The Greater Joliet Area YMCA hosted its 2023 Heritage Club Dinner at Mistwood Golf Club on Thursday, September 28. Held annually, this evening celebrates charitable giving at the YMCA and recognizes those donors who have chosen to make a legacy gift to the YMCA.
Heritage Club membership is granted to those individuals who have included a gift for the YMCA in their will or estate plans. Many Heritage Club members have also generously established a named endowment fund or supported the YMCA’s Mission Strong Fund, which helps to ensure that no one is turned away from the Y due to the inability to pay.
Message of Thanks
The evening began with Greater Joliet Area YMCA Board of Directors Chairman Guy Christensen welcoming those in attendance and thanking them for their continued support of the Y’s mission. Christensen then invited Endowment Development Committee Volunteer Jackie Bersano to offer an invocation. Bersano then welcomed Endowment Development Committee Chairman Susan Lee to the podium to introduce vocalists Jeff and Michelle Ray and pianist Victor Moreno, who provided the evening’s entertainment.
Celebration of Charitable Giving
Following dinner, Greater Joliet Area YMCA President and CEO Katy Leclair reflected on the incredible support the Y continues to receive from the community. She recognized the YMCA’s past donors, volunteers, and employees whose foresight and vision laid the groundwork to help to shape what the YMCA is today. Leclair reiterated that the same passion and forward thinking mentality must continue to guide YMCA programs and services in our community.
Grundy Bank President and CEO and Morris Community YMCA Council Chairman Kevin Olson then stepped to the podium to speak about the Grundy Bank/Ron Wohlwend Endowment Fund, which was recently established to honor Wohlwend’s legacy and commitment to community. He noted that Wolhwend, who served as honorary chairman of the Morris YMCA’s Capital Campaign before his passing in the spring of 2021, would be extremely proud to know the future Morris Hospital YMCA is now under construction, with an anticipated opening in early 2025.
Leclair then introduced Galowich Family YMCA member Dawn Vlaicevic, who spoke about the impact of YMCA programs on her family. Vlaicevic shared her grandson Jaxson’s experience in the Y’s Summer Day Camp and Before and After School Kid Zone programs, crediting the Y’s diverse and supportive environment for helping his development. She also expressed gratitude for the YMCA’s financial assistance program and the invaluable resources that Y families are provided through the YMCA Mission Strong Fund.
An Invitation for Impact
Endowment Development Committee Volunteer Donna Zanzola closed the celebration by expressing the Y’s appreciation for those donors who have generously made legacy gifts to the Y over the years. The YMCA’s doors continue to expand with open arms and it is through gifts like those provided by Heritage Club members that make this possible.
To learn more about Heritage Club membership and the Y’s endowment fund, please visit: https://www.jolietymca.org/