For more than 30 years, Hank May has been part of the Westport Weston Family Y. While the activities he’s chosen as an active Y member have changed over the years, his commitment to the organization remains strong.
“I can see the benefit to me, because I’m healthy and fit all these years later, but I can also see the benefits the Y brings to the whole community,” says the local philanthropist and founder of Hank May’s Discount Tire & Auto Centers. “It’s important to give back when you can, and I’m happy to be able to do so again this year.”
Hank joins 16 other donors who have made contributions of $1,000 or more so far this year to the Family Y’s Strong Kids Campaign, which provides financial assistance for free or subsidized membership, child care and camp scholarships to families in need throughout our community.
Sometimes, the contribution is more modest but no less meaningful: When John McNab turned 10 this spring, his friend Dashiell Hunter, a fellow Y member and Water Rat swimmer, made a gift of $25 to Strong Kids in John’s name.
“Instead of kids bringing presents to John’s birthday party, for the past couple years we’ve suggested to their parents that they make a contribution to a local charity,” says John’s father, Andy McNab, a member of the Family Y’s volunteer board of directors. “This year we picked the Strong Kids Campaign, as well as contributions to Save the Children, on behalf of earthquake relief in Christchurch,” adds Andy, a native New Zealander. “John was all for it, and it’s amazing how many parents told us what a great idea it was.”
“It’s a great way to give back, especially when you find something that resonates with both the birthday child and the giver,” says Dashiell’s mother, Sydney Hunter. “The boys have a friend who swims on the Water Rat team through support from Strong Kids, so Dashiell was really excited. It’s important to have that connection and to see how the gift goes back to the community.”
Like many charitable organizations, the Family Y offers a “tribute” selection as part of its online donation process in which “giftees” will be notified, if desired, when donations are made in their name.
Such generosity allowed the Family Y to provide more than $300,000 in direct aid to hundreds of local families last year, as well as an additional $172,000 in indirect support – providing gym-pool time and meeting space to groups and in-kind donations to the many local charities the Family Y partners with to fulfill its mission.
As a charitable, nonprofit organization, our Family Y endeavors to serve all, regardless of financial capacity or physical capability. Not all of the Family Y’s operating costs are covered by membership and program fees, so we rely on the contributions of individuals, families and businesses to help us fulfill our obligations to the community.
A case in point from this summer: Thanks to scholarships made possible by our annual fundraising efforts, 68 children – representing $112,488 in financial aid – were given the opportunity to attend weekly sessions of Camp Mahackeno this summer, where they gained new friends, skills and confidence while enjoying summertime pleasures that make memories for a lifetime.
The impact of those charitable dollars is often felt in very personal ways. “She cried when I told her she was being ‘scholarshipped,’ ” says Melinda Craig, Director of Membership Services, recalling the reaction of a local mother when given the news that she and her children would be able to continue their involvement in the Family Y’s youth, aquatics and camp programs.
Thank you, Hank, John, Dashiell and the hundreds of other donors who are helping to enrich our community through the Family Y’s Strong Kids Campaign.
For more information about our annual Strong Kids Campaign, please contact RoseMary Ogden, Development Coordinator, at 203-226-8981, ext. 106, or email@example.com. To make a safe and secure contribution online, please visit www.westporty.org and click on Strong Kids.