Two generations plant $50,000 gift for new YMCA

Pictured here are Clarion County YMCA director Jesse Kelley, Mike and Teresa Lapinto from C&A Trees, and Milissa Bauer and Al Lander, chairs of the YMCA capital campaign. (Contributed photo)

CLARION – Two generations of Clarion County families have teamed up to provide the latest $50,000 capital gift to the Clarion County YMCA’s campaign to build a new full-service YMCA.

Mike and Teresa Lapinto of C&A Trees and Art and Maxine Forrest, Teresa’s parents, recently announced the gift.

“The Clarion and tri-county area made it possible for us to make this gift with our nursery, garden center, greenhouse, and landscape business and we feel this is a great way to reinvest in the area and allow anyone of any age to take advantage of the new YMCA,” said Teresa Lapinto.

Another reason for supporting the project is the impact on their own family.

“We have seen first hand how important the Y is for a community,” continued Lapinto. “Our son has been involved in different sports through the Y and there is a real need for a full-service YMCA.”

The full-service Clarion County YMCA will be built near Exit 62 of I-80 and the Clarion Oaks Golf Course.

The new project, among other facilities, will include a swimming pool that will provide lap swimming, therapy, swimming lessons and other year-round recreation activities that traditional YMCA’s provide.

An official groundbreaking will be held in 2016 and completion of the project is expected within approximately 12 to 18 months from groundbreaking.

Total money and pledges raised for the campaign are now approaching $7.6 million and include many phases. The campaign’s silent phase raised over $5.4 million from lead gifts and commitments by a small group of key individuals, including more than $600,000 in pledges from the local YMCA Board. The major gift phase has raised 89 percent of the total goal and the current Community Campaign hopes to help reach the final goal. Success is near, but community support remains vital.

Most of the campaign commitments are from local community businesses, families, and organizations that have made substantial donations.

The community campaign is the current campaign phase and totals $297,000, or 80 percent of its goal. As campaign chairs Milissa Bauer and Al Lander stated in the original press conference that launched the campaign, the success of this project will depend on everyone coming together as a team.

The community campaign is the next step in creating a Clarion County team. It is an invitation for everyone to play a part in creating a full service Clarion County YMCA.

A grassroots program for remaining contributions and informational campaign will follow the community campaign.

“We are now waiting on passage of the state capital budget and notification of awards from the RACP (Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program) Grant in the next few weeks,” said Bauer and Lander. “Because the amount of a possible grant award and the state requirements for construction are unclear, we are waiting until the grant amount is determined to develop the final shape of the project, including the building design.”

More information about the campaign is available by contacting campaign communications coordinator Cindy Nave at (814) 226-9722 or