YMCA gets $2M donation that pushes capital campaign to $4.5M

Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo CORRINA AND DEAN ELLIS of Iron Mountain sample wine and listen to piano music by Marc James during the fifth-annual Northern Lights YMCA Corks and Forks campaign fundraiser Thursday evening.

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Northern Lights YMCA Dickinson Center has received an anonymous $2 million donation, almost doubling the $2.4 million capital campaign goal reached in June.

The donation was announced at the YMCA’s annual Corks and Forks fundraiser Thursday evening.

It gives the YMCA more than $4.5 million toward its Community Center renovation project.

“This is a game changer for us, and we couldn’t be more thrilled or thankful,” center Director Jonathan Ringel said. “By nearly doubling our goal, this gift will allow us to transform just about every element of the Community Center building, implement new programming and really put our operating budget on solid footing for the future.”

With the increased project budget, the YMCA Board of Directors and staff are analyzing all additional options for the building renovation and increased programming, taking into account feedback from Y members as well as assessing the most urgent needs of the community.

The Northern Lights YMCA Dickinson Center begins its renovation of the Community Center building later this fall. Above is rendering of what the new main lobby/commons area will look like after completion.

“This incredible blessing we have received is truly going to benefit the community,” Ringel said. “This additional funding will help us pursue enhancements to the building we did not think we’d be able to consider until the future. It will also allow us to potentially add programming that will directly answer the needs of our community.”

Planning for the Capital Campaign began nearly four years ago. After conducting feasibility and cost studies, YMCA officials and community volunteers conducted a quiet campaign beginning in 2016 that drew nearly $1.8 million in donations toward the project.

In January, the YMCA campaign went public for the final $650,000 of the overall goal. With help from more than 75 volunteer campaigners, the community responded with hundreds of individual donations totaling more than $700,000, pushing the overall amount raised to nearly $2.5 million in June.

Along with modernizing and improving the energy efficiencies of the nearly 50-year-old community center, the YMCA’s original plan for the project was to completely rebuild the pool and locker rooms. The fitness center also will be remodeled and furnished with all new cardio equipment.

The YMCA plans to begin renovations on the building as soon as November. The pool project will take place in summer 2019. All work should be completed by fall 2019.

Since opening as a YMCA in 2010, the organization has leased the building at 800 Crystal Lake Blvd. from Dickinson County, with an option to purchase in November.

Taking ownership of the building would mean additional operating costs, but YMCA officials are hopeful that with a renovated building and the new pool opening by fall 2019, those costs will be absorbed through increases both in membership and programming enrollment.

“Other than the pool being shut down for a few months in the summer of 2019, we will keep the building open to members,” Ringel said in June. “We’re hopeful that, in a show of support for our future and what is to come, our dedicated members will stay with us throughout the remodel phase.”

For more information, contact the YMCA at 906-774-4076 or go to www.WhatsYourY.org.