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Family of Westport Y Founder Supports New Facility

WESTPORT, Conn. – Two great-grandchildren of Westport Weston Family Y founder Edward T. Bedford are pledging $750,000 toward the construction of the planned new facility, Y officials announced.

Westport’s Lucie McKinney has pledged $500,000 and her brother, Briggs Cunningham III of Kentucky, is contributing $250,000 toward the new Y at Mahackeno. Bedford, their great-grandfather and one of Westport’s leading benefactors, had the Y built. The Bedford building, the main hub of the Y campus, was finished in 1923. The Y has since been expanded.

“My mother and uncle respect the role the Family Y has long played in our community,” said Libby McKinney Tritschler, Lucie McKinney’s daughter and a Family Y board member.

“With the capital campaign for our new Y at such a critical ‘go/no-go’ juncture, both of them knew it was time to step forward to help make sure that the wonderful charitable institution my great-great-grandfather founded nearly a century ago will continue to serve our community today and on through future generations.”

With the recent gifts from the Bedford descendants, as well as the recent significant contributions from other donors, the Family Y has raised more than $9 million in cash and multiyear pledges, Y officials announced in a statement.

A planned 55,000-square-foot main building, known as Phase One of the overall project, is estimated to cost $36 million. In all, the Family Y has identified $32.5 million in funding, including proceeds from the sale of its current downtown facility in 2014.

Family Y officials are hoping to raise as close to 100 percent of the funds. If sufficient funding is in place, construction on the main building will begin this October. The building will include a lap pool and family/teaching pool; a Wellness Center; a multipurpose gymnasium; three group-fitness studios; a Child Watch/Kids’ Adventure Gym area; five locker rooms; and other amenities.

“As more dollars are given, we’ll be able to expand our new Family Y and add the rest of the features envisioned in the original design for our Mahackeno campus,” Bonnie Strittmatter, president of the Family Y’s board of directors, said in the statement. “We’re all hopeful that the Bedford family will continue to support the Family Y, and that they’ll be joined by other community leaders who wish to leave a lasting legacy.”

For information about the Building What Matters capital campaign, visit www.westporty.org . Anyone interested in making a financial contribution should contact Family Y CEO Rob Reeves at 203-226-8981, Ext. 131, or rreeves@westporty.org .

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