Polk BOC learn exciting news about new YMCA fundraising

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2023

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Commissioners hear promising presentation regarding plans

COLUMBUS – The Polk County Board of Commissioners has received some positive news regarding fundraising for the new Polk County YMCA facility.

At its Monday meeting, Rick Kiernan of Convergent Nonprofit Services of Atlanta presented his YMCA Feasibility Study Report, which presented the research conducted regarding fundraising for the new Polk YMCA.

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Polk County hired the firm in order to get a grasp of the practicality of raising funds for the facility. Kiernan has been raising money for similar endeavors for 27 years and has experience working with YMCAs, nonprofits, and other municipalities across the country, including in the Polk area. 

The 60-page report detailed the confidential surveys conducted with just under 60 individuals over the course of four weeks and noted that people were excited to participate in the interviews.

All those surveyed said that bringing a YMCA to Polk County was “strongly compelling,” and 88% said that what they saw in the proposal was exactly what they wanted from the upcoming site.

“It shows that folks are very excited about what you’re proposing to do,” said Kiernan.

Among the planned programs, sports and teen projects topped the list of the most anticipated,  followed closely by those pertaining to health and fitness.

The new YMCA will cost roughly $13.4 million, and the goal is to raise $3.5 to 5 million in capital from Polk County residents and other donations. Another 1 to 3 million dollars could potentially come from federal grants and loans. A large portion of the capital is hoped to be obtained from 14 yet-to-be-determined large entities and investments. The YMCA of Greater Spartanburg has already donated $500,000 in equipment.

The report stated that 47% of those interviewed thought this goal seemed realistic and possible, with 55% of those interviewed saying they would be willing to serve a leadership role in a campaigning routine to raise funds.

A “future site of” sign is being donated by Tryon International Equestrian Center and should be erected soon. 

Commissioner Andre Overholt said he was “very excited and encouraged by the report.”

Commissioner Paul Bellar asked Kiernan for a start-to-finish time frame for fundraising, and Kiernan estimated it would last around 15 months.

“We could get three, six, nine, or 12 months in, and everything could change,” Kiernan added. 

Polk County plans to have a formal meeting soon to formally hire Convergent Nonprofit Services to start the fundraising.

Commissioner David Moore commented on the presentation, saying “the new YMCA is really exciting for our county.”