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YMCA board votes to kick off giving initiative for endowment fund

The Hastings YMCA is located at 85 Pleasant Drive. Kelsey Roy / RiverTown Multimedia

The Hastings Area YMCA opened its doors in 2007, after a group of Hastings residents brought the idea forward over 20 years ago. Due to costs, the facility had to be split into two phases. The second phase was finished in 2017.

"Now that we have it built," Hastings YMCA Executive Director Derrick Jaeger said, "we want to sustain it together."

To help secure the future of the YMCA in Hastings, the Hastings Area YMCA Board of Directors approved a plan for a $7 million giving initiative to establish an endowment fund last month.

The goal, chair of the board Dawn Wagenaar said, is to raise the $7 million over a three-year period through planned giving. With the planned giving initiative, the YMCA asks its supporters to put a statement in their will or estate saying that they would like to give a certain amount or percentage to the YMCA after their death.

"We want to be sure that the Y has a legacy in the future so that we will always be able to provide the funds," Wagenaar said.

Currently, the YMCA gives about $140,000 a year to people in need. "By having an endowment fund, we can continue to do that," Wagenaar added.

A look back at the YMCA

Efforts to bring a YMCA to Hastings began in the late 1990s, when the director of the YMCA in Eagan, TIm Staley, came to Hastings to give a presentation. Afterward, Staley got together with Hastings resident, Don Kramlinger, to talk about the possibility of starting a YMCA program in the city.

From there, Staley and Kramlinger started a two-month process of identifying and meeting with leaders around the city to see what interest there would be in starting up a Y, Kramlinger said.

"We needed to make sure there was involvement and support from the community," Kramlinger added. "We were able to gather interested individuals to form a steering committee."

The next step for the steering committee was to decide whether or not the Hastings YMCA program would be a branch of the YMCA Twin Cities or be independent. After touring and talking with both types of facilities, Kramlinger recalled, the committee overwhelmingly agreed that the Hastings YMCA would be a branch.

To get a foothold in the community, the Y negotiated to take over the Healthy for Life program that was run out of the basement at the Regina Hospital. The space was a good place to start, as there was already fitness and weight equipment available.

Soon after acquiring the space in the hospital, the program outgrew the space. Programs started being offered at the Hastings National Guard Armory.

Again, the space quickly became too small for the number of members. In the early 2000s, the YMCA moved to the Westview Mall. With this move, the YMCA also experienced an expansion in programming, Kramlinger said. At the Westview location, the Hastings Y began offering more youth-focused programming. However, the Y again outgrew the space that Westview had available.

"We knew ultimately that we would end up building," Kramlinger said. "Our memberships were going up so quickly."

The steering committee became a board of directors. The first Hastings Area YMCA Board of Directors started by surveying the community to see what needs weren't being met, and the results were favorable for a YMCA facility.

After presenting to the Hastings City Council and the school board, a capital campaign was started to raise the money needed to build a facility.

The volunteers were able to raise $6 million of the $8 million needed for the building. The YMCA Twin Cities was able to help finance the rest.

The first phase of the facility was finished in 2007, and included most of the facility's needs. In 2017, a second phase was completed. The $3.5 million project added more studios, locker rooms and a gym to the YMCA facility.