With the donation, the facility in Point Loma has raised a total of $4.6 million and is now able to begin the second phase of the project and build a new multi-purpose youth gym that will be named the Haas Family Gymnasium.
"I never thought I would be able to do something like this," Marcia says. "I feel lucky to be able to do this."
Marcia came to San Diego from Chicago with two small children in the 1970s after her husband died of a heart attack. Having a hard time getting a job, Marcia found herself on welfare as she struggled to make a better life for her family.
"Welfare gives people hope "“ you don't have to wallow in it," she said. In 1973 she obtained her real estate license while raising her children. At the time, the working mom with latchkey kids didn't have resources in the community to rely on.
"We didn't have programs then like 6 to 6," Marcia says with tears filling in her eyes. "Now I can support programs that help other families who need it."
Marcia's son, Michael, who owns Diversified Paint and Repair and joined the board of the YMCA last year, says "This community needs a YMCA that can meet its needs. Families have two parents working just to be able to afford to life in San Diego, and having the Y here with programs and scholarships is an invaluable service to the community. It's positive and esteem-building."
Marcia, a director at Point Loma Community Bank, said one of the reasons she decided to donate to the YMCA is because more than 90 percent of money donated to the Peninsula YMCA goes directly to programs and services. "At the Y 94 cents of every dollar goes back to programs," said Robert E. Sauvajot, executive director at the Peninsula Family YMCA. Sauvajot says that the Peninsula Family YMCA has no debt.
"We do things the old-fashioned way; we fund-raise, then we build," he said. "We never borrow or finance. Now with Marcia's gift we have funding to continue to build."
One of 19 YMCA branches in San Diego, the Peninsula Family YMCA was established in 1970 and shows its age, from its tattered worn welcome sign with letters chipped away to its cramped indoor workout facilities and overflow of fitness classes to the church next door.
The expansion and capital campaign are necessary to meet the demands for the future and adequately serve the communities of Point Loma, Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach, according to Sauvajot, who said the facility primarily serves families and kindergartners to teens through its aquatic programs, day camps, school-age childcare and 6 to 6 after-school program.
When complete, the Peninsula Family YMCA will be named the Ryan Family YMCA in honor of Claude and Gladys Ryan, who gave a gift of $1 million to start the project.
Phase one of the project has been completed and includes a new therapy pool, renovated swimming pool and locker rooms and new pool deck and picnic area.
With the Haas family's donation, Sauvajot expects to begin construction in 2008 on phase two, the Haas family multi-purpose youth gymnasium.
The gym will offer basketball and volleyball for youth and adults, group exercise classes, gymnastics and a place for Correia Middle School to hold its physical education classes.
Marcia, who also donated $175,000 to the Point Loma/Hervey Branch Library in memory of her late daughter Marla Haas, says Point Loma is "like the last small town within a big city" and observes that through the Peninsula Family YMCA, "families are helping families."
Son Michael agrees and says, "What's more important in life than making a difference in other people's lives? What we're doing should be considered ordinary, not extra-ordinary. If we all did a little bit the world would be better."
With another $1.4 million still needed to begin construction on the final phase of the project, Sauvajot says he's confident he will achieve the goal in the next six to eight months, adding, "Further naming opportunities exist."
For more information on the Peninsula Family YMCA, call (619) 226-8888, or visit www. peninsula.ymca.org.