It's nice to talk about city projects that involve a lot of dollars, but ZERO tax dollars.

Yep, no initiatives, referendums or mill levies here. Only ambition, vision and a strong  desire to meet the demands of thousands of Missoulians. That is the driving force behind what is known as the "Here for Good" campaign, which officially launches tomorrow (Thursday) at an event to be held at the Missoula County Fairgrounds (the public is invited). And according to organizers, the most money ever requested for a Missoula fundraiser.

Since 1967, the Missoula Family YMCA has served thousands of western Montanans and their families. From its facility on South Russell Street, the Y's usage has grown tremendously. But for over 10 years, the physical space has remained relatively unchanged.

According to the YMCA's CEO Heather Foster, "The Missoula Y is, first and foremost, a community organization. Missoula is growing and changing, and it's important that the Y grows and changes with it.

"The Y has been quietly fundraising since September 2021 and we're thrilled to bring this campaign to a community level. We'll be sharing the Y's plans with the Missoula community at our kickoff event on October 6."

The last update for the 35-year-old facility was 10 years ago and the budget limited the project to a small portion of the building. Heather went on to say that, "The Here For Good campaign will allow us to update every square inch of our facility, as well as build a brand-new early child care building that will double the number of kids we can serve."

The Missoula Family YMCA, a non-profit organization, also has plans for a new youth innovation center, a new fitness studio, increased outdoor spaces for sports activities and lots more. And according to John Brauer with Windermere Real Estate here in Missoula, a former Y board member and active participant in fundraising efforts, "It's big. It's big for Missoula. One of the neatest things that's happened is that it is the largest ask of this community of all time."

And you probably are curious about that ASK, right? Heather Foster tells us that the goal of the Here for Good campaign is $15 million. Work would begin in spring of 2023 and done incrementally over the span of two to three years.

The Here for Good Launch Event takes place in the Commercial Building at the Missoula County Fairgrounds, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Thursday. The public is invited. The family-friendly event includes local food trucks, music, a no-host bar, and kids activities including a bouncy house. All are welcome to stop by and learn more about the Y's plans.

And you can also visit the YMCA Here for Good web page to learn more.

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