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Local YMCA Sets Its Own Direction

Karen Richards

YMCA is a national nonprofit, but each of its locations acts independently. In raising money for the new Eugene facility at 24th and Hilyard, the Y needs local support. 

In order to receive $15 million dollars in earmarked state lottery funds, the Eugene Family YMCA has to secure the balance of the $34 million dollar package by January, 2021. 


Steffen: “We don’t receive funding from the national office. We actually contribute thousands of dollars per year to that national office to be part of the YMCA global movement.”


CEO Brian Steffen says the local board determines their focus. Since 1887, the Eugene Y has targeted disease prevention and youth programs. They want to add more…


Steffen: “…such as Parkinsons programming. We want to do more with nutrition, more programming around isolation, loneliness, suicide rates.”


The Y just received a $4 million dollar gift from Bill and Michelle Service, its largest donation ever.


The couple, who say the YMCA helped shape their youth, give in other ways as well. Bill serves on the board and both have pulled weeds at the building site.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.
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