YMCA trying to raise $250,000 to replace aging equipment

The Brown County YMCA is trying to raise about $250,000 to replace major systems that are beginning to fail after a decade and a half of use.

One strategy is staging a half-marathon, the Hilly Half, planned for Nov. 12 in Brown County State Park.

The board also is seeking private and corporate grants, and board members and staff are chipping in about $20,000 of their own money.

The system that heats, cools and dehumidifies the pool area has cost the YMCA about $60,000 in maintenance costs in recent years, said Executive Director Kim Robinson.

Currently, the system is only providing ventilation, not heating or cooling.

The system was struck by lightning in the past, but the ongoing problems are most likely due to age and the wear of processing air from the pool area, she said.

Robinson said this is the first time the Brown County YMCA has had to organize a campaign of this magnitude since the initial efforts that raised $3.8 million to build the 34,000-square-foot Y in 2000.

Quotes for replacing the system have ranged from $150,000 to $180,000, Robinson said.

The YMCA’s board has set a $250,000 fundraising goal for this year, with an expectation to earmark at least $200,000 for the new system.

Anything over $250,000 will go into the YMCA’s endowment at the Brown County Community Foundation, she said.

Anything that doesn’t go toward replacing the environmental control system will go into a pass-through fund administered by the community foundation, and that money would then be available for regular maintenance needs, Robinson said.

Stretching a buck

The YMCA’s endowment is a mixture of funds raised as far back as 1998 and gifts given as recently as 2011, said foundation CEO Larry Pejeau. Gifts to the endowment have ranged from $100 to $100,000 over time.Each year, the YMCA receives a percentage of the endowment linked to investment growth, he said.

This year, the 4 percent that the YMCA received came to about $14,000. That would place the value of the entire endowment at around $350,000.

Like an endowment, a pass-through fund is invested by the foundation’s fund management team and has the potential to grow over time, Pejeau said.

Unlike an endowment, the balance of the pass-through fund is available for charitable use, such as regular maintenance costs at the YMCA.

The community foundation’s board has committed $25,000 from the foundation’s unrestricted endowment to help with the YMCA’s capital campaign, Pejeau said.

The YMCA intends to use that money as a fundraising incentive, allowing donors to pledge money that would then be matched by the community foundation money, Robinson said.

The YMCA has also applied for a $50,000 grant from Smithville Fiber communications company and is seeking grants from other sources, she said.

Race for funds

In order to raise money for immediate and future needs, the YMCA is planning a half-marathon race in Brown County State Park.The Brown County Hilly Half is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 12.

If a race simply breaks even the first year, it has been a success, said Race Director Bill Bartley.

His company, Intimeco Productions, manages events such as Hoosiers Outrun Cancer, the Indiana University Mini Marathon and the Hoosier Half Marathon.

A new race faces a variety of challenges, not just in generating interest from runners, but in securing sponsors as well, he said.

Still, the initial response to the announcement of the Hilly Half has been encouraging, he said. The traffic to the registration site after the initial social media campaign was “probably the best I’ve ever seen.”

When the next marketing push starts, Bartley expects to see that interest turn into registrations, especially as the date of the race approaches and runners firm up their fall plans.

A children’s run is one component; the Nashville McDonald’s is sponsoring it on the Salt Creek Trail the Friday before the big race.

There is also still plenty of opportunity to get involved with the Hilly Half, Bartley said. Whether they are interested in sponsoring or simply donating their time, they can contact the YMCA to find out more.

Run your race

What: Brown County YMCA Hilly Half, 10K and 5K

When: Saturday, Nov. 12

Where: Brown County State Park, starting and ending at the Saddle Barn/Lower Shelter.

Race day schedule:

7-8 a.m. Packet pickup and late registration

8:30 a.m. Start of 5K, 10K and half-marathon

9:45 a.m. 5K awards

10:20 a.m. 10K awards

11:30 a.m. Post-race party and food

Noon Half-marathon timing ends

12:30 p.m. Half-marathon awards

There’s also a children’s run on the Salt Creek Trail, on Friday of race weekend.

More details: browncountyymca.org under the “events” tab.

Want to help the YMCA?

SPONSOR or VOLUNTEER for the Hilly Half Marathon in Brown County State Park Saturday, Nov. 12. Contact the Y at browncountyymca.org or 812-988-9622.

CONTRIBUTE to the Brown County YMCA’s capital campaign. Go to browncountyymca.org/give-to-the-y, or call 812-988-9622.

GROW the YMCA’s endowment. Contact the Brown County Community Foundation at browncountygives.org or 812-988-0299.

Ben Kibbey is a Brown County transplant from the cornfields of central Ohio. He covers county government, business, outdoors, sports and general news.