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Walmart Foundation provides $140,000 to state YMCA chapters including Spokane

Spokane's YMCA is one of seven Washington state chapters that are sharing a combined $140,000 provided through The Walmart Foundation and its Washington State Giving Council for hunger relief.

The contributions were recently announced by Walmart, the nation's largest retailer. The money for the Y chapters are part of an ongoing campaign by the Arkansas-based company to support summer feeding programs in 300 urban and rural communities.

In case you only think negative things about Walmart, consider this: According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Walmart easily exceeds all other U.S. corporations in charitable giving.

According to its most recent list, Walmart tops the list with more than $342 million in giving in 2011. Second was Goldman Sachs with $337 million.

The Washington grants stem from research and studies suggesting that lower-income families often find themselves not providing their children nutritionally complete meals during warmer weather.

Across the entire state, Walmart this year is providing $172,000 to the Y chapters and other groups through its Summer Feeding initiative and another $125,000 through the Walmart State Giving Council, a separate state-specific foundation

Other YMCA  chapters receiving grants are in Auburn, Bothell, Everett, Seattle, Tacoma and Shoreline.

They will share a combined $115,000 Walmart Foundation grant and $25,000 State Giving Council grants to support youth lunch programs.

We found this at the Walmart.com charitable contributions link:

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are in the second year of a $2 billion cash and in-kind hunger relief campaign that extends through 2015. The Foundation’s contributions are strategically aimed at ending hunger for the 1 in 6 Americans that do not know where their next meal is coming from. As such, the Foundation seeks to fund initiatives that integrate hunger relief into our four focus areas (hunger/wellness; education; workforce development; environmental sustainability).

YMCA Shortens Name By 3 Letters

Item: YMCA shortens its name by three letters/Jody Lawrence-Turner, SR

More Info: Just call it the Y. The venerable YMCA, known by the acronym alone for generations, has rebranded itself with the single letter – a truncation many members already use. “We’re simply using a colloquialism to refer to the same institution that is about the same thing,” said Mary Berry, communications director for YMCA of the Inland Northwest. The rebranding, launched Monday, comes with a more focused message

Question: Have you ever been involved with a YMCA program?

The topsy-turvy politics of Conservation Futures and the YMCA

Spokane park leaders figured in November that the debate about the vacant downtown YMCA was about to end.

After all, the financial analysis demanded by City Council had just been released. It recommended accepting Spokane County’s offer to use Conservation Futures property taxes to pay off the city’s debt on the building. Councilman Mike Allen said the analysis had persuaded him to support the Park Board’s request to use the money, and Councilman Al French even sponsored the proposal for a council vote.

But opponents of spending Conservation Futures money on the Y successfully delayed action until Allen was replaced on the council by Jon Snyder, and French ended up siding against the resolution he sponsored.

That vote in late November sent the decision into extra innings, and city leaders decided to solicit bids on the property.

Park Board members never expressed much worry about the process. They said their work on the building over the years pointed to a bid process that would result in no proposals that would guarantee full repayment of the city’s debt. That guess turned out to be correct.

The question for supporters of securing the YMCA was finding a fourth vote.

Direction on YMCA becoming more uncertain

(First, because it’s not from our newspaper archives, I should start with information about the photo: It shows the Howard Street bridge and Havermale and Canada islands, sometime before 1927. There is vacant land southwest of the bridge where the downtown YMCA would be built in the mid-1960s. Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture/Eastern Washington State Historical Society, Spokane.)

It looks like March 22 will be the date the public will get to weigh in on the future of the Riverfront Park YMCA.

City Council President Joe Shogan announced that a public hearing will be scheduled for that date, though he added it could be delayed until March 29.

Councilman Steve Corker, who said earlier this week that it appeared that a majority of the council did not support the acceptance of Spokane County’s offer to use Conservation Futures property taxes to acquire the Riverfront Park YMCA, now says an outcome is unclear.

Council changed mind on Conservation Futures for Riverfront Park

First the Spokane City Council supported Conservation Futures, then it didn’t.

At the start of Monday, a majority of the Spokane City Council leaned in favor of accepting Spokane County’s offer to purchase the Riverfront Park YMCA, according to an e-mail Councilman Steve Corker sent to a constituent.

By the end of the day, however, the majority was lost.

So what happened?

It appears Chief Financial Officer Gavin Cooley successfully convinced at least one council member at a Monday meeting about the Y that a “third option” for paying off the city’s $4.4 million debt was better than using county Conservation Futures property taxes or development proposals that the city received late last month.

That third option isn’t yet defined, but, Cooley said, it could include higher hotel taxes, selling off park land or asking voters for more property taxes. He also reminded council members that the city once had a business and occupation tax to help pay for Expo ’74 improvements.

Responding to an e-mail from constituent Dawn Holladay, Councilman Steve Corker wrote on Monday afternoon: “I am in favor of using Conservation Futures monies for this site. I plan on voting the same this evening.”

(Not that the City Council could have voted for anything at the YMCA meeting because it was scheduled only for discussion.)

After Cooley’s presentation at the meeting, Corker appeared to have changed his mind.