Officials of the proposed Dodge City Family YMCA announced yesterday at a press conference that they are beginning a Founders Campaign. The goal of the campaign is to raise $1.25 million to serve as the start-up fund for the YMCA. If the fundraising is successful, the YMCA will take over the Parks and Recreation facilities and programs and add a childcare center to the Sheridan Center.
The necessary funds for the YMCA will be sought by two boards within the organization: the lead gifts campaign is expected to bring in $875,000. The remaining $375,000 will be raised by the community gifts campaign.
As of Tuesday, the effort has brought in $691,850.00, a number equal to 55 percent of the desired funds.
According to Dr. Mladen Perak, chairman of the YMCA board, the group has been working together for two years and began by conducting studies to discern if the center was needed and if it would be accepted.
Perak said the group created a budget for the first years of operation which led them to the $1.25 million. He said funds from the campaign will get the YMCA through the first five years.
“We expect to be self-sustaining after that,” he said.
The YMCA Board chose Kent Smoll to lead the Founders Campaign.
“I've seen what the YMCA has done in Wichita and Garden City,” Smoll said. “I thought that would be a great thing to have in Dodge City too.”
The board has been working with the Garden City YMCA on the project because the national YMCA requires any new organization to be affiliated with an older one. Consequently, a name change for the overseeing organization has taken place it is now the YMCA of Southwest Kansas.
Smoll said the board was formed as a result of Dodge City residents desire for more services, mostly childcare. He said the current recreation center has budget limitations since it is funded by the city, a restriction that would not be a problem for a privately funded organization like the YMCA.
He also said services currently offered at the Sheridan Center will not be duplicated and the staff will remain as employees of both the city and the YMCA. Improvements to the existing facility include new exercise equipment, classes and childcare facilities.
In June, Cargill announced a $150,000 donation to the Dodge City Family YMCA specifically for the creation of a child care center. The first $100,000 will be paid in 2012, with $25,000 paid in 2013 and 2014. The Cargill Child Care Center at the Dodge City Family YMCA will provide before and after school support.
“We are going to succeed,” Smoll said. “Our goal is to finish the campaign at the end of October.”
The presence of the YMCA will also play a part in the city's 2013 budget, as was discussed at a City Commission Meeting Aug. 6. The budget is built based on the assumption that the YMCA will take over operation of Sheridan Activities Center on Jan. 1, 2013.
Page 2 of 2 - Smoll, who is also a member of the city commission, reported at the meeting that he feels the goal of raising $1.25 million for the YMCA, is "very reachable." The transfer of operations to YMCA represents a savings to the city of $275,000.
The proposed budget will be published in the Globe and a public hearing will be held at the Aug. 20 city commission meeting.
Reach Abigail Wilson at (620) 408-9917 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.