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YMCA more than doubles financial assistance to tune of $455,000

GREENFIELD — In the past six years, the YMCA has seen the amount of annual financial assistance to 2,000 youth, seniors and families more than double to $455,000 this fiscal year.

“Yet we were able to end the year with a balanced budget and start to set aside some funds to do some needed improvements,” YMCA President Dan Graves told the nonprofit’s annual meeting recently.

“Some of the other highlights from the past year were a 35 percent increase in the Y’s Exercise is Medicine program where over 40 primary care providers are now referring 15 to 20 patients per week, more than 400 grade-school students each had 10 swimming lessons as part of their school day, the number of facility members peaked at over 6,500 in April, we completed over $250,000 in building upgrades as we ‘greened the Y,’” he added.

About $125,000 was contributed to the annual campaign by Franklin County individuals, and Baystate Health donated $20,000 for financial aid for low income adults to enroll in Exercise is Medicine.

Pelican Products of South Deerfield selected the YMCA as its charity of choice for golf tournaments that raised $10,700 for new youth program equipment and program enhancements.

Bob Sunderland, YMCA executive director, cited other highlights: 420 Y volunteers contributed 6,000 hours of service teaching classes, fundraising, serving on committees, participating in the many social responsibility projects the Y does each year and completing repair/cleanup projects.

“Our YMCA has 115 staff members, but we have over three times that many volunteers.”

Graves added “Four board members completed their third three-year term and had to step off the board (per the bylaws). Cliff Hatch, Bill Doyle, Nancee Bershoff and Mike Currie have been dedicated and amazing leaders/volunteers at our YMCA, serving on committees, fundraising, helping at special events and supporting our YMCA. During their nine years on the board they helped guide the organization through the toughest challenges presented by the lengthy recession and its effect on the Y’s members. Our Y is very fortunate to have had these leaders on our board.

Sunderland added, “2004 is the 125th year of YMCA programming in Franklin County. What is so amazing about our Y’s history is that for the first 50 years there was basically no paid staff. Staff from the Boston YMCA came to Franklin County and trained volunteers to conduct youth, teen and adult programs using local churches, schools and riverbanks. One of our goals for the next two years is to recruit even more Y members to become Y volunteers so our Y can do more social responsibility projects.”

Four new board members were elected to serve three-year terms: John Cormican, Ginny Desorgher, Dr. Gerda Maissel and Liz Millner. Board officers elected for Fiscal Year ’14-’15 are: Walter Boyd, president; Wendy Blanchard, vice president; Mark Donoghue, treasurer; A.J. Bresciano, assistant treasurer, and Dan Graves, clerk. Six current board members were elected to serve an additional three years. They are Wendy Blanchard, Doris Cowdrey, Sue Dillon, Dan Kunhardt, Penny Ricketts and Missy Tetreault.

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