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Community funds created for youth swimming
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The Golden Belt Community Foundation has established endowment and grant funds to support youth swim programs in the future, Foundation Director Christy Tustin said. Community donations are encouraged, and the first $100,000 will be matched by a group of anonymous donors.

Faced with the possibility that Barton Community College might close its indoor swimming pool, community members rallied behind efforts to save it. Youth swimming teams at Great Bend High School and the Golden Belt Swim Squad were at stake.
Now Great Bend USD 428 has agreed to invest $10,000 a year for the next 12 years in pool maintenance, and the Golden Belt Swim Squad has increased its annual contribution for using the pool. The short-term crisis is over, Tustin said. The immediate needs will be addressed.
Donations payable to GBCF, with “Pool Funds” written in the memo line, are for the long term. Checks may be mailed to Golden Belt Community Foundation, P.O. Box 1911, Great Bend, KS 67530.

The donations will go into two funds; 90 percent will go into an endowment fund so it can build interest and become a sustainable resource in the future, and 10 percent will be used for grants. A committee will look at annual needs that the funds can address, Tustin said.
The intent of the funds is to provide support to the college to sustain the indoor pool, equipment, and related programs so that students, youth and community organizations may continue to swim, she said

“The pool is a valuable community asset,” Tustin said. “What a good place to practice and hold swim meets. It would be a shame to lose that opportunity. This is a way for the community to step in.”
The lead donors’ pledge of $100,000 if matched by others came together quickly, Tustin noted. “That just shows how much support there is.” She added that years from now youth and their families, as well as community leaders, will appreciate the vision that led to the establishment of these funds.

In addition to cash, other assets may be donated such as stock, grain or real estate. For more information or questions, contact Christy Tustin at the Golden Belt Community Foundation, 620-792-3000 or