For the City Times
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — For nearly 60 years, the Alexander Family has been the cornerstone and quintessential force behind the work of the South Wood County YMCA. As it was in 1958, their commitment was reinforced with the recent announcement that the Alexander Charitable Foundation has made a $3.4 million commitment to the Building Futures Together capital campaign. Their gift will ensure that the life changing work of the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club will ensue for generations to come.
“The Alexander Family has been instrumental in the success of our work. With them, we have reached and served countless individuals over the past six decades” said Bret Salscheider, CEO. “Our local Y has been blessed by their unyielding support of our cause driven work and humbled by their continued generosity.”
The John E Alexander South Wood County YMCA was chartered in September of 1958 funded largely through the generosity of the Nekoosa Edwards Paper Foundation – now Alexander Charitable Foundation. The $1.5 million dollar state of the art facility in Port Edwards was a model for the state and hailed by those in and outside of the community. Since then, the Alexander Charitable Foundation has given millions of dollars in support of the transformational, mission based work of the YMCA. The YMCA has gone through many capital additions and improvements through the years with the Alexander Family being a leading contributor.
“We could not be more grateful for the generosity of the Alexander Charitable Foundation,” said Jason Deitz, South Wood County YMCA Board Chair. “For generations, the Alexander Family has helped provide access for thousands of children, adults and families to the Y’s life changing work. This gift will ensure these experiences can be enjoyed for generations to come.”
“The Y is so much more than a facility. It’s a community and people come here to create friendships and build relationships,” said John Alexander Casey, President of the Alexander Charitable Foundation. “Our family has lived by the vision our grandfather embodied 60 years ago – that an organization such as the Y, must reach all people, all denominations and ages, and must offer something worthwhile to all. We believe supporting this project is vital to our community’s health and success.”
The YMCA has worked tirelessly to fulfill that vision. Today, the John E Alexander South Wood County YMCA serves over 5,600 individuals through membership each year. Nearly 1,800 of those members are under the age of 18. Overall membership is expected to grow over 25% once the new center opens late 2019. By joining forces with Boys & Girls Club, the joint project will make the collective organizations the largest provider of youth development and character driven programming in the community. The collaboration will reach more children and families while providing a new paradigm for the health and well-being.
“We have experienced firsthand both organizations’ important role in our community. Because of our passion around social equity and opportunity, we see this project as a critical investment—for all of us—one that addresses a multitude of issues and needs in our community. We are excited to be part of this amazing new community resource” said Casey.
Over $21.3 million has been raised altogether for the estimated $27.5 million project. The $3.4 million Alexander Charitable Foundation gift will be leveraged in two ways. $3 million will be utilized for the development of a new 93,000 SF facility in Wisconsin Rapids while $400,000 will be used for renovations at the Port Edwards Center.
“The Y’s Board of Directors identified early on in the planning process that the success of our future plans relies on the repurposing of the Port Edwards Center” said Deitz. Although the plans call for certain areas of the building to close, the renovated spaces will make way for a new gymnastics center, 4 year old kindergarten and wrap around childcare classroom, community classrooms, meeting spaces as well as a 24 hour access wellness center. “The additional contribution allows us to repurpose the facility into its new role as a program satellite.”
If you would like to learn more about the Building Futures Together Capital Campaign, individuals can visit the website at https://app.southwoodymca.org/. To make a contribution, please call 715.818.6017. Contributions can be made as a one time gift or by distributing payments over a period of up to five years.