Yarrow YMCA

It can happen to any campaign.



Westlake Village, California


$35M new YMCA receives final $10M in a fresh start effort over the course of one year with three seven-figure gifts, naming the facility the Yarrow YMCA. Best practices and the right circumstances + timing jumpstarted this campaign to completion.


It can happen to any campaign. The twists and turns of every major campaign cannot be fully appreciated unless you have lived them. A campaign restart, as in this case, is a chilling prospect. This $35M, 60,000 square foot facility was the result of a multi-year land swap, a public-private partnership, a generous donor’s vision who expanded the project from a $10M to a $35M facility, a change in organizational leadership and donors and a community that grew weary as to whether the facility would ever be completed.

When K2 began counsel, the exterior of this spectacular and expansive building was complete, construction trailers departed, and secure protective fencing was erected around the building. The donor prospect pool was depleted and unidentified.

"Many were dubious about the viability of raising the remaining $10 million. The path forward was unclear."

K2 Role &

Leading with the Y’s assets, we focused the messaging on the Y’s unique and wonderful programs rather than the building itself. “Because once you’ve lived near a Y, you’ll wonder how our community ever got along without one. What’s inside will surprise you.”

newspaper headline yarrow ymca

"The hardest thing is to get people to understand the real needs of the community and what the Y offers in support."

While the community is affluent, the little-known fact is that 25% of area students are on free and reduced lunch, which caught the attention of and inspired many generous donors. By emphasizing the Y’s philanthropic programs such as drowning prevention, supplemental school curriculum, youth sports, senior fitness and more the project was viewed as a more philanthropic investment.

Working alongside the Y’s CEO, we identified campaign leadership and revitalized volunteer spirit with refreshed donor prospects. Key to the plan was a media strategy featuring stories that sparked attention as new gifts were made.

Success begets success, and in a 12-month time, three seven-figure gifts were made as lead donors challenged each other to help raise the remaining funds. This long-awaited community asset opened in April 2019.

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