Another Million Dollars Gifted to YMCA Capital Campaign

$9.6 million raised toward the $10.3 million expansion project

Imagine walking 44 laps around the same track several times a week for 23 years (though fewer than 44 in most recent years), racking up roughly 150,000 laps, or about 13,000 miles. That’s what Jim Bunning has done at the indoor track at the Sturgeon Bay YMCA. 

“All of these laps and miles have kept my dad healthy and moving, allowing him to still hunt and fish with his friends and my brothers and me into his 80s,” said Dave Bunning, one of Jim’s three sons. “And our mom, Barb, has spent countless hours taking exercise classes, which really encouraged our dad to keep up.”

The Y’s impact on the health and well-being of both of Dave’s parents inspired Denise and Dave Bunning, through their Sunshine Charitable Foundation, to donate $1 million to the Y’s Heart of the Community Capital Campaign. It will revitalize the Sturgeon Bay YMCA’s Program Center with an addition that will increase the wellness-center and community-room spaces, improve accessibility, offer a universal locker room and sauna, provide additional social/lobby space, and add a kitchen and youth activity center.

A rendering of the planned expansion of the Sturgeon Bay YMCA.

“We wanted to give back to an organization and a community that has been, and will continue to be, such a big part of our lives,” Denise said. “When we learned about this capital project that would enhance how the Y serves both young and old alike in the Sturgeon Bay community, we really wanted to be a part of it,” Dave said.

YMCA CEO Heidi Erickson said those in the organization were thrilled to learn of the Bunnings’ donation, “but then they wanted to take things a step further and leverage the gift from their foundation to help us raise the final dollars needed for this campaign.”

A portion of the donation is funding the $500,000 community challenge that the YMCA announced earlier this summer. 

“This challenge has certainly encouraged others to support the project, but we’re not done yet,” said campaign co-chair Tom Beerntsen.

The Door County YMCA has raised more than $9.6 million of the expected $10.3 million needed to achieve the goals of the campaign, leaving a $650,000 gap that the YMCA is still actively seeking to close. 

“We’re very excited to be so close to finishing the campaign, which will provide an amazing facility that can be enjoyed by our community for decades to come,” said campaign co-chair Penny Beerntsen. “Every dollar we raise truly counts, and we believe that we will have a strong finish to this campaign.”

Other large donations include Steve and Jackie Kane’s $2 million, and $1 million from the Glenn and Barb Timmerman family.

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