Cumberland County renews five-year funding agreement with YMCA

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Darrell Cole
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$100,000 a year for five years

Cumberland County is renewing its support for the YMCA

Cumberland County Warden Keith Hunter (seated left) and Cumberland YMCA board chairman Dale Fawthrop (seated right) sign a new five-year funding agreement between the municipality and the YMCA. Looking on are Coun. John Kellegrew and YMCA CEO Trina Clarke.

AMHERST – Cumberland County is extending its partnership with the Cumberland YMCA.

The municipality signed papers Tuesday to extend its funding agreement for an additional five years at $100,000 per year. The county is also putting an additional $25,000 annually into a capital reserve fund to support future renovations and upgrades to the community recreational facility.

Both amounts will be increased by the consumer price index each year.

“Partnerships are critical to the YMCA in order to be sustainable. The funding agreement for the past five years has given the YMCA the opportunity to grow and become a viable contributor to the health and wellness of the residents of Cumberland County,” CEO Trina Clarke said. “The renewing of this agreement will allow the YMCA to continue to reach even more people while maintaining a sustainable operation.”

After emerging from troubled financial times five years ago, the YMCA has undergone a huge expansion in Amherst with the addition of a two-level wellness centre, a child-care wing and renovations to its pool deck and mechanical systems.

At the same time, the YMCA has continued to expand its programs and services out into the county, including the opening of a satellite facility in Oxford.

The YMCA currently has 1,235 members and more than 10 per cent of these are sponsored. More than 250 children are enrolled in YMCA child care programs across the county, with more than 100 being sponsored.

“The Cumberland YMCA serves many needs in our community,” YMCA board chairman Dale Fawthrop said. “Some of these needs are funded by users, but many of our services cannot be fully funded by our members. It is so important that our municipalities provide this assistance for operational and program costs. Grants from the county ill enable us to continue and expand our current services to residents of our county.”

The funding agreement begins April 1 and continues until March 31, 2019.

Cumberland County Warden Keith Hunter said the YMCA is an integral part of the entire county, including his municipality and the towns.

“We wanted to make sure that the YMCA remains sustainable. The annual operations and capital grants should help the organization achieve this,” the warden said. “We added a $25,000 annual capital grant so that when future capital renovations are needed, some of the fund will be there. We hope other organizations and individuals contribute to this capital reserve fund as well.”

The funding agreement includes reporting conditions, a requirement to keep the pool open and continuous implementation and revision of business plans and strategies. Reserve funds will be established and funded and funding contributions will be based on financial need as demonstrated by the YMCA’s financial position.

“It wasn’t a tough decision at all. Here was an organization on the verge of closing five years ago and now we consider that organization one of the biggest success stories that our council has ever been part of,” Coun. John Kellegrew, the municipality’s representative on the YMCA board. “We are proud that we were able to help them and just as proud that we can contribute now.”

Kellegrew said the YMCA makes a significant contribution to the health and wellness of all county residents, provides an environment for families to come together and bond and provides a valuable child care experience, attract business and so on.

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: YMCA, YMCA board

Geographic location: Cumberland County, AMHERST, Oxford

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  • Doug.P
    March 05, 2014 - 09:10

    As long as the the YMCA is taking government funding it is just another government department. A tax funded gym. To all the independent gyms and fitness clubs in Amherst, good luck competing against the YMCA, it is a political crony organization that's "too important" to fail. I pay taxes to run a fitness club and still have to pay a membership: what a rip off.