The drive to raise $1 million for expansion of the Glendale Youth Center has reached the point - $910,000 - where every dollar counts.
Salt Lake philanthropist James L. Sorenson pledged in April to match up to $1 million in donations to renovate and expand the center and its playing fields. He gave the city until Aug. 31 to collect the money.After the city came so close, he agreed to hedge on the deadline. He's given the city until the end of September to meet the $1 million goal.
"We're so close and we've got to close the gap," said Mayor Deedee Corradini.
Plans to expand the youth center have been on city drawing boards for years, but until Sorenson stepped forward there was no money to get the project going.
The $2 million that could be the result of Sorenson's pledge will be used to build a new gym with more basketball courts and a full-size outdoor baseball field, improve the center's parking lot and add meeting rooms.
The Glendale Youth Center, 855 W. California Ave., is the home of the city's Late Night Basketball League, a program that provides at-risk youth with an athletic alternative to the allure of gangs. Many other programs at the center also are geared to at-risk youth.
In April Sorenson said he stepped forward with his offer because he was impressed with the community spirit of Glendale residents and their efforts to counteract gang violence and help kids.
To date, about 150 individuals, many from other cities along the Wasatch Front, have seconded Sorenson's opinion by donating to the fund drive. The donations have ranged from a single buck to $2,000, said Mike Andrews, youth programs director.
"One kid sent in a dollar with a note that said he didn't want the gangs in Utah to get as bad as they are in California," Andrews said.
Among those who reached into their pockets for the center's cause were members of Unity of Salt Lake, a nondenominational church in Salt Lake County.
The congregation donated 10 percent of its tithing collection in August - $1,206 - to the drive. The Rev. Mike Fotheringham asked church members to support the drive because he was impressed with the center's focus on helping youth develop a sense of power in directing their own lives.
City Councilman Paul Hutch- ison, whose district includes Glendale, made it easy for residents to get involved by placing 60 collection jars at local businesses. Residents came through with $1,106.
That included $486 raised by Dean Gilbert, owner of Totem's restaurant, 538 S. Redwood Rd.
Three corporate donors, including the George S. and Delores Eccles Foundation, contributed $250,000 each. The city pitched in $150,000 in community block grant money.
Donations may be made to the Glendale Youth Recreation Center Fund, 855 W. California Ave., Salt Lake City, UT 84104. Donations are tax-deductible.
Golfers can win $1 million and help center
Golfers have the chance this week to win $1 million and benefit the Glendale Youth Recreation Center in a contest sponsored by radio station Arrow 103.5.
The Million Dollar Shootout works much like a closest-to-the-pin contest. Seven tee mats will be set up at the Glendale Golf Course driving range, 1560 W. 2100 South. Golfers will pay $1 per ball to shoot at a special green 170 yards out between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.
The four golfers who come closest to the pin through Friday and the top five golfers on Saturday will be eligible to take a shot at a hole in one at the same pin for $1 million Saturday afternoon.
If someone makes the shot, 10 percent of the $1 million prize will be donated to the center, according to Greg Reid, event director. The station also expects to raise as much as $40,000 in the closest-to-the-pin contest.