Franklin County’s YMCA seeks to raise $200K for program scholarships

Franklin County’s YMCA staff member Levi Halla speaks at the kickoff celebration for the Y’s 2024 fundraising campaign at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Thursday evening.

Franklin County’s YMCA staff member Levi Halla speaks at the kickoff celebration for the Y’s 2024 fundraising campaign at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Thursday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Edwina Kreps speaks to her positive experiences at Franklin County’s YMCA during the kickoff celebration for the Y’s 2024 fundraising campaign at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Thursday evening.

Edwina Kreps speaks to her positive experiences at Franklin County’s YMCA during the kickoff celebration for the Y’s 2024 fundraising campaign at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Thursday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Franklin County’s YMCA CEO Grady Vigneau and YMCA member Edwina Kreps at the kickoff celebration for the Y’s 2024 fundraising campaign at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Thursday evening.

Franklin County’s YMCA CEO Grady Vigneau and YMCA member Edwina Kreps at the kickoff celebration for the Y’s 2024 fundraising campaign at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Thursday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Grady Vigneau, CEO of Franklin County’s YMCA, speaks at the kickoff celebration for the Y’s 2024 fundraising campaign at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Thursday evening.

Grady Vigneau, CEO of Franklin County’s YMCA, speaks at the kickoff celebration for the Y’s 2024 fundraising campaign at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Thursday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Franklin County’s YMCA held a kickoff celebration for its 2024 fundraising campaign at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Thursday evening.

Franklin County’s YMCA held a kickoff celebration for its 2024 fundraising campaign at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Thursday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By ANTHONY CAMMALLERI

Staff Writer

Published: 03-11-2024 12:47 PM

GREENFIELD — Franklin County’s YMCA has kicked off its annual fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $200,000 to make Y membership, child care services and youth programming more financially accessible.

Last year, the Y awarded roughly $197,000 in scholarships to more than 1,800 members, according to YMCA Director of Development Maddy Oldenburg. The funds help remove financial barriers for those who wish to join the Y or participate in its programs, such as its preschool, youth programs and summer camp.

“Our goal is to make everything accessible to everyone in Franklin County,” Oldenburg said. “We really have something to offer for everyone here, and by being able to provide scholarships, we don’t turn anyone away due to financial barriers.”

YMCA members and staff celebrated the “Opportunity for All” campaign launch over hors d’oeuvres, drinks and live music by T.J. and the Peepers Thursday evening at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center. After the band wrapped its first set, YMCA CEO Grady Vigneau approached the microphone to speak about the Y’s far-reaching impact.

Vigneau opened his remarks by pointing out that despite Franklin County’s population of roughly 70,000 residents, the Y welcomed roughly 185,000 people into its Main Street building in 2023.

“We are everything from preschool children as young as 2.9 years old, to our super seniors, one of whom is 101 years old this year. ... We are role models, we are advocates, we are good listeners and we are conflict resolution people,” Vigneau said. “That’s why we run this annual campaign — it’s to make sure that our vision, our love for this whole county, truly is not just pursued but achieved.”

Following Vigneau’s speech, YMCA staff member Levi Halla approached the mic. Halla told the crowd that the Y, which he attended regularly as a young child, “raised” him and has remained a consistent part of his life.

Halla’s remarks preceded those of Edwina Kreps, who first became a YMCA member in 2022 at the age of 80. Over the course of only two years of exercise at the Y, Kreps said she significantly decreased her body weight from 220 pounds to 140 pounds, and she no longer needs to use an oxygen tank and walker.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Charlemont planners approve special permit for Hinata Mountainside Resort
$338K fraud drains town coffers in Orange
Fire at Rainbow Motel in Whately leaves 17 without a home
Are Massachusetts politics on immigration changing? Strategists, activists weigh in.
All about the bees: 14th Bee Fest draws record attendance, new statue unveiled at fire station
Greenfield Police Logs: April 20 to May 1, 2024

“I have congestive heart failure and a little bit of asthma and probably a little bit of COPD,” Kreps said. “A lot of it has gotten better. My heart actually healed up pretty well. ... If there’s any doctors in this group, please encourage them to have their patients come to the Y.”

This year’s fundraising campaign, which focuses on both individual and organizational donors, will continue until April 25. Those who wish to donate to Franklin County’s YMCA can do so online at your-y.org/donate.

Anthony Cammalleri can be reached at acammalleri@recorder.com or 413-930-4429.