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The $35 million campaign for the new Southlake YMCA surged forward this week with $3.5 million in donations pledged from the Mike and Jill Schrage family, Centier Bank, the Crown Point Community Foundation and another anonymous donor.

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CROWN POINT — The $35 million campaign for the new Southlake YMCA surged forward this week with $3.5 million in donations pledged from the Mike and Jill Schrage family, Centier Bank, the Crown Point Community Foundation and another anonymous donor.

The campaign was initiated by the Dean and Barbara White family’s $21 million lead gift.

Mike Schrage believes the new Y is critical to the quality of life and economic development in Crown Point and committed $1.5 million from his family and their family-owned Centier Bank.

“Jill and I, as well as our Centier family, feel that the Y is all about community and about helping each of us be the best we can be," he said. "That’s a perfect fit with our family values, as well as with the Centier philosophy. We all are excited to be a part of the new Y.”

The Schrage family and Centier Bank’s roots go deep in the community. Henry Schrage started the bank in 1895 and today Centier is Indiana’s largest private family-owned bank. Mike Schrage is the fourth generation family member to manage the bank, serving as president, CEO and chairman of the board. Centier is noted for its commitment to community service.

The Crown Point Community Foundation, led by a 19-member volunteer board of directors, has committed $1 million to the project.

“Our mission is to enrich lives in South Lake County and our board recognizes that the Y is uniquely positioned to have a high impact on many people of all ages and backgrounds in this area,” said Mary Nielsen, foundation president. “The new Y is worthy of our best support and we are honored to team up with the Whites, the Schrages and all the other donors to make this Y happen.”

The new Y, slated to open January 2019, will triple in size and is expected to serve 25,000 people a year. The Y will offer new and updated programs and features such as three pools, an indoor track, fitness center, gymnasiums, studios for youth and adult classes and child care areas.

Tom Hoffman, YMCA board chair, said the generosity of donors is a dream come true.

“Everyone on our board of directors knows firsthand the value of the YMCA," he said. "We give our time to the Y, we donate to the Y, we use the Y, we see the Y in action and we see how people benefit from the Y. We know there is potential for us to do much more and we are extremely appreciative of those who are stepping up to help.”

There is still work to do and money to raise, according to campaign leaders John Barney, Ann Barney and Mark Bates.

“The fundraising campaign is moving forward to a successful conclusion,” Bates said. "But we still have another $400,000 to raise in the community. Over the next few weeks, Y members and people in this community will be hearing from Y volunteers and staff. Please say ‘yes' when you are asked for a gift. This is your Y, and we need everyone to play a part.”

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Rob covers urban affairs and other matters in Crown Point, St. John, Winfield and beyond. Previously he covered Valparaiso, Hammond, Gary and East Chicago. He's also written for various magazines and pens a culture blog for The Times.