The La Crosse Area Family YMCA is in the midst of major expansion, recently breaking ground on three projects and adding more than 70,000 square feet to its facilities. With a focus on strengthening the community and strategic partnerships, they are closing in on their $11.3 million goal.

    Bigger than the expansion, however, is the story of fundraising and leadership at its best. Since their newest facility was opened less than 10 years ago, CEO Bill Soper kept community leaders and donors close. While some organizations might experience leadership or donor fatigue after a major campaign, Soper’s genuine stewardship of the relationships kept them engaged and ready to return for another.

    Leaders, donors, campaigners and the community were kept close to the organization as it continued to do its life-changing work. They were invited to be part of the cause and saw first-hand how their work was making a difference in the community. So when it came time for this campaign, they needed little convincing to help again.

    Soper’s leadership and vision have helped the organization deliver relevant and cutting-edge programs that community residents and other organizations want to be part of. The Y is partnering with a local healthcare provider, Gundersen Health System, at their downtown facility to provide increased health and wellness offerings to area residents. The teen center has a unique focus on mental health issues in the teen community and will benefit from their long-standing partnership with Gundersen Health System Behavioral Health Department.

    Not only is the organization completing what they originally set out to build, but thanks to increased support they are also building a gymnastics center.

    He makes it look easy. But we know that an organization and campaign this successful doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a result of stewardship, vision, passion and motivating leadership.

    Congrats to Bill Soper and the entire team at the La Crosse Area Family YMCA! We’re glad to have been along side you during this exciting time in your history.

    Watch some fun time-lapse footage of their teen center going up here.

    Posted by Thom Peters on May. 27, 2015
    Thom Peters

    Written by Thom Peters

    Thom has held executive positions with YMCAs in Albuquerque, San Jose, Chicago and Milwaukee, allowing him to develop expertise in leadership, group work, strategic planning, volunteerism, and staff development. He has demonstrated a keen ability to listen to and understand an organization’s needs, helping them bridge the gaps between status quo and mission fulfillment.

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