$1 million matching
gift to YMCA
Chairwoman says impact
could be ‘phenomenal’
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
A Texas-based nonprofit organization has
issued a substantial pledge to the Wood River Community YMCA, the $16 million
public recreational facility proposed for construction in Ketchum.
Founder of the Works of Grace
Foundation, Theresa Castellano-Wood, left, and Benjamin Wood, president of the
foundation, left-center, stand at the proposed site of a new YMCA in Ketchum
after they offered a conditional $1 million pledge for the project. Standing on
the right side of the sign are Mike Wolter, Wood River Community YMCA campaign
director, and Cynthia Murphy, chairwoman of the YMCA board. Photo by Tim
The Works of Grace Foundation, an
organization that promotes family and children’s programs in Idaho and Texas,
pledged last week to give a $1 million matching gift to the YMCA if the
Ketchum-based organization can raise $1 million in new donations by Feb. 1,
Cynthia Murphy, chairwoman of the Wood
River Community YMCA board of directors, said she hopes the pledge encourages
other potential benefactors to consider supporting the project.
"The impact of this additional $1 million
gift by the Works of Grace Foundation to our community would be phenomenal,"
Murphy said. "It would enable us to bring to fruition a center for recreation,
education, fitness and culture where people of all ages and interests can find
programs that are inclusive, engaging, challenging and fun."
Mike Wolter, campaign director for the
Wood River Community YMCA, said the organization has raised and saved $1.5
million to put toward the estimated $16 million cost of the proposed
facility—which was formerly called the Bill Janss Community Center.
The Janss Center earlier this year entered
into a partnership with the YMCA. However, a new plan for the facility remains
very similar to those discussed in previous years for the Janss Center.
The proposed 95,000-square-foot YMCA—which
would be located on the city of Ketchum’s Park-and-Ride Lot north of
downtown—would include an ice rink that converts to an events center, two
swimming pools, a fitness center and a climbing wall.
The city of Ketchum has pledged a separate
matching grant of $3 million for the project that would be delivered once the
project managers have raised the first $3 million.
The funds pledged by Ketchum are slated to
come from city local-option tax revenues, without the imposition of any new
taxes. The city’s pledge would ultimately be subject to voter approval.
Wolter said the $1 million matching gift
pledge from the Works of Grace Foundation could translate into a much larger
amount of funding for the YMCA project. He said donations received before the
February deadline for the matching grant—with the matching grant itself—could
put the YMCA’s reserves over the $3 million mark and qualify the organization
for the additional $3 million pledged by the city of Ketchum.
Last Friday, Wolter noted: "Since the Wood
River Community YMCA has already raised $1.5 million to date, if it can meet the
goal proposed by the Works of Grace Foundation and the city of Ketchum, its
total awarded funds could equal $6.5 million."
The estimated $16 million cost of the new
YMCA includes approximately $12 million in so-called "hard costs" to pay for
construction of the facility and $4 million in "soft costs," which include
design work, engineering, fees, contingency costs and a $1 million operating
Wolter said Monday that the organization
plans to raise all of the funds prior to commencing the project. "Our goal is to
raise the entire sum and build the entire project," he said. "We don’t want to
have to finance it."
Theresa Castellano-Wood, founder of the
Works of Grace Foundation, said she strongly believes the Wood River Community
YMCA project is deserving of public support. "We are excited about supporting an
organization that truly represents our mission of doing ‘works of grace.’"
The foundation has previously supported
several other Blaine County organizations, including Sun Valley Center for the
Arts, Sun Valley Writers’ Conference, Company of Fools and Sawtooth Botanical