Ashland Family YMCA endowment gets a boost

The Ashland Family YMCA's Endowment Fund grew by more than $100,000 when local community members Dick and Jean Bernard issued a fundraising challenge to the organization, its members and supporters. The Bernards agreed to donate $33,000 to the YMCA's Endowment if the organization could raise $67,000 in matching funds by the end of the year, for a total of $100,000. Local Y supporters responded and exceeded the goal established by the Bernard challenge.

Impressed by the Ashland YMCA's ability to galvanize community support, Dick and Jean Bernard went a step further, naming the fund that could have borne their family name in honor of long-time YMCA executive director, Lisa Molnar.

"We didn't feel it necessary to name the fund after our family," Dick Bernard said. "Lisa is the heart and soul of the Ashland YMCA and given her many years of enormously successful leadership, Jean and I felt it appropriate to honor her in this way. The fund is now the Lisa Molnar Executive Director's Discretionary Fund."

Bernard pointed out the importance of a strong endowment fund to any not-for-profit organization, even those that are extremely successful and well-managed like the Ashland YMCA.

"Even well-run, financially healthy organizations run into periods of stress, whether it be an economic downturn or something else unforeseen. That's when endowments really pay off. They help you get through the tough times," Bernard said.

In 2008 Lisa Molnar will celebrate 20 years at the helm of the Ashland Family YMCA. She also serves on the National Board of the YMCA, the national resource for the country's 2,663 YMCAs. She was chosen for her experience and strong leadership skills, as well as for her passion and commitment to the YMCA mission to build strong kids, strong families and strong communities. Lisa spoke about the importance of the YMCA's Endowment and expressed her appreciation to the Bernards and all those who stepped forward to meet their fundraising challenge.

"Our Endowment secures the future of the Ashland Family YMCA," Molnar said. "It ensures our financial stability and allows us to remain flexible and innovative, able to respond with timely solutions to the changing needs of our community. The Ashland YMCA is a gift we have received from those who came before us. It is a gift we should preserve for future generations. I am deeply honored and quite humbled by this tribute. It feels something like a lifetime achievement award and I'm thrilled."

Lisa is married to Ashland's Community Development Director, Bill Molnar. They have a son, Dylan, 13.

Originally founded in 1899, the Ashland Family YMCA weathered tough times as it evolved through a variety of forms and structures. Today, the Y is a true community center, a large, modern facility offering a wide range of family and community-based programming, including state-of-the art fitness equipment and classes for all ages, a beautiful aquatic center with a warm, salt-water pool, youth and adult sports, a variety of camping opportunities, gymnastics, karate and much more. The Y also offers full-day child care that includes development and enrichment programs. Boasting nearly 8,000 members, the Ashland Y is considered one of the most successful small-town YMCAs in the country.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Pamela Garrett, Communications Director, Ashland Family YMCA at 482-9622, Ext. 329,

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