Garner YMCA shatters fundraising record, mum on facility plan

kjahner@newsobserver.comJanuary 3, 2014 

— YMCA of Garner wanted to add a third school to its programing, but figured it would need another $23,000 in its annual fundraising push beyond the record $102,000 set last year.

It didn’t raise $125,000 in this year’s “We Build People” campaign. It raised $133,000, and it will expand it’s programming into East Garner Magnet Middle School.

“Donations to the YMCA’s We Build People Campaign will allow us to expand the Y Learning tutorial program to children who need help in the classroom and can’t afford academic assistance,” YMCA of Garner Executive Branch Director Melissa Oliver said.

The YMCA already holds programming at Vandora Springs and Vance elementary schools. The branch does not have a facility of its own as many others have, such building-less branches rely on partnerships with schools and churches.

While fiscal support for the YMCA of Garner has grown consistently, its giving network remains less developed than some. The Alexander branch on Hillsborough Street for example raised more than $1.2 million. The Kraft Family YMCA – due west of Garner near the intersection of Ten Ten and Holly Springs roads and the most recently built facility, opening in 2008 – raised about $340,000.

Those branches, however, have facilities. The Johnston County branch does not; it raised substantially less than Garner’s branch.

A place of its own

The YMCA of Raleigh has long owned a 14-acre property on Aversboro Road in Garner that backs up to White Deer Park. The YMCA of Garner branch started about 15 years ago, long after YMCA came into possession of the land. Oliver said the support of the community was a positive step toward possibly building a facility, and said residents have expressed interest.

“Our community seems to be interested in having a facility branch,” Oliver said.

She indicated that the organization was in some stage of evaluating such a facility, but would not go into detail regarding likelihood or time-frames. She also didn’t specify what would need to happen; she said more than anything community support would determine the ability to fund and sustain a brick-and-mortar facility.

“‘We Build People’ is just an indicator that there might be support for that,” Oliver said. “There are more firm plans we can share at a different time. We’ve heard that Garner is ready and we’re hoping that we’ll feel that same support we already do.”

Asked if a lead gift was a requisite or common kick-starter, she said it’s happened that way in the past.

“It’s always a possibility and something that would be very exciting,” Oliver said.

Vance and Vandora Springs offer the organization’s standardized tutorial program “Y Learning” that serve 25 students each four days a week after school. According to the YMCA, the cost for one child to participate is $1,432, but donations allow children to participate for free.

The We Build People campaign also allows children to attend after school and summer day camps as well as track-out programs at free or reduced rates. The We Build People campaign does not include any fundraisers; it is solely a one-on-one donation drive, Oliver said.

Jahner: 919-829-4822; Twitter: @garnercleveland

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