MARCH 2018

YMCA Receives Grant from the Knight Cancer Institute
Funding to target Cancer Survival in Lane County

Eugene, Oregon — March 13, 2018 — The Eugene Family YMCA has received a grant from the Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) to focus on recruiting male prostate cancer survivors to participate in the LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program.

"Our LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program is an extension of our integrated community health outreach which is core to the Y's mission," said Danielle Uhlhorn, YMCA Board President. "The Eugene Family YMCA was the first in Oregon to offer this important program, but the majority of participants have been women and we know there are men out there who would also greatly benefit from this program."

Created to help adult cancer survivors reclaim their health and well-being following a cancer diagnosis, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is a 12-week small group program that is free to the participant and is now in its third year at our local Y. This program is 100 percent subsidized by the Eugene Family YMCA and private donations. 

"Without the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program, I would be sitting on the couch eating potato chips. The cancer, and resulting treatments, took away all my energy, ambition, and self-esteem," said Darell Smith, a participant in the Eugene Family YMCA's first LIVESTRONG at the YMCA group in 2016 and one of seven men who have participated in the local program. "I have always been self-sufficient, but the instructors in this Y program have helped me regain my self-esteem and the exercise is rebuilding my energy level and muscle tone."

The $10,000 grant from the Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program will fund the gathering of information on the unique needs of prostate cancer survivors in Lane County and establish partnerships with local providers to increase participation in the evidence-based LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program.

"Women tend to seek out health care more than men," said Lorne Bigley, M.D, a local family medicine physician. "Men often minimize symptoms to avoid going to the doctor, so the challenge of getting them through the door to take care of themselves is the first hurdle we face." 

According to the Agency for Health Research and Quality, men are 24 percent less likely to have visited a physician in the last year than women[i]. Nationally, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among American men and 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program is designed to build sustainable collaborations with Oregon communities by providing grants and other resources to foster development of community-identified cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and survivorship projects. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute has made a decade-long commitment to invest in this program to develop robust, sustainable programs that benefit the health of all Oregonians. 

Additional information about the program is available on the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute website at

Additional information about the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program is available at


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Y Receives $100,000 Anonymous Gift for New Facility Construction

Eugene, Oregon — December 19, 2017 — The Eugene Family YMCA has received a $100,000 anonymous gift earmarked for its Capital Campaign. Funding will support efforts to build a new YMCA facility at the corner of Hilyard and 24th Avenue to replace the organization's current facility which was built more than 60 years ago.

"We're pleased this donor has chosen to realize their philanthropic impact through the work and efforts of the Eugene Family YMCA," said Y Board President Danielle Uhlhorn. "The Y has been providing services for healthy living, youth development and social responsibility for more than 130 years in Lane County and this generous gift is another great step towards realizing our goal of building a new facility."

The Y is the oldest non-profit organization in Eugene, getting its start on April 22, 1887 on the University of Oregon campus. In the years since, the Y has had various locations in Eugene including Willamette St., the University of Oregon campus and its current property on Patterson Street.

"The Y has long been a foundation in building strong communities," said YMCA Executive Director Dave Perez. "Our Y is the largest after school childcare provider in Lane County, reaching nearly 600 kids every day. This provides us with a great opportunity to help shape those kids and the rest of our community. These efforts, combined with our work in chronic disease prevention are positioning us for long-term integrated community health work and a healthier Eugene."

The Y is in the early phases of a Capital Campaign to raise $26 million to build a new facility at the former Roosevelt Middle School site. Construction is fundraising dependent as the Y is a not-for-profit, cause-driven organization that routinely awards significant financial assistance to honor its mission and turn no one away from critical services for an inability to pay.

The Y would like to reach 80% of its fundraising goal before breaking ground. A groundbreaking date has not yet been set.

An average of 20,000 visits are recorded each month at the Patterson St. location and membership has seen a consistent increase, for example, senior membership has increased 35% this year alone. More than 50% of the Y's membership comes from outside the South Eugene area zipcode and we serve nearly 16,000 individuals each year.

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Eugene Family YMCA Board of Directors Pledge in Excess of $1 Million for Capital Campaign

The Board of Directors of the Eugene Family YMCA is 100 percent behind the organization's current Capital Campaign with combined pledges and gifts that exceed $1 million. The Eugene Family YMCA plans to build a new facility to address the growing health and wellness, youth development and community needs in Eugene/Springfield and beyond. Already serving nearly 16,000 individuals annually, a new facility will ensure additional programming can be added to the roster of health and wellness work, while also generating the revenue needed to open satellite Y locations in under-served areas.

"The Eugene Family YMCA has long been a fixture in in this community, serving its needs for 130 years, but our current building was constructed for a 1950s world and the needs of our broader community require something much better," said YMCA Board President, Danielle Uhlhorn. "This board is 100 percent committed to ensuring this project gets done and proof is in the giving."

The Y will raise $26 million dollars for the land, construction and cost of the campaign. The Y has already completed important stages of the campaign by ramping up its staff, completing a feasibility study, conducting site tests and finishing the design development and value engineering stages required prior to construction.

"We have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that this project is a success," said YMCA Executive Director, Dave Perez. "This is the kind of project that comes up in this community once every century, so we are marching forward very responsibly."

The Y is working closely with local firms PIVOT Architecture and Chambers Construction on the early planning and design of the project. In addition, Mark Miksis, a Eugene-based developer with deChase Miksis is serving as the Y's owner's representative.

Members of the Eugene YMCA's Board of Directors represent various interests within the community from residential construction, to law, education and banking. There currently are 14 volunteer board members.

More details on the New YMCA project can be found at

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Eugene Family YMCA Partners with Trillium to Offer Diabetes Prevention Program to Medicaid Patients

The Eugene Family YMCA has partnered with Trillium Community Health Plan to provide the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program (YMCA's DPP) to Medicaid patients in Lane County. The Y's ongoing work with the Centers for Disease Control and local health care providers has enabled it to develop evidence-based programming that helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 58%.

"Diabetes is the second highest cause of preventable death in Lane County. This is a tremendous step in demonstrating our capacity as an integrated community health partner providing significant help to decrease our community's rate of type 2 diabetes," said Eugene Family YMCA Executive Director, Dave Perez. "The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program works and our participants make no hesitation to proclaim that it has literally saved their lives."

The Y has long been involved in fighting chronic disease, but in more recent years has succeeded as an integrated community health partner in Lane County. The Eugene Family YMCA offers diverse programming in diabetes prevention, support for cancer survivors though LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA and Enhance®Fitness classes for people with arthritis and other chronic conditions. By offering the YMCA's DPP to Medicaid patients, Trillium and the YMCA are furthering the reach for everyone in our community to take advantage of this significant program.

"This partnership and the work the Eugene Family YMCA is providing is critical for Lane County residents and proven to make a difference," said YMCA Board President, Danielle Uhlhorn. "Diabetes health care costs are 2.3 times higher than costs for individuals without diabetes, so reducing risk is good for everyone."

The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program is a community-based lifestyle improvement program for adults with prediabetes. It is a year-long program that meets for 25 sessions with the overall goal to reduce the participant's total body weight by 7% and increase physical activity to 150 minutes per week.

"I was shocked when my doctor told me I had prediabetes as I'm not your typical candidate. Without the Eugene Family YMCA, I couldn't have turned this around; the Y saved my life no doubt," said YMCA's DPP participant Jessie Pileggi.

The YMCA has strategies, partners and donors that assist in providing program access to everyone at risk for type 2 diabetes regardless of a participant's socio-economic status, race or ethnic background. All YMCAs work to ensure that no one is denied due to an inability to pay.

To learn more about the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program, please visit or call 541-686-9622.

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Julie Grossman, YMCA Executive Director, is departing Eugene

The Board of Directors of the Eugene Family YMCA have announced the departure of Executive Director, Julie Grossman. After 16 years at the Eugene Family YMCA, Grossman and her family will be returning to her home state of Wisconsin at the end of October.

"Julie has served the Eugene Y and this community in many capacities over the past 16 years," said YMCA Board President, Danielle Uhlhorn. "Julie's devotion to building a better Y is a reflection of her passion to help us all build a stronger community — and she did so in many ways both within the Y and with other community organizations." Grossman will begin her next chapter as the President and CEO of the Manitowoc-Two Rivers YMCA in Wisconsin on November 13, 2017, returning to her hometown to be nearer family.

The Eugene Family YMCA Board of Directors unanimously selected previous Executive Director, Dave Perez, to return to the interim role. Perez was previously the Executive Director for the Eugene Family YMCA for 25 years and has remained active in the Y's Capital Campaign to build a new facility. All told, Perez has 50 years with the YMCA including leadership tenures in Los Angeles and Seattle before coming to Eugene.

"I am proud and thankful to have served this YMCA and this community since I began my first days in membership back in 2001," said Grossman. "For all those years, I've been honored to build relationships with so many talented and committed volunteers, staff, members, donors and community partners, who have guided and encouraged me and all of our Y leaders. We have built a strong foundation upon which this Y will continue to thrive and bring incredible programs and services to so many."

The Eugene Family YMCA is a volunteer-led organization serving nearly 16,000 individuals annually and is the largest child care provider in Lane County. It has an operating budget of nearly $4 million and is currently in a capital campaign to raise $26 million for a new Y facility designed to meet the youth development and healthy living needs in Lane County.

"Our Y has some exciting moments ahead and although we are saddened to say goodbye to Julie, we trust that with her leadership, we were able to build a strong, savvy team of management, staff and volunteers to continue the Y's long history of service to this community, beyond its 130 years thus far," said Uhlhorn. A committee for a national search for a new Executive Director will be appointed soon.

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APRIL 2017

The Eugene Family YMCA Celebrates 130 Years of Service in Lane County

In 1887, Grover Cleveland was President, the United States was in the middle of the Gilded Age, the phonograph was invented, Georgia O'Keeffe was born and the Eugene Family YMCA got its start.

Locally, 'The Guard' newspaper was just 20 years old and the University of Oregon's first class had convened just 11 years prior. On April 22nd, 1887, a group of volunteers gathered on the campus of what was then known as the State University; that meeting was the catalyst for what has become one of Eugene's longest lasting legacies: The Eugene Family YMCA.

"We began as a small gathering of volunteers chartered with welcoming new students to Eugene City," said Julie Grossman, Executive Director of the Eugene Family YMCA.  "Our mission began with a specific constituency and has evolved to embrace all of our citizens.  The Y has a legacy of addressing the needs of our community and to that end, we have served the greater Eugene area for more than a century."

During the past 130 years, the Y has supported families through wartime, provided young men and women with job training, assisted refugees in assimilating to a new country and earn citizenship, integrated curriculum-based youth programming to address Achievement Gap and STEM-related learning deficiencies and added chronic disease prevention to our mix of health programming.

"In Eugene and our surrounding communities the Y is more than a gym, it's a place of community," continued Grossman. "Today we work to ensure that everyone has the tools they need to reach their full potential — whether that's through afterschool programs, swim lessons, diabetes and arthritis classes, cancer survivor programs and more — we're here for you and your family."

To celebrate 130 years of serving Eugene and Lane County, the Eugene Family YMCA is inviting our community to take part in the celebration. This Saturday, April 22nd, the Y will be hosting a Birthday Block Party! EVERYONE is INVITED to the FREE celebration! There will be live music, inflatable bounce houses, an obstacle course, kid crafts and more. Food will be available for purchase from local food trucks and of course there will be birthday cake!

"Congratulations to the Eugene Family YMCA on celebrating its 130th birthday and best wishes for many more years of success in Oregon nurturing the potential of our young people, supporting a healthy, able workforce, and engaging everybody in a true sense of community," offered Oregon Senator Ron Wyden.

It's a big year for the Eugene Family YMCA - not only because we celebrate our 130th year - but because we're excited to start building a foundation for our next 130 years. While still fundraising dependent, the Eugene Family YMCA is firmly on track for a groundbreaking of our new facility at 24th and Hilyard Streets later this year.

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The Eugene Family YMCA is one of the region's leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across Lane County, the Eugene Y engages nearly 16,000 men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation's health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than just our building on Patterson Street, the YMCA has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.

Jeff Oliver, Media Inquiries / 541-686-9622 x234