The arrival of the YMCA in Sandpoint has been a labor of love for many in the community over the past decade.
But the opening of the Litehouse YMCA is just the beginning of the real work. The Y is currently in the midst of a capital campaign to raise $4.1 million to fund the facility acquisition and initial expansion.
“This campaign is a little different than a traditional capital campaign”, explained Steve Tammaro, YMCA President and CEO. “When we were approached with the idea of acquiring SWAC we knew it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. But it came together quickly before we could raise all the funds necessary for the acquisition. Instead, we placed our faith in this community knowing that if we could deliver an immediate impact, the community would deliver their support.”
So far, the Y has stepped forward to deliver on their promises of improving the health of the Bonner County community. These are just some of those initial impacts:
• In their first year, over 400 third grade and 500 middle school students participated in the Y’s Safety Around Water program. Drowning is the second leading cause of death among children 15 and under nationwide.
• 300 senior citizens have received a free membership through the Y’s Silver & Fit and Silver Sneakers partnerships with insurance companies.
• 550 people have utilized the Y’s sliding scale membership fee which provides discounts for everyone earning less than $55,000 a year. This number is continuing to grow as more people learn about it and is particularly important in Sandpoint where the median household income is $36,518 and 42% of the population earns less than $30,000 annually.
The community has also rallied to help support the Y’s campaign having already donated $1.5 million toward the $4.1 million needed. Early supporters include Litehouse Foods, whose lead gift led to the facility being named the Litehouse YMCA, former SWAC owners Don & Sue Helander, Aitken Construction & Development, and Kendon and Judy Perry.
The YMCA is continuing to look for additional donations for the campaign and hopes to have it completed by late 2020. Those interested in supporting the project can contact Tammy Campbell, branch executive at the Litehouse YMCA.