SUCCESS STORY: The Foothills Area YMCA

Building Your Nonprofit Organization For Its Future Growth

This YMCA had leased buildings from the city and moved from place to place over its entire 125-year existence. How do you find the funding for the permanent home you need in order to provide a vibrant, central hub for youth development, social responsibility, and healthy living in the community?

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The Situation

The Foothills Area YMCA was chartered in 1894 on the Clemson University campus. For its entire 125 years of existence, it had operated out of leased or borrowed buildings as a programs-only YMCA. The moves were truly a struggle for the organization as it had outgrown these temporary facilities. It needed a permanent home to provide a vibrant, central hub for youth development, social responsibility and healthy living in the community. To do this effectively, the Foothills Area YMCA needed a building of its own.

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Funding Goals

Prove that the community valued the mission and goals of the YMCA in order to qualify for a USDA Loan and raise $1.5 million in order to start construction on the brand new, $8 million, 32,748-square-foot facility.

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The Challenges

  • Small, already busy staff and board members who were very engaged but also had demanding full-time jobs
  • The community had not experienced the full value of the Y and challenged the need for having its own permanent building
Image of the Foothills YMCA building
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The Convergent Approach

In order to get a loan for a building, the Foothills Area YMCA had to prove that the community wanted this facility as much as the YMCA did. Convergent conducted an impactful feasibility study with 71 local and business leaders. Key takeaways included high prioritization by the leaders on the Y’s mission, effectiveness, and programs. This helped the YMCA secure their loan and provided the basis for powerful communications and marketing to officially kick off a capital campaign. 

For the campaign itself, we quickly secured several key donations from corporate leaders in the area. We also assisted the Foothills Area YMCA in demonstrating an annual post-construction economic impact of $5 million which resonated with potential investors in the campaign.

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The Results

After a very positive feasibility study including responses from 71 community leaders, a land donation and two key investor donations were secured. The Foothills Area YMCA was also approved for a USDA Loan. In just 10 months, Convergent and the Foothills Area YMCA raised $1,600,000 on a goal of $1,500,000 and the pledges continued. 

$2,000,000 raised

Convergent helped us go through this process painlessly. The day-to-day of the study and campaign would have been hard to manage without them. They represented the YMCA well. We really really felt a connection with Convergent from the start. They added structure to our feasibility study and credibility to our fundraising campaign.

Christle Ross
Executive Director, Foothills Area YMCA

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