YMCA to launch campaign

Published 8:43 am Friday, March 1, 2019

NILES — For the past three years, the Niles-Buchanan YMCA has been raising money to support a more than 13,000-foot expansion to its facility. With the project expected to break ground in July, leaders of the nonprofit are hoping to close in on their campaign goal and inviting residents to help them achieve it.

The Changing Lives and Improving Health capital campaign will kick off at 8 a.m. Monday. Throughout the day, people are invited to visit the YMCA, 905 N. Second St., and learn about the expansion project and options for donating to the effort.

Jill Haboush, the vice president of Fund Development and Marketing, YMCA of Southwest Michigan, said every dollar people donate will make a difference.

“It is a good way to continue to support those in our community and support the health and changing lives, just as our tagline is,” Haboush said. “Even the smallest of dollars will make a difference for this. Whether those are $5 gifts or $50 gifts or $100 gifts, they truly will add up when you start to get those from multiple community members.”

The Changing Lives and Improving Health campaign will seek to raise between $25,000 to $50,000. People can donate by pledging the YMCA, or they can visit the Niles-Buchanan YMCA website and donate online and designate their gift to the capital campaign. Those who give $500 can have their name listed on YMCA Donor Wall, which will be placed in the new part of the building.

The Niles-Buchanan YMCA started raising funds for the project three years ago. So far, Haboush said the YMCA had raised about $1.8 million for the project. Haboush said the expansion project was implemented because YMCA leaders wanted to address the need for more space.

The proposed $3 million expansion will include the addition of a second gymnasium, youth and teen centers, fitness room, and additional space for preschool and Childwatch. Haboush anticipates the 13,682-square-foot expansion will take about six months to complete.

Haboush said the expansion would seek to benefit the community in a variety of ways.

“Whether it’s pre-diabetes or obesity or whether it’s focused on youth or graduation rates — this space will provide a safe place for teens and youth to come after school to get maybe homework assistance, a healthy snack, nutrition education,” she said. “It will continue to support, of course, our membership in getting healthy.”

In the months to come, Haboush said they hope to continue raising funds to support the project. A contractor has been secured to break ground on the expansion and blueprints are being finalized.

“It’s real,” Haboush said. “We are moving forward, and it’s exciting. We just need to continue to pull in the financial support in order to achieve our goal.”