Greater Springfield YMCA celebrates successful scholarship campaign

Campaign funding exceeds its $500,000 goal

Scholarship Campaign Celebration Breakfast at the Basketball Hall of Fame, Naismith Memorial

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – After five months of campaigning, the YMCA of Greater Springfield has a lot to celebrate today.

The Scholarship Campaign Celebration Breakfast held at the Basketball Hall of Fame on Tuesday morning marks the success of this year’s funding for the YMCA’s 2014 annual scholarship campaign. All proceeds from the event benefit the Strengthening CommUNITY Scholarship Campaign. These scholarships assist families who otherwise cannot afford to take advantage of the programs and services offered by the YMCA.

The campaign’s goal of $500,000 usually exceeds expectations, reaching closer to $2.5 million each year during the five-month campaign timeline. This year was no exception. President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, Kirk Smith, told 22News why the campaign is so important in Springfield.

“It’s consistent with our mission, you know, and it always feels really good to be able to help those in need,” said Smith.

Smith says there are about eight-thousand beneficiaries of the scholarship, especially those involved in youth programs.

“What we’re learning is that in our community – not just in the city of Springfield proper, but throughout Greater Springfield – we’re discovering that the need, the financial need, continues to rise,” says Smith. “Any time we can be in a position to support our community in that way, we’re always excited about that.”

Today’s event featured guest speakers Dan Shaughnessy and Rick Deslauriers. Shaughnessy, a sports columnist for the Boston Globe, has been named Massachusetts Sportwriter of the Year 11 times, and 10 times has been voted one of America’s top 10 sports columnists by the Associated Press Sports Editors. Deslauriers has served as the Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He most recently oversaw the investigation surrounding the bombings of the 2013 Boston Marathon.

There are 19 YMCA centers within the Greater Springfield area. Smith told 22News that anyone in the community can apply for scholarship opportunities at any of these centers.

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