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posted: 10/8/2012 12:01 AM

Lake Co. YMCA launches capital campaign to save Ys in Waukegan, Vernon Hills

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  • Childcare and youth development programs are among the many community services provided by Lake County Family YMCA, which has launched a capital fund-raising campaign to keep its branches in Waukegan and Vernon Hills open beyond Oct. 31.

      Childcare and youth development programs are among the many community services provided by Lake County Family YMCA, which has launched a capital fund-raising campaign to keep its branches in Waukegan and Vernon Hills open beyond Oct. 31.
    Lake County Family YMCA file photo

 
Anne O'Connell & Barrie Fromme

Lake County Family YMCA is launching a capital campaign to raise $5 to $8 million by Oct. 31, 2012, to keep both its Waukegan and Vernon Hills YMCA branches open to the community.

"We, the Board, are thrilled by the outpouring of concern about the planned closing of our Lake County Family YMCA branches. Since our announcement Friday, we have heard from several potential community partners inquiring how they can help. Many of you have offered to do whatever you can, both financially and otherwise, to help keep the Y branches open. These Ys provide valued services to the communities, and we would like nothing better than to stay open," Board Member Anne Veit said.

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She noted, though, that in spite of everyone's commitment to keep the Ys open, the Lake County Family YMCA faces significant challenges that require substantial financial resources. "We need to address our ongoing operating deficits, including the elimination of our debt, so that we can again have long-term sustainability."

The Board announced its plan last week to close its branches in Waukegan and Vernon Hills Oct. 31 due to insufficient financial resources to sustain operations on a long-term basis. Childcare programs will remain operational until Nov. 21 to give parents more time to find replacement providers.

"We now face a significant challenge. We need to raise at least $5 to $8 million by Oct. 31 to stay open," Veit adds. "The Board has pursued community and private partnerships to keep both facilities open. Unfortunately our efforts have proved insufficient in light of the significant operating deficit. Over the last several years, we have seen decreased membership and contributions, resulting from the economy. All monies received by the Y, including those you may choose to contribute now, go directly to paying staff, maintaining facilities, funding programs and paying our debt."

Donations to the capital campaign -- in the form of checks made out to Lake County Family YMCA (no cash contributions accepted) -- can either be mailed to or dropped off at Central Lake YMCA, 700 Lakeview Parkway, Vernon Hills, 60061, or Northern Lake YMCA, 2000 Western Ave., Waukegan, 60087. All checks written for this purpose will be set aside and securely maintained. If Lake County Family YMCA does not meet its fund-raising goal, all contributions to this fund will be refunded.

Lake County Family YMCA, which has a total membership of about 2,300, operates before- and after-school childcare programs at both its branches. The Vernon Hills branch also runs a Child Development Center for infants and toddlers up to age 5. In addition, the Lake County Family YMCA operates Y-Pals for children ages 3 to 5 at the Waukegan Baptist Church, 1500 Sunset Ave., Waukegan.

More information is available on the Y's website at www.ymcalakecounty.org and will be updated frequently. You may also call the Northern Lake Y at (847) 360-9622 or the Central Lake Y at (847) 367-6797.

Lake County Family YMCA was chartered in 1912, had its roots in Waukegan, and celebrated its centennial this past July.

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The Lake County Family YMCA is a cause-driven nonprofit that strengthens the community through programs and services that foster youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Chartered in 1912 as a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit, our association is comprised of the Central Lake YMCA in Vernon Hills and Northern Lake

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