass that will allow them to use the facilities and involve themselves in YMCA programming for two weeks, all free of charge.
“We have tons of programs that are ongoing now and expect to begin seven new programs in the spring and summer,” said Hampton. “A big misconception is that the YMCA is a ‘kid’s place,’ but that’s just not the case. Many adults use the facilities right along side the younger people who come here.”
Hampton also said the YMCA and its staff are always looking into ways to improve the facility. She said comments, suggestions and ideas are always being explored.
“Our philosophy is just give it a try,” said Hampton. “Every idea is just an idea until life is breathed into it. That’s what everyone here is prepared to do.”
Anyone seeking more information is encouraged to contact the YMCA at 684-2740.