UNION — He thought his organization was only being considered for a possible donation so you can imagine how pleasantly surprised Union County YMCA CEO Scott Sandor was when presented with a check for $500 by the Union Community Foundation.
The presentation took place Wednesday morning at the YMCA, 106 Lakeside Drive, Union when a group of UCF officers and board members arrived for what Sandor believed would be a tour of the facility. Prior to the entering the building, UCF Chairman Pat Littlejohn told the other UCF board members that, in order to keep Sandor in the dark about the group’s true intentions, he’d told him that the YMCA was being considered for a possible donation. Littlejohn said he’d told Sanders the UCF board wanted to tour the YMCA prior to placing its name in contention with several other local organizations the board was considering making a donation to.
Sandor met the delegation from the UCF and prepared to take them on a tour of the YMCA when Littlejohn revealed the truth about the group’s visit and presented him with a check for $500.
In presenting the check, Littlejohn said the donation was part of the foundation’s continuing efforts to support deserving community organizations like the YMCA.
“This is an ongoing thing, we’re trying to help the non-profits around the community,” Littlejohn said. “This came with a lot of thought, a lot of discussion. The YMCA is well deserving and an important part of the community.”
Sandor thanked the UCF for its donation and briefed the board members on the current state of the YMCA. He pointed out that over the last several years the YMCA’s membership has more than doubled from 1,300 members to 2,700. Even as it doubled its membership, Sandor said the YMCA more than doubled its assistance to the community from $20,000 to $45,000.
In addition, Sandor said that during that time the YMCA paid off a $20,000 line of credit and is now out of debt.
While it only has a full-time staff of three, Sandor said the YMCA operates seven days week almost year-round, being closed only a few days a year for holidays such as Christmas. He said he is currently in the process of interviewing to fill a position at the YMCA and that part of the duties of the person hired will be to promote community health and chronic disease awareness.
Sandor said the YMCA is in the procss of applying for grants that will help the YMCA increase its role in promoting good health, not only in Union County, but in other communities as well. He said his goal is for a member of the YMCA staff to serve as a diabetes prevention coordinator addressing the needs of Union County, but also providing those services in neighboring counties.
Another project Sandor said he is hoping to undertake is a capital improvement project involving the replacement of the equipment in the YMCA fitness center. He said replacing the equipment is projected to cost approximately $150,000.
Sandor also addressed the July 22 death of 7-year-old Miracle Smith who drowned in the YMCA swimming pool. He said the child’s death changed the way the YMCA operates, with additional safety precautions now in place to prevent another such tragedy from occurring. One of those precautions is that those who cannot swim must wear a life jacket and Sandor said Wednesday he is planning to use the UCF donation to help buy some more life jackets for when the pool, which is currently closed for winter, reopens in 2016.
The Union County YMCA is open Monday-Thursday from 5 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday from 5 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., and Sunday from 1:30-5 p.m.
For more information about the Union County YMCA and the services it offers call 864-427-0668.
Union Community Foundation
Located at 207 S. Herndon St., Union, the Union Community Foundation is, according to its mission statement, “a local, non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging the development of a community tradition of philanthropy by assisting individuals, families, corporations, businesses, and charitable organizations to establish funds in support of the organizations and entities that will provide for the material, moral, intellectual, and physical improvement, assistance, relief, and well-being of the citizens of Union County, South Carolina.”
According to its mission statement, anyone may use the foundation “to give something back to the community.” Assets donated to the foundation “create one of several types of funds to support your charitable goals. We offer you a full menu of planned giving options to tailor your gift.”
It further states that:
“You can create a fund in honor of someone you love or to celebrate a special event. You can direct your gift broadly or narrowly to issues you care about or to wherever the needs are greatest. However you give, your gift can change lives — today and in the future.
“We use professionals to invest and manage our assets. Our board is made up of local citizens who know the community and our staff can help you create the gift that makes the difference you want.
“We offer you power and flexibility in giving without the paperwork, time and expenses associated with running your private foundation. We can help you set up a fund that will maximize both your tax advantages and your impact in the community — now and forever.”
Persons interested in establishing a fund through the Union Community Foundation should call 864-391-1098.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or email@example.com.