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Family Y Receives $1 Million ‘Challenge’ Gift from Robin Tauck for New Y

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Y Trustee Robin Tauck.

The Westport Weston Family Y’s campaign to fund and construct a new Y facility at its 32-acre Mahackeno Outdoor Center has received a $1 million challenge gift from Y Trustee Robin Tauck, a local resident and third-generation co-owner and former President of Tauck World Discovery, an 87-year luxury travel company based in Westport from 1971 to 2001 and now located in Norwalk.

The $1 million gift was announced at a meeting of the Family Y’s volunteer Board of Trustees on Monday, Nov. 14. Through her donation, Ms. Tauck will match, dollar for dollar up to $1 million, other charitable contributions or pledges of $100,000 or more received by Dec. 31, 2011.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in this ‘season of giving’ for a new generation to follow in the footsteps of passionate citizens and business leaders who have carefully protected and developed these special towns of Westport and Weston so that they will remain among the best places to live in Connecticut,” says Ms. Tauck. “As a resident of Westport for 25 years and of Weston for 10 years, I believe the new Family Y will be among the most significant community projects in the history of our towns, serving over 8,000 people, from youth to seniors. The time is now.”

The $1 million pledge is a personal contribution from Ms. Tauck and represents her largest philanthropic bequest to date to any charitable organization. Her contribution to the Family Y will take place over the next five years.

“Robin Tauck has been one of many passionate advocates for what was once a dream and is now a reality – a modern new Family Y,” says Rob Reeves, Family Y CEO. “Not only has she shared what our new Family Y will mean to families in our community, as a business leader she speaks eloquently about the economic impact our Y has and will continue to have for the entire area,” Reeves adds. “Robin, her husband, Pete Romano, and her family’s company and foundation were major donors and believers in the very early stages of our effort, and we are grateful to them and so many others who are stepping forward.”

A ‘Green’ Y and Environmental Focus for Mahackeno
The new Y facility at Mahackeno is a 102,000 sq. ft. building designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects. With its classic, understated style, nestled within a hillside overlooking the Saugatuck River and Lees Pond, the environmentally sustainable building and parking area will occupy only 8 acres of the 32-acre Mahackeno property. The remaining acreage will remain undeveloped as woodlands, waterways and open space, providing peaceful space for walks and activities; as well as the continued home to the beloved Camp Mahackeno, a summer day camp founded in 1938.

A site plan of the new Y at Mahackeno.

“It is the intention of scores of land planners, architects, town officials, citizens and Y governance groups to steward this special space, enhancing its beauty and use with very dedicated, professional attention to today’s environmental responsibility,” says Ms. Tauck, an active environmentalist, both on the local and global level. She serves on the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Environmental Strategy Committee and is active in the 2020 WTTC Climate Change Plan and Best Practices Initiative.

The Family Y’s volunteer boards of directors and trustees spent the past several years receiving all the necessary permits and approvals for the new facility. The final phase of the capital campaign, known as “Building What Matters,” was launched in May 2011, with a public presentation at the Y’s historic home in downtown Westport featuring the multi-generations of the Tauck, Gault and Mitchell families, along with the Greenbergs, Town Historian Allen Raymond, descendants of Y founder Edward T. Bedford and other longtime Y supporters and civic leaders.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to thank our fellow Trustee, Robin Tauck, for her extraordinary gift,” commented Jim Marpe, Chairman of the Family Y Board of Trustees. “Her generosity and leadership reflect the financial and stewardship commitment of all the Trustees to building a new facility for the Family Y that will enable it to fulfill its mission for the next 100 years. I know that Robin’s challenge will inspire the community at large, including businesses and foundations, to give even more generously, now as we move forward with our construction plans. It is truly a legacy investment to our communities.”

The leaders of the Family Y’s “Building What Matters” capital campaign have identified 100 local individuals, businesses and foundations with the capacity to make a substantial investment in the Family Y’s future and are currently in the process of reaching out to them with personal requests for philanthropic support.

As an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the Family Y is self-supporting, depending on the generosity of our members, residents, charitable foundations and local businesses as well as program and membership fees. Our operations are not funded by any government agency.

Family Y officials are scheduled to break ground on the new Y facility in September 2012 and to open in late 2014. For information about the campaign, please visit www.westporty.org.  To discuss making a financial contribution to the “Building What Matters” capital campaign, please contact Rob Reeves at 203-226-8981, ext. 131 or rreeves@westporty.org.  Gifts over $100,000 received by Dec. 31, 2011, will be matched and personally acknowledged with a private educational and environmental session with key members of campaign team.

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