The YMCA of Rock River Valley is appealing to the community to donate to its annual campaign in an effort to help cover $73,000 in funding cuts from the United Way of Rock River Valley.
The United Way recently announced a decline in its annual campaign and a commitment to focus funding on the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative. The YMCA requested $95,000 from the United Way, which was received last year, but will only receive $22,000 in 2016.
The funds were requested to support the Big Brothers Big Sisters, RAISE and Achievers programs. Big Brothers Big Sisters is one-to-one mentoring for youth ages 6-18 developing positive relationships that have a direct and lasting impact on their lives. RAISE and Achievers are effective and long-standing programs that address the gap in career exploration and college readiness, while providing caring adults and mentors to walk young people through their journey to achievement.
Y leadership has made the decision to end the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program effective July 1, 2016 and funnel these children into our Project 505 initiative or other youth development programs. Project 505 offers free memberships to area teens in exchange for four hours of community service a month. The teens also have access to peer groups, mentoring with adult leaders and other programming that instills leadership and values.
“While we are removing the Big Brothers Big Sisters program from the Y, it is more of an evolution,” said Mike Brown, CFRE, CEO and President, YMCA of Rock River Valley. “Mentoring youth has changed over the years and we need to align our programs with those changes. We will continue to prioritize youth and teen programming because there is a huge gap in our community, but we are asking people who have not yet supported these programs through our annual campaign to take the chance to do so.”
The YMCA annual campaign is underway currently with a goal of raising $1.1 million. The Y has raised more than $800,000 to date and is hoping to reach the goal this summer.
“When people give to the Y, they are strengthening our community,” said Michelle Gorham, CFRE, Chief Advancement Officer, YMCA of Rock River Valley. “Donations to our campaign ensure those who need us most have access to quality programs, activities and facilities – designed to help kids thrive, and advance diversity and inclusion.”
“If we cannot meet our goal, then we will be limited in our capacity to serve our community’s youth,” said Brown. “We know our programs are transforming lives and helping youth in a time that is critical – not only for their own success, but for that of the community as well. Drop out rates, an uneducated workforce and teen crime are real issues in our community. If we all come together and support youth now, then we can truly see change happen.”
Click here to support our annual campaign.