eugene ymca press release


Julia Stiltner and Kendra Goldberg of the Chambers Family join the Y's Capital Campaign Cabinet

Eugene, Ore., June 8, 2021 - The Eugene Family YMCA enthusiastically celebrates a $1.5 million gift from the Chambers Family Foundation for the new Y to be built at 24th Avenue and Hilyard Street.

"We are profoundly grateful to the Chambers family for their longtime commitment in support of the community," said Eugene Family YMCA CEO Brian Steffen. "From Carolyn's vision for doing good to the second and third-generation family members guiding the work of the foundation today, this family's impact is far-reaching and considerable. The fact that they chose the Y is humbling and gratifying. We are thrilled to work with a family with such lasting vision and enduring compassion."

The $1.5 million gift comprised half the match for the challenge grant inspired by the John E. and Robin Jaqua Fund of Oregon Community Foundation, which called for the Y to raise $3 million matched by the fund's $1 million. 

"This project embodies the values of the Chambers Family Foundation in an exceptional way," said Michelle Allen, Executive Director of the Chambers Family Foundation. "It is clear that the Y's impact on the community is significant—from youth sports and cancer survivors to afterschool programs and disease prevention. The Y has a vision for what they see in the new building. Once it is a reality, even more amazing good is going to come to pass."

The Y's plan for the future includes:

  • 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;
  • 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;
  • expanding the aquatic center to teach more youth water safety skills, and support rehabilitation care and preventative fitness;
  • 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 a high-tech maker space with S.T.E.M. equipment; and
  • continuing to ensure that no one is turned away for an inability to pay.

"Community is built when people come together with personal goals for self improvement," said Kendra Goldberg, trustee of the Chambers Family Foundation. "The new Y is going to build social capital, which will spiral out in the community in ways that we won't necessarily be able to quantify but will strengthen and grow the entire community."

Goldberg and her cousin Julia Stiltner have also increased their involvement with the project by volunteering for the Y's Capital Campaign Cabinet. Goldberg, the daughter of Scott and Kellie Chambers, and Stiltner, the daughter of Liz Chambers, are third-generation trustees.

"The Y is such a great organization and we can't wait to see what they are able to accomplish with this new building," said Stiltner. "The new Y is going to touch so many more lives and will continue to make a real difference in our community."

The 16-member Capital Campaign Cabinet is the volunteer-driven effort to raise critical funds for the $42 million new Y project. The Cabinet is chaired by Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software, and Honorary Chair Bob Ballin.

"The addition of Kendra and Julia to the Capital Campaign Cabinet is such a blessing as we reach the final fundraising stages," said Danielle Uhlhorn, Chief Development Officer of the Eugene Family YMCA. "They truly exemplify the next generation of visionary philanthropists in our community with energy, vision and compassion."

Since 1999, the Chambers Family Foundation has supported 422 organizations with more than $17 million in donations. The Foundation has a particular focus on education, arts and human needs.

"We focus on paying it forward," said second-generation trustee of the Chambers Family Foundation Silva Chambers, the daughter of Dick and Carolyn Chambers. "Y programs provide incredible impact to all ages—from childhood to adulthood and seniors. The fact that the Y affects the health and wellness of people across our entire population really cemented our desire to be a part of the organization—individuals, families and the entire community reap the benefits of the Y's work."


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 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 2020, the Eugene Family YMCA awarded $413,506 in financial assistance. The YMCA has been serving the Eugene-area since 1887.

About the Chambers Family Foundation 

Learning the importance of giving back to the community from her parents, Carolyn Chambers founded the Chambers Family Foundation in 1999 and the first cycle of grants were awarded in 2000. Carolyn originally served as a Trustee alongside her daughters, Elizabeth Chambers and Silva Chambers. Her son, Scott Chambers, served as Trustee from 2011-2019. The Chambers Family Foundation awards grants to non-profit organizations throughout Oregon's Lane, Benton and Deschutes Counties. Priority is given to projects with the greatest potential for furthering the Foundation's values and benefitting the community. 

June 8, 2021