Currently at more than $5 million on their original $4.3 million capital goal, Betsy and Kristi aren’t done yet. The Executive Directors at the Itasca County Family YMCA and ElderCircle respectively are building the shared vision that started more than four years ago.

    In 2010, the Itasca County Family YMCA, ElderCircle and the City of Grand Rapids began talking about the area’s changing needs. It quickly became clear that the three share a steadfast commitment to a better community, and knew it could be stronger if they worked together.

    Nearly complete on their capital campaign, with the goal of renovating and expanding the current YMCA facility to include an active living center and Adult Day Stay for seniors, as well as increased opportunities for families, adults and children, the two leaders shared what they believe are the keys to their success.

    • Everyone left their egos at the door. They have remained focused on what is best for the community, not their individual organizations. “It’s not about the agency,” said Kristi. “It’s about serving people.”
    • Their missions aligned.
    • They ensured that everyone – boards, members, community leaders – clearly understood and were inspired by their vision.
    • Communication. Communication. Communication.
    • They set up a strong support system from the start. “We couldn’t have done 2-3 presentations a week without having great staff to handle the day-to-day work,” said Betsy.
    • While it wasn’t easy in the throes of the campaign, they maintained their enthusiasm and positive attitude, setting a very optimistic tone for the campaign.
    • They surrounded themselves with good people.

    There’s no silver bullet to a successful campaign. It starts with a clear vision and a solid plan. It’s made possible through a consistent, disciplined working of that plan and steady, optimistic leadership – good old-fashioned hard work.

    There might be a little divine intervention, though. Kristi said, “I prayed a lot, too.”

    Posted by Sara Luke
    Sara Luke

    Written by Sara Luke

    Sara is fueled by an enthusiasm for helping organizations craft and present the right message to help further their mission. Coupled with her passion for non-profits and the life-changing work they do each day, Sara is eager to find creative and effective solutions to marketing/communication challenges.

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