1889 Foundation today announced a $230,000 grant to the YMCA to fund several initiatives that support the foundation’s mission of improving the health and well-being of people living in this region.

“Physical activity is a key part of maintaining and improving health, and the YMCA offers a wide variety of accessible, affordable programs that encourage people in our region to exercise and live a healthier lifestyle,” said Susan Mann, president of 1889 Foundation. “We are delighted to fund programs that will help people improve their physical and mental health, as well as to support physical renovations to the YMCA’s facility that will help programming across the board.”

“Obviously, the pandemic has been a difficult time for the YMCA, and we’re grateful to 1889 Foundation for helping us to continue to expand the services we offer,” said Shawn Sebring, CEO of the YMCA. “We’re excited because we expect that 1889 Foundation’s generous grant will help us leverage additional funding from other sources.”

The grant will fund these programs:

Community-Based Cardiac rehabilitation – The cardiac rehabilitation program will allow the YMCA to better support people who have experienced a cardiac event and are now working to improving their heart health. The program is also open to those with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, fibromyalgia, strokes, and related conditions who would benefit from increasing their cardiovascular activity but need to be monitored. Participants will not be medically supervised but under the watchful eye of trained YMCA Wellness Staff.

Diabetes prevention –  Nationally adopted by the Centers for Disease Control, this small-group program meets 25 times each year to help people with prediabetes eat healthier, increase their physical activity, and lose weight, thus helping to delay or even prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

Obesity impact – This series of programs will help adults make better lifestyle choices and control their weight for health or pre-surgery.

Blood pressure self-monitoring – This program helps people with high blood pressure learn to monitor and control it.

Middle School Initiative – Local at-risk youth will have the opportunity to earn a membership at the YMCA through service, academics, and program involvement.

Financial assistance scholarships – These scholarships will enable adults who are unable to afford a YMCA membership to take part in programs and fitness activities, helping to delay disease and improve social and emotional connections.

Renovations — In addition, the funding will enable the YMCA to complete renovations that will update the YMCA facility to provide flexible space for programming for all ages, with a special focus on serving youth. The new game room will be a multi-use, flexible space primarily intended as a socialization space for young adults. The area will be used for group conferences, homework/education, a cafe, and future programs such as a chess club, leadership development, or lifeguard/first aid training. Babysitting programs can also be offered here, allowing young parents to drop off their small children while they exercise.

The racquetball court renovation will allow the YMCA to move group exercise programs out of the gymnasium, which can then be used for basketball and other sports programs. The renovated racquetball courts will provide space for all types of fitness training for all ages.