YMCA effort may not meet goal

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 24, 2001

JONESVILLE, La. – The $100,000 a local YMCA steering committee is seeking to raise probably will not be raised by the end of the month, as originally hoped.

But that’s not going to stop them from trying to gather the funds as soon as possible. &uot;This is number one on my priority list – we’ve got to get the YMCA in here,&uot; said Alex Promise, committee chairman.

In the coming weeks, members of a steering committee working to establish a YMCA in Concordia and Catahoula parishes hit the streets to ask for funds.

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The committee, made up of citizens from both parishes, has been divided into four subcommittees to solicit donations from four sectors of the community.

The committees will seek to raise $50,000 from governmental organizations; $30,000 from businesses; $10,000 from the religious sector; and $10,000 from civic groups and the community at large.

Those donating money to the effort could give either a lump sum of money or agree to sponsor a certain number of needy children to participate in Y&160;programs.

In a larger city like Alexandria, a YMCA membership for a child up to age 14 is almost $100 a year -but it could be less in the Ferriday area, Promise said.

In order to establish a branch, the YMCA needs to make sure $150,000 will be available to run it for the first three years. Money raised above that amount will go to help subsidize the participation of needy children in Y programs.

The board of Recreation District No. 1 has already pledged to contribute $75,000 from a recreation tax voters passed in 1998 – provided that the remaining $75,000 is raised from other sources.

The committee has asked the Ferriday Town Council for the remaining $75,000, but an agreement between the YMCA committee and the town has not yet been signed.

So committee members plan to attend the Vidalia Board of Aldermen’s September meeting to ask them to commit $75,000 to the effort. The Jonesville Town Council will be asked for $45,000 – $15,000 a year for three years.

Committee member Windell Millicks noted that having the YMCA name will make it easier to get grants from foundations to help fund programs.

The Ferriday-based Macon Ridge Economic Development Organization has just gotten a federal Rural Utilities Service grant of $82,000. That could be used to locate distance learning center, complete with computers, at YMCA branches, Millicks said.

Promise said he hopes to get letters of support for the YMCA effort from local elected officials.

Promise said he will then take those letters to Washington, D.C., when he, local mayors and other elected officials go to lobby the area’s congressional delegation regarding funding that and other projects.

Meanwhile, the committee has scheduled a fund-raising event – a family portrait session that will be held Sept. 15. A location has not yet been set for the event.

Certificates for family portraits will be sold and could raise an additional $10,000 for the YMCA effort if at least 500 families schedule photo sessions.

YMCA T-shirts will also be sold for $10 each and can be bought from any member of the YMCA Steering Committee of Concordia/Catahoula.

The following have been named as committee members:

4Executive committee members: Promise, Josie Bullitts, Susan Rabb, Johnny Woodruff, Janet Anderson, Elmo Johnson, Millicks, Charles Washington, Josephine Jones, Tina Hedwood, Rena Pitts and Todd Tucker.

4Church organizations subcommittee: Tucker, Promise, David Turner and Jones.

4Businesses subcommittee:&160;Millicks, Anderson, Washington, Hedwood and Bullitts.

4Community groups subcommittee: Jackie Dixon, Rabb, Archie Dunbar and Jones.

4Government organization subcommittee: Judith Bingham, Bullitts, Ricky Raven, Promise and Millicks.