Two million dollars of the Fuldner gift has been earmarked for the construction of a new YMCA building, and $1 million will be used to establish an endowment fund to support operations of the aquatic center to be built as part of the new Y facility.
"Obviously, we are delighted with this significant and generous contribution," said Monett YMCA Executive Director Gordon Brown. "This gets our capital campaign off to a strong start, and I hope the Fuldners' gift will inspire others to participate in the effort to build a new facility in Monett."
In announcing their gift, the Fuldners emphasized that their support for the new YMCA building was a family decision.
"For more than 32 years, we have called Monett home," the Fuldners explained. "During those years, we have raised three children, been blessed with a successful business and developed lifelong friendships and memories through our involvement in the Monett community. When our family heard that the Y was planning to build a new facility in Monett, we knew immediately that we wanted to be involved."
"We are grateful for the support that the Monett community has given our family and our EFCO business," Chris Fuldner commented. "In particular, we appreciate the support that area residents have provided for the Monett Water Thrashers, a swim team that Ginny started in 1989. In a very real sense, it is the long-time support of EFCO employees and other Monett residents that made our gift possible. This is our way of saying thanks and to demonstrate our pride in Monett and our desire to see the community grow and prosper.
"The new YMCA will provide Monett with a large, first-class fitness and activity center unlike anything before it," Chris Fuldner said. "It will make Monett even more attractive as a place to live and work and raise a family, and it should have a positive impact on the ability of local businesses to attract and retain employees."
"We feel the new Monett Area YMCA is a fantastic and much needed addition to the city of Monett," said Ginny Fuldner. "Building strong kids, strong families and strong communities is really what the Y is all about, and this new facility will help the Y achieve those goals."
In commenting on their gift, the Fuldners pointed to their personal experiences at various YMCAs as one of the many reasons they chose to support the new facility proposed for Monett.
"I remember swimming at the St. Louis YMCA as a young boy of 5 or 6," Chris Fuldner recalled. "And the fitness equipment at the Monett YMCA helped me recover from a recent knee surgery."
Ginny's earliest memories of the YMCA involved her two older brothers participating in the YMCA in Orange, N.J.
"Our entire family was involved in the Y and its activities," she said. "This dates me, but at that time the YMCA was an organization strictly for males, as the "M" in YMCA indicates. I could only participate in activities through my brothers."
Ginny's main involvement with the Y would come later, in the early stages of a rewarding swimming career. She trained and competed for a spot on the US swim team at the YMCA in Summit, N.J. In 1964, her training paid off when she won an Olympic gold medal in the 400--meter free style and a bronze medal in the 100--meter backstroke.
"I vividly remember the 5:30 a.m. practices at the Y each day before school," Ginny said. "It was a comfortable and welcoming place to go. Although I was not a part of other activities at the Y, I became acquainted with many Y members through my extensive swim practice and benefitted greatly from those relationships.
"I am particularly pleased that the new YMCA will include an indoor aquatic center, thereby continuing to encourage interest in water sports in the Monett area. The new aquatic center will open the door to all types of water activities, for all ages, throughout the entire year," she said.
The Fuldners expressed their hope that their contribution to the YMCA capital campaign and their enthusiasm for the Y's new facility will help to create support for the campaign.
"When you consider the many positive benefits that the new YMCA will provide to area families, this is an outstanding cause for people to support," Chris Fuldner said. "The proposed Y has something to benefit everyone in our area -- arts, youth and adult sports, teen leadership development, fitness and wellness programs for all ages -- all of which is offered in a safe and positive environment, which emphasizes the four main character values of the YMCA: caring, honesty, respect and responsibility."
To learn more about contributing to the YMCA Capital Campaign, contact Monett Area YMCA Executive Director Gordon Brown at 417-235-8213 or visit www.yourmonettymca.org .