The Community Foundation of Southwest Kansas wants to make sure the YMCA stays healthy in Dodge City.

The Community Foundation recently presented two $25,000 gifts to the Dodge City Family YMCA for its after school program, and to assist with facility improvements.

"We’re grateful for the generosity of the Community Foundation," YMCA of Southwest Kansas CEO Chad Knight said. "Each of these gifts will make a tremendous difference in our ability to serve local families and individuals, and in carrying out our promise to strengthen community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility."

The after school program started in 2013 and quickly became the largest program in the state with more than 700 participants. It was initially funded by a grant from the Department of Education which lasted through May of 2016; the after school program has since had to raise its rates to offset the loss of the grant funding, which resulted in a significant drop in participation. 

The Community Foundation’s second $25,000 gift will help fund the YMCA’s Capital Campaign which aims to expand the fitness center and to remodel the existing locker rooms. Phase one of the campaign funded the remodel of the gymnastics, dance and cheer buildings, which were relocated to the YMCA campus earlier this year. The total campaign goal is $562,347, and the YMCA is currently at 20 percent of its goal, according to a press release.

In addition to its Capital Campaign, the YMCA raises funds year-round for scholarships to assist members and participants with program and membership fees. Through this "Annual Campaign," the YMCA awarded more than 10,000 scholarships in 2016. All scholarships went to community members needing financial assistance in order to participate in programs and use the YMCA facility. And through their "Keeping Our Promise" campaign, the YMCA raises funds each fall to award deserving youth with 1-year memberships. Winners from each elementary school are nominated by their teachers and chosen based on financial need, personal conduct, academic effort and several other factors. The YMCA awards the winners with their memberships at an all-school assembly in front of their peers and families at Christmastime.

For more information or to donate, contact Knight at 620-937-2199 or by email at cknight@ymcakansas.org.