April 19, 2013

Even for an organization that’s continually innovating and moving forward, the first quarter of 2013 has been an incredibly busy, productive time for the Y of Central Florida. From raising $16 million to help neighbors in need and expand our facilities − to hosting two hugely successfully prayer breakfasts that united thousands of local leaders, the Y is truly an organization that pushes the envelope and gets things done.


Since the first of the year, we’ve made record strides in pushing ahead with our capital campaign to renovate and expand nine of our 20 Y Family Centers. With this campaign going strong, we plan to break ground on $28 to $32 million in capital projects over the next 18 months.


In fact, design work is already well underway for the Dr. P. Phillips Y thanks to a significant gift from our most generous partner, Dr. Phillips Charities. Plans are also progressing for the Marion County Y, which was recently renamed the Frank DeLuca YMCA in honor of a major gift from Ocala business leader Frank DeLuca. Once completed, these two family centers will serve as prototypes of the new “Y brand,” which reflects our personalized, preventative approach to helping people take personal responsibility for their health and well-being.


With Marion County’s health ranking in the bottom third of counties statewide, it’s inspiring to see how the entire community has really rallied around this project, which is seen as part of the big-picture solution. To date, nearly $5 million has been raised in the community for this expansion. And with Munroe Regional Medical Center also just announcing a major partnership, this facility will provide an innovative model for how communities can work together to truly turn the tide on chronic disease.    


During the first quarter, we’re also proud and grateful to say that our 2013 Annual Support Campaign crossed the $1.5 million mark. These dollars, raised by more than 2,000 dedicated volunteers, will provide Y scholarship assistance to more than 35,000 deserving kids and families. They’ll also fund critical programs at our 11 Outreach Ys, which serve such financially fragile neighborhoods as Pine Hills, Tangelo Park and Kissimmee.


While fundraising is critical, it’s not the only measure of how the Y invests in our community.  We also host two hugely successful prayer breakfasts each year. During Holy Week, we presented the 19th Annual Celebration of Prayer Breakfast, featuring U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black. This, along with January’s Pappy Kennedy/Martin Luther King Prayer, inspired more than 2,000 guests of all faiths and backgrounds to create a stronger community.


So with the second quarter of 2013 underway, our cause and momentum motivate us to work even harder. While many organizations talk about giving back and investing in the community, the Y is indeed fortunate to have the resources, partners and volunteers to take action and actually DO IT.   

Jim Ferber
YMCA of Central Florida