Polk Board of Commissioners gets update on YMCA fundraising

Published 11:42 am Friday, November 10, 2023

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Over $700,000 raised in first five months


POLK COUNTY—The Polk County Board of Commissioners heard an update on the fundraising for the upcoming YMCA facility at their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, November 6.

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The meeting began with special events for Veteran’s Day, including a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, sung by Polk County High School 10th-grader Akeela Cunningham. The national anthem was followed by a ceremonial flag folding by members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, with VFW Auxiliary member Joyce Preston explaining the significance of the 13 folds performed on the flag during the ceremony.

Polk County High School 10th grader Akeela Cunningham sings the National Anthem at the Polk Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday night. (Photo by Grant Langston)

Following the recognition of Veteran’s Day, Rick Kiernan, Principal of Convergent Nonprofit Solutions, held a presentation updating the Commissioners on the fundraising efforts for the much anticipated YMCA.

Convergent Nonprofit Solutions was hired by Polk County to plan and run the fundraising efforts for the YMCA, and its first feasibility study was conducted in the spring of this year. 

The study involved 61 interviews, with 70% describing the YMCA as “very compelling,” and 88% saying it’s “absolutely needed.” In addition, 47% believed that it was possible to raise the campaign goal of 3.5 to 5 million dollars, with 40% unsure, and 55% were willing to volunteer to canvas and help raise money for the project.

The total to be raised for the project is 13.4 million, with 1.4 million of that sum being the land already donated. Polk County is providing 5 million, leaving the remaining funds hopefully donated from the community. 

With the campaign hoping to raise the total funds within 15 months, at five months into the fundraising campaign, there are 200 prospective donors with a total of $7,891,500 speculated to be donated, with another 150 identified donors that are expected to pledge. Twenty-seven pledges have already been accepted, totaling $723,101. 

Principal of Convergent Nonprofit Solutions Rick Kiernan updates the Polk Board of Commissioners on the fundraising project for the upcoming YMCA. (Photo by Grant Langston.)

“When you add up what that requested amount is, that’s what gets you up to that goal,” Kiernan said.

The next phase of the fundraising plan constitutes enlisting more volunteers, creating a campaign brochure, and planning the “public campaign kick-off.”

“That’s what I would envision would take place over the next six to nine months,” stated Kiernan.

The public campaign kick-off entails an event with current and potential donors to recognize early investors, showcase design plans, introduce the leadership team and announce funds raised up to that date. At the point of the event, the goal would be to have at least 50% of the funds raised.