Y opens charter membership drive
With construction of a new building well underway, the YMCA of Martha's Vineyard kicks off a charter membership drive today.
Charter membership packages are being sold in advance of the new Y's projected opening next spring. The enrollment price is $1,250 for a one-year household membership.
"The reason we are doing this is to ensure we can open the doors in April or May, because we need certain cash on hand," YMCA interim executive director Margaret (Peg) Regan said this week. "Charter members will provide us with up-front membership from the Island that will allow us then to hire the personnel that we need to ensure that the Y will be fully staffed when it opens."
The approximately 38,000 square-foot YMCA facility is located on a site opposite Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) and next to the Martha's Vineyard Arena on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road in Oak Bluffs.
Phase one of the building will include an indoor aquatic center with a competition-length swimming pool, a wellness center with fitness equipment and an exercise studio, a teen center, a child watch area, outdoor play and camp areas, a café, community meeting rooms and administrative offices.
"This is the Vineyarders' opportunity to get on board," Ms. Regan said. "You may not have had $10,000 or $15,000 to contribute to the facility, but now you can get your family signed up and ready to be there at the opening of the Y."
In addition to receiving a three-year fixed price membership rate, charter members will have exclusive use of the facility one week prior to its grand opening, get priority registration for programs during the first year, receive complimentary guest passes, and pay no processing fees.
Charter members also will be acknowledged at the grand opening ceremony, recognized in newspapers, and have their names displayed on a plaque at the facility. And to top it off, they even get a free YMCA charter member pool towel.
"We will sell an exclusive number of charter memberships," Ms. Regan said. "We have not yet decided on the number, but at some point we will close off the charter memberships and begin selling full memberships sometime after the first of the year."
Ms. Regan said there would be several membership categories, price levels, and payment plans.
The Y's fundraising efforts over the last five years have focused on the capital campaign, Ms. Regan said, while charter memberships will fund programs starting next spring. "We still need money for bricks and mortar - we're not 100 percent done with that - but the Island people are more interested in the programs than they are, really, in what the lobby is going to look like," she said.
In addition to the charter membership drive, the Y's Tile Campaign fundraising effort also will be featured at the Ag Fair.
For $100 per tile, donors may have photos of their choice embossed on ceramic tiles. Five thousand tiles will be displayed along an 80-foot corridor in the new Y next to the entrance to the locker room.
Well-known Island documentary photographer and author Alan Brigish will be at the Y's Ag Fair booth today and tomorrow to photograph individuals and families for tile photos. Donors may upload their own photos when ordering tiles on the Y website.
"It's a snapshot in time of where we began," Ms. Regan said.
On Saturday, August 29, from 11 am to 2 pm, the Y board and staff will host a reception for the Island community at the building site, offering everyone an opportunity to take a tour and learn about membership.
"We want to show everyone we're well under way, and the time is now to close the gap in fundraising," YMCA development director Christine Todd said in a meeting at The Times last week. "We want the community to get excited and invest in this project."
Ms. Regan, Ms. Todd, and Chuck Hughes, the president of the Y's board, met with The Times last Friday to discuss fundraising projects and progress.
"There are several components of fundraising," Mr. Hughes said. "There are pledges, and we're on track with that 100 percent, so I feel good about that. The area that I expected to be weak, and is weak, is major new donors coming forward."
According to the Y's website, approximately $11 million has been raised, of which $2 million is set aside as an endowment. Approximately $9 million has been raised for construction. As of March 2009, approximately $7 million had been received and the rest is outstanding pledges.
Ms. Regan, a board member of the YMCA since 2003, stepped in as the interim executive director on August 1. Former executive director John Clese resigned to take a position with the YMCA in Chicago. An executive search to find his replacement is under way.
"For me, one of the reasons I came on board at this point is that I feel that it is very similar to running a school," said Ms. Regan, who served as the regional high school's principal for nine years. "It's getting people in the community excited about the opening and worked up about real people joining the Y."
Information about charter membership and the opportunity to enroll is available at the Agricultural Fair in West Tisbury starting today. YMCA staff members will man a booth in a special tent at the fair this year for non-profit organizations.
Charter memberships also may be purchased online at www.ymcamv.org or at the Y's administrative offices at 31 Beach Road, Suite A-202, in Vineyard Haven. For questions, call 508-696-7171.