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Raise $1M or close: YMCA Sudbury finds itself in a dire predicament

My Y Resilient campaign launched Sept. 24 aims to fill a $3-million hole in lost revenue due to the pandemic

YMCA of Northeastern Ontario launched its My Y Resilient campaign today in hopes of raising $1 million for each community of Sudbury and North Bay.

To date, the YMCA has lost more than $3 million in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"In COVID-19 we were forced to close our doors in March but that did not mean we stopped serving our community," vice president of philanthropy, marketing and communications, Nicole Beattie said.

"Our facility became a warming and cooling centre and was available to those in need to access washrooms, computers and telephones. Our camping services team offered day camp so that parents could return to work with peace of mind.

“The Y wants to continue to reimagine our work and how we can best serve Sudbury, but we need your help."

Without patrons to fund its work, the YMCA’s deficit has been growing since March. Through the My Y Resilient campaign, YMCA hopes the communities it serves will in turn support it and help it continue supporting local communities.

The YMCA in Sudbury serves more than 5,000 members and 10,000 public users through health, fitness, aquatics, daycare and seniors programs. 

The YMCA day camp in Sudbury has made it possible for many working parents, like Josee Garneau, who is raising her six-year-old daughter alone, to return to work. 

"I shouldn't have to choose between being a mom and having a career," Garneau said. "I love working. But I can't work if I don't have child care. If the Y were to close and they didn't have childcare, I would be worried about my mental health and my daughter's mental health.

"She needs to be around kids. She will be missing out on being around her peers which is not fair to her. To us, it is so much more than a daycare."

YMCA of Northeastern Ontario president and CEO Helen Francis and her husband Heiko Leers donated $100,000 towards the campaign, which will run for the next 18 to 24 months.

"We know our community is a generous community and we are asking for your support now," Francis said. "Our YMCA matters and your support matters."

Other contributors that have stepped forward to help save the Y include retired YMCA CEO Gary Gray who donated $10,000 and the Downtown Sudbury BIA donated $25,000.

Donations can be made on YMCA's website or by phoning the front desk at 705-674-8315.

Heather Green-Oliver

About the Author: Heather Green-Oliver

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