Eugene Family YMCA Press Release


U.S. Rep. DeFazio and U.S. Senators Wyden and Merkley focus on how the new Y will help address the child care desert and youth mental health

Eugene, Dec. 23, 2022 — The Eugene Family YMCA celebrates the passage of the 2023 congressional omnibus appropriations package, which includes $2 million in funding to the Capital Campaign for a new Y in recognition of its approaching ability to address family and youth needs.

“At the Eugene Family YMCA, we are profoundly grateful for the historic and visionary support of our Congressional leaders, who understand the impact a new Y will have on families and youth,” said Eugene Family YMCA CEO Brian Steffen. “The YMCA has been evolving and innovating in order to meet the health and educational needs of Lane County for 135 years. Because of expanded, thoughtfully designed youth spaces, the new Y will have a transformational impact on the health and education of thousands of children in Lane County over the next 100 years. Their unprecedented investment in our communities’ youth, during their formative years, will leave a legacy that will strengthen their lives in vital ways.”

The U.S. Senate passed the bill on Thursday and the U.S. House passed it today. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill.

“Topnotch child care and expanded opportunities for teenagers and STEM learning add up to a key quality-of-life piece in Eugene and throughout Oregon,” U.S. Senator Ron Wyden said. “I’m thrilled the Eugene YMCA has earned this significant federal investment for the working families it serves, and glad the teamwork with the Y, Senator Merkley and Congressman DeFazio has produced this successful result.”

The Eugene Family YMCA’s project is one of 145 community-initiated projects in Oregon that were included in the package.

“I am thrilled to have helped secure this critical funding to develop a new YMCA. The new Y will expand childcare services in Lane County and serve the community for generations to come,” said U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio. 

“The Eugene Family YMCA supports the health and well-being of so many people in the region,” said U.S. Senator Merkley, who helped to secure funding for this community-initiated project as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “The construction of a new Y will allow them to expand the important services they provide to Oregon families and youth, and I look forward to seeing all the great benefits this new center will bring to the community.” 

Y leaders expressed incredible gratitude to federal legislators, who not only recognize the Y’s impact on youth and families but also understood the need to fiscally support such an important endeavor.

“We are so grateful for the incredible support, trust, and confidence of our Congressional leaders,” said Eugene Family YMCA Board President Joe Carmichael. “Representative DeFazio and Senators Wyden and Merkley have resolutely believed in our project. They understand how an expansive YMCA can address the incredible challenges faced by families and youth in our communities.”

The new Y doubles youth spaces allowing for expanded programming for teens, STEM learning, child care while families focus on their own fitness, and secure outdoor spaces with play equipment for curious, active youngsters.

“As the owner of a local software company, and mother of three children, I understand how critical a reliable and affordable childcare program is to a vibrant workforce,” said Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software and the Eugene Y Capital Campaign Chair. “The vision for a new flagship Y ensures that working families have access to affordable child care and youth enrichment programs. These federal dollars help us meet the goals and needs of local families.”

The $2 million in federally earmarked funding helps fill the gap between what has been raised and pledged and the final cost of $48 million. Including the federal dollars, the total funding raised or pledged for the new Y project is $44.3 million.

The new 75,000-square-foot Y facility is designed to serve thousands more in the decades to come, as well as eliminate inefficient or unusable spaces. It will feature:

  • A fully ADA-accessible, flexible floor plan that can change as needed 
  • Activity centers for academic tutoring, maker spaces and learning labs 
  • A teaching kitchen for families and individuals to gain nutritional knowledge 
  • An expanded Health & Wellness Center that includes an indoor track and cycle room 
  • An expanded Aquatics Center to teach youth safety skills, support rehabilitation and preventative care, and a splash pad for introducing water to toddlers 
  • The addition of critical programs like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s support, and Falls Prevention 
  • The highest level of seismic standards so the building can be re-purposed as a shelter after a devastating earthquake 

The new Y is scheduled to open in December 2023.

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About the Y 

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 more than 18,000 people regardless of age, gender, 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. In 2021, the Eugene Family YMCA awarded $451,599 in financial assistance. The YMCA has been serving the Eugene-area since 1887.

December 23, 2022