Milestone reached on the path to a new Y
Dear Y Community Member,
Our generous supporters have propelled us past our original goals for the Staying in the Heart Fundraising Campaign. With 403 donors and counting, the campaign has raised nearly $17.2 million.
Our original campaign goal, set in 2016, was $15 million, including our broad-based community phase that occurred in the past six months. The campaign supports construction of the Y's brand-new fitness, aquatics, child care, and community facility at 298 College Street. We expect construction to begin this fall.
Every single donation has made a difference. In the past few days, we have been especially grateful that two major supporters played leading roles in propelling the campaign past its goals:
- The Stiller Family Foundation awarded the Y an additional $2 million, bringing their total campaign gift to $3 million. We are enormously grateful to the Stillers for their belief in our vision for giving every child a strong start in life -- and for their continued belief in the Y. The Stillers join other lead donors who have added on to initial gifts that were stunning in their own right.
- The City of Burlington granted the Y $130,000 toward construction of the facility as part of the Early Learning Initiative (ELI) program, which announced a round of grants this week. The grant supports the Y's efforts to add 50 much needed new infant and toddler slots to its child care offerings when the new facility opens. It's especially meaningful to us that the City where our Y was founded in 1866 has chosen to support this project. We are also grateful to the Permanent Fund for Vermont's Children, which offered its knowledgeable and passionate service to the community in assisting with the ELI process.
There's more good news:
- We have received our zoning permits. With the support of our neighbors, our project's path through the permit review process was relatively smooth and resulted in improvements in our plans.
- The sale of our existing building and acquisition of New Market Tax Credits continue on track. These are key components of our funding for the new building. Because of the particular requirements of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs), we will sell and then lease back our current facility. We will also enter the formal series of "closing" actions to secure NMTCs later this summer, and are on track to receive at least the $4M allocation we had originally anticipated.
All of this gives us great optimism about beginning construction in 2018 -- commencing with the demolition of the current Y Annex, expected in the fall.
Members: As we finalize plans for the anticipated closing of the Annex this fall, we will keep you posted on schedule changes. For updates on this project, check this website: stayingintheheart.org.
The remaining challenges
With all the support and all of the positive energy carrying us forward, challenges still remain. We are building on a difficult site at an extraordinarily challenging time to begin a project -- given that other major projects in Burlington are putting a squeeze on contractors and material, and given economic uncertainty due to factors such as steel tariffs. All of this adds up to a more expensive project.
In short, we have made great progress, we know the work that lies ahead of us, and we continue to hope that you are as excited as we are to see our new Y finally take shape. As much as we look forward to a reinvigorated Y in a new facility, we also continue to stretch ourselves to meet the current needs of the community within a constraint of our limited operational budget. We appreciate your continued support and understanding during this crucial time in our history.
If you have any questions whatsoever, please reach out. My door is always open to you.
On behalf of all of us at the Y -- staff, board, campaign cabinet, and all the individuals and families we serve -- please accept my deepest gratitude to all of those who have supported us in this process.
Now, Let's Build It!
President & C.E.O