YMCA of the Greater Tri-Cities receives $10,000 grant from Pasco-Kennewick Rotary Club


RICHLAND, Wash. — A generous donation from Tri-Cities rotary members is helping the YMCA continue to provide safe and affordable childcare during the pandemic.

The Pasco-Kennewick Rotary Club recently gifted the YMCA of the Greater Tri-Cities with a $10,000 grant.

“I approached them and said we got a big need here,” said Steve Howland, executive director of the YMCA of the Greater Tri-Cities and also a member of the Pasco-Kennewick Rotary Club. “When the pandemic hit, the landscape pivoted immediately from providing regular childcare programs to providing childcare for essential employees.”

The pandemic has brought many new challenges for the YMCA. They’ve lost a lot of their funding sources – going from serving close to 800 kids to around 80.

Howland said they kept their costs the same for the first couple of months, but starting in May they were forced to raise their rates because of increased costs. Many families couldn’t afford the new rates and were helped with scholarships.

Additionally, people who hadn’t needed childcare before – do now.

“The husband may have worked a graveyard shift and Mom worked a midday shift, and now that doesn’t work because they’re both being called into the hospital,” said Howland. “They’re not used to paying for childcare so they reach out to us.”

The rotary grant will help the YMCA with those scholarship costs as well as with other operational costs that have come up.

To make sure kids stay safe during the pandemic, staff have also made many adjustments. Only up to nine kids can be in the same group together at one time, and they try and keep those groups consistent. They also sanitize equipment and toys regularly.

As restrictions start to loosen, Howland said they will be bringing back some of their staff that were furloughed. They’re also looking ahead.

“Normally we’d be gearing up for summer day camp,” said Howland. “But can we take field trips, how are we going to deal with transportation and sanitation? We’re working on all that.”

Howland said they’re hoping to be able to start offering some camp programs in July.

To learn more about services at the YMCA of the Greater Tri-Cities, click here.