eugene ymca press release

Eugene Family YMCA Raises $1 Million Through Betty Soreng Oregon Community Foundation Challenge Grant

Generous Y supporters help Capital Campaign for a new flagship facility

Eugene, Ore., Dec. 17, 2019 - The Eugene Family YMCA is celebrating the incredible generosity of Betty Soreng, who inspired 335 Y supporters to match her $500,000 challenge grant through Oregon Community Foundation to build a new Y.

"I am so pleased that the Y community accepted and met the challenge to match my $500,000 gift," said Mrs. Soreng, a longtime community-minded philanthropist and Y supporter. "It is evident that the community is enthusiastic and understanding of the need for a new Y and the expansion of all of the services it provides. It is exciting to be part of this essential community project. I look forward to other community members joining us in this effort."

The $1 million in funding marks a significant milestone in the Eugene Family YMCA's Capital Campaign. On the heels of $15 million in state funding, Betty Soreng's challenge grant inspired 335 Y members and supporters to give, including a record 153 first-time donors to the Y.

The Y's new state-of-the-art 70,000-square-foot facility will be built at the corner of 24 th Avenue and Hilyard Street.

"We are overwhelmed with the outpouring of generosity from our Y family toward this challenge," said Eugene Family YMCA CEO Brian Steffen. "We heard from members that it was meaningful for them to be asked to be such an essential part of making the new Y a reality and the possibility of doubling their gift made it that much more enticing."

Soreng's challenge grant through Oregon Community Foundation was geared specifically to continue the momentum after the Y's award from the state and to inspire new donors to participate in such a crucial community project.

"OCF appreciates the opportunity to work with donors and nonprofits to support important community projects," says Maylian Pak, Senior Donor Relations Manager at Oregon Community Foundation. "Betty Soreng's matching grant to the Y's capital campaign is a great example of how donors can partner with the community foundation to have a significant impact on the causes they care about."

The Y experienced an expeditious and formative response, for example, former Y Board member Hugh and his wife, Sue Prichard, not only donated generously themselves, but they also engaged their friends and family in a challenge of their own.

"Clearly this matching grant to build a new Y kindled a passion and excitement among Y supporters who have been eagerly waiting for an opportunity like this to have their donations matched," said Chief Development Officer Danielle Uhlhorn. "The number of new donors exceeded our wildest expectations. A new member wrote a $50,000 check because he was so inspired by the project and a longtime Y member offered us the last $6 in his pocket because he really wanted to be a part of the excitement."

Significant project milestones include the $15 million award by the state in the past legislative session, making the second of three land payments to the 4J School District of $712,500 in September and now, meeting Betty Soreng's challenge grant to raise another remarkable gift--$1 million--for the project.

"Betty Soreng's match-and our community's positive and quick response-advances the project in ways we always dreamed of," said Sabrina Parsons, Chair of the Y's Capital Campaign Cabinet, Board member of Oregon Community Foundation and CEO of Palo Alto Software. "The Eugene Family YMCA has been a cornerstone of the Lane County community since 1887. Building a new facility means that we can continue to support our growing population in even more significant ways for the next 130 years."

The current Y building was designed to serve a 1950s population of 70,000 people. It has served the community well for 64 years, but it is now in a state of costly structural decline.

A new flagship YMCA will generate the revenue necessary to expand youth development, disease-prevention courses and wellness programming to better serve our population of more than 170,000 people. The new Y is projected to accommodate 35,000 visits a month, up from its current average 20,000 visits per month.

The Y's plan for the future includes:

Continuing to grow afterschool programs-in places such as Cottage Grove and Bethel school districts where large numbers of students qualify for free and reduced lunch;

Growing disease-fighting and disease prevention programming in areas associated with diabetes prevention, maintaining physical health through a cancer diagnosis, helping seniors remain independent, and implementing sought-after programs associated with devastating illnesses such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's;

Expanding the aquatic center to teach more youth water safety skills, support rehabilitation care and preventative fitness and offer recreational and competitive swimming;

Operating a teaching kitchen to help families and individuals gain the nutritional knowledge vital for good health;

Offering academic tutoring and programming for youth in the Academic Achievement Center;

Wellness classes and community events in the community room; and

Providing a fully ADA-accessible and flexible floor plan designed by local firm, PIVOT Architecture, to accommodate a significant increase in membership.


About the Eugene Family YMCA

The Eugene Family YMCA is one of the region's leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Each year across Lane County, the Y engages nearly 18,000 men, women and children--regardless of age, income or background --to nurture the potential of children, teens and seniors, improve health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. The YMCA has been serving the Eugene-area since 1887.

About Oregon Community Foundation

Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) puts donated money to work in Oregon - more than $100 million in grants and scholarships annually. Since 1973, OCF grantmaking, research, advocacy and community-advised solutions have helped individuals, families, businesses and organizations create charitable funds to improve lives for all Oregonians. Impactful giving - time, talent and resources from many creates measurable change.

Media inquires, please contact:

Eugene Family YMCA

Beth Casper
541-686-9622 ext. 240
503-302-8776 (mobile) 
Oregon Community Foundation

Stephanie Swanson

Sara Brandt

The Y. For a better us.

Founded in 1887, We're Lane County's Oldest Nonprofit.

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December 17, 2019