Heritage Club Members Ed and Gloria Dollinger were gracious hosts for the Greater Joliet Area YMCA’s 2019 Heritage Club Dinner last Thursday evening. Guests at the annual dinner, which is designed to celebrate charitable giving to the YMCA, included contributors to the YMCA’s endowment fund and special friends.
Heritage Club membership is granted to those who have included a gift for the YMCA in their will or estate plan, such as naming the Y as beneficiary of a trust or insurance policy. Many Heritage Club members have also generously established a named endowment fund or supported the YMCA’s general fund.
Message of Thanks
The night began with Y Volunteer and Endowment Development Committee Member Donna Zanzola welcoming those in attendance and thanking them for their contributions. Zanzola noted how she continues to be inspired by the reach of Y programs, even after serving for more than 20 years on the Greater Joliet Area YMCA’s Metropolitan Board of Directors.
Zanzola was followed by YMCA CEO Jim Watts, who echoed sentiments expressing how important gifts made through estate donations have been to the Y’s mission. The visionary support provided by members of the Heritage Club has ensured that Y programs will make an impact for generations to come.
Honoring Dear Friends
Watts gave an invocation before Senior Development Director Julie Wilkinson asked those in attendance to take a moment to remember friends of the Heritage Club who passed away in the last year: Bob DeYoung, John Colozzi and Bill Sullivan.
DeYoung, originally employed by the Moline YMCA, moved to Joliet in 1960. He worked at the Joliet YMCA for 17 years, supervising Camp Joydaka and growing its enrollment to over 600 campers during the summers. He also helped to expand the Y’s Indian Guide Program to over 60 tribes. After his passing, his family asked that memorial gifts be designated to the Morris Community YMCA’s Capital Campaign.
Colozzi attended the Heritage Club Dinner last year as a first-time guest. He was a longtime member of the Smith Family YMCA who became passionate about the Y’s service to youth, especially the underprivileged. John was a staunch supporter of the SOAR program, which provides free swim lessons to area children at the Smith Family YMCA. Last spring, 60 first and second graders from Fairmont School in Lockport had the opportunity to participate in swim lessons and learn about water safety as part of the SOAR program.
Sullivan, who was involved with the Y for 20 years as a member of the Galowich Family YMCA, pledged funds through his estate to support the Y’s scholarship program. His legacy was honored at last week’s dinner with an Irish toast, a message of humor, grace and generosity.
Building Strong Families
Wilkinson then invited Galowich staff member Irene Aguilera to speak to guests about the impact of their support, which she has seen firsthand in her role as both a Y employee and mother. Aguilera said she came to the Y hoping to find a refuge for her daughters Leticia (11) and Patricia (10). The Y allowed her family to navigate a difficult time in their lives, giving them a chance to embrace a loving community. Aguilera’s position in the Y’s Membership Department has provided her with opportunities to stay close to the facilities and programs that benefit her children.
An Invitation for Impact
Watts and Wilkinson closed the evening by reiterating the Y’s appreciation for estate contributions. The Y’s doors continue to expand with open arms and it is through gifts like those provided by Heritage Club members that this is possible.
To learn more about Heritage Club membership and the Y’s endowment fund, please visit https://www.jolietymca.org/giving/planned-giving/