YMCA-Easterseals east side community center moves closer to $16 million fundraising goal

BJ Wilken
Bloomington-Normal YMCA President and CEO BJ Wilken announced plans last April to build a YMCA-Easterseals community center on the OSF St. Joseph Medical Center campus. (File Photo by Patrick Baron/WJBC)


By Howard Packowitz

BLOOMINGTON – Donors have given the Bloomington-Normal YMCA and Easterseals Central Illinois a huge boost on their way to raising $16 million for an east side community center, the organizations announced Friday.

The YMCA and Easterseals reported more than 100 donors have met a $4 million matching challenge from an anonymous McLean County family, which in turn will donate another four million dollars. That lifts the total raised so far to $13.4 million for the center, to be built along East Washington Street, on the OSF St. Joseph Medical Center campus.

The family’s gift was the largest in Bloomington-Normal YMCA history, according to a news release.

YMCA President and CEO BJ Wilken said local health care providers, led by Doctors Jerry and Laura Randolph-Oakey, raised $400,000 dollars.

“Our physicians, dentists, and health care providers really see the benefit of this YMCA/Easterseal facility,” said Wilken in a prepared statement.

Community Center plans call for an indoor competitive swimming pool and warm water therapy pool, a full-size gymnasium, health and wellness center, teen and senior program center, and consultation and therapy space for Easterseals clients and their families.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at howard.packowitz@cumulus.com


WJBC Voices: Understanding TIF investments

As we near another local election, understanding what a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district is and its role in economic development seems unclear to many I talk to.

WJBC Voices: JB the CK

Based on the budget, Pritzker ought to change his initials from J.B. (whatever they stand for) to C.K. (Can Kicker).