LYNCHBURG, VA – November 9, 2021 ‐The YMCA of Central Virginia announced today that it has received a $2 million gift from the Schewel – Clark family toward a major renovation of the Downtown YMCA. The YMCA is currently in the early leadership phase of a capital campaign to fund a major renovation of the Downtown facility as well as an expansion of the Jamerson Family YMCA.
Built in 1956, the Downtown YMCA facility is scheduled for a long‐overdue transformation with a cost totaling $11.5 million. The new renovations will provide a modern YMCA “for the next generation” with emphasis on providing additional space to serve youth and community health programs. A new 3‐story, 23,000 square foot addition will replace the current lower portion of the facility facing Church Street.
Highlights of the new space include: Youth Learning Center, Kids Adventure Zone, Arts Studio, Community Center and Nutritional Teaching Kitchen; as well as a 2‐story fitness center and increased group exercise studios.
Marc Schewel, a past president of the YMCA and currently chair of the Capital Campaign, says the gift is jointly from himself, his mother Helene P. Schewel, his brother Jack Schewel, his nephew Jordan S. Clark, his niece Julie S. Clark, and from the Schewel Charitable Foundation, which was created in 2015 through a bequest from the estate of his late sister Donna S. Clark.
Marc said, “The YMCA has played an important role in the life of the community for over one hundred fifty years and helped so many individuals build better futures for themselves. It is a place, maybe the only place, where differences of age, gender, race, religion, and socio‐economic status seem to disappear as persons of all backgrounds come together to work, play, and learn. We believe that it is of utmost importance that this great organization be put on a sound footing for the future. In making this gift, we are honoring a legacy of philanthropy established by our forebears. My grandfather Ben helped many people over the years in quiet, unrecognized ways. My father Bert instilled in me an obligation to give back to the community that had enabled the family business to prosper. He once said to me that he wished he could give $1 million to some worthy project. We are all so happy now, after forty years, to fulfill his wish.”
“This is such an exciting time for our Y and our community,” said Jay Parker, CEO of the YMCA of Central Virginia. “Today we embark on the most ambitious undertaking in our storied 165 year history. This leadership gift from the Schewel‐Clark family will allow us to increase significantly the number of children, families, adults and seniors who benefit from our many programs and services. We’re very humbled and grateful for the family’s continued support of our Y mission.”
Parker stated that additional information regarding the capital campaign and facility plans will be shared in the spring of 2022.