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YMCA of Greater Rochester Encouraging Members, Community to ‘Become Rooted’

Canandaigua, NY – Spring is a time for new beginnings. That is why, with construction of the Sands Family YMCA well underway, the YMCA of Greater Rochester is proud to announce an exciting way for YMCA members and the community to be involved in the next chapter of the Y’s story in Canandaigua.

While we are looking forward to celebrating this next chapter, we know the story of the Canandaigua YMCA is one that has been deeply rooted in community for more than a century. So the YMCA will be honoring that history as we plant roots for the next century, and asking the community to ‘Become Rooted’ with us.

“The Canandaigua community has always been incredibly supportive of our YMCA,” said Jason Gottfried, Executive Director, Canandaigua Family YMCA. “We are so fortunate to already have so much excitement and support for a new building; I know that will continue with the next phase of the project.”

The Sands Family Foundation has generously given a historic gift of $13.5 million to support the dream of a modern-day YMCA. To fulfill that dream, and continue to strengthen and grow the Y for future generations to come, the YMCA is looking to partner with the community to raise $500,000 as part of the overall $6,000,000 Community Campaign.

Heading this Community Campaign is a group of longtime YMCA and community leaders, including Laurie O’Shaughnessy, Jeffrey Friend, Steven Swartout, Bill Fuge and Dawn Priolo. Priolo has been a member of the Y for three decades. It’s where her kids learned to swim, play basketball and spend their Friday nights. Once her kids grew up, she stayed involved, joining the board in 2018 because of her firm belief in the Y being able to promote wellness on every level to everybody.

“The YMCA’s mission to provide safe, healthy alternatives to its members, promoting wellness of mind, body and spirit is the underlying foundation that will promote strength and positivity throughout our community,” said Priolo, Senior Vice President, Treasurer of Canandaigua National Bank & Trust. “I’m happy to support the Sands Family YMCA and the myriad of positives that it brings; the more that the community can do to support the Y, the more the Y can support the Community. Everybody wins!”

The new 75,000-square-foot facility, set to open on October 2, will allow the YMCA to fully realize its potential of serving individuals of all ages and stages of life. It will feature three studios for group exercise, multiple gymnasiums – one with turf – two pools with an indoor splash playground, a creator’s space and teaching kitchen. In addition to spaces inside the facility, the Sands Family YMCA will have the full-day licensed Mickey Sands Childcare Center and on-site medical services.

The Community Campaign comes to life in the form of a tree in the lobby of the Canandaigua Family YMCA. We are hopeful the entire community of residents and businesses will rally around this endeavor and help our tree bloom. There are many ways to ‘Become Rooted’ with the Sands Family YMCA. Please contact Rachel Baker, Campaign Director, at



Jeffrey Friend, Senior Vice President & Director of Branch & Market Development Lyons National Bank, Past Canandaigua Family YMCA Board Chair

“The Canandaigua YMCA has been part of my life and my family’s life since we first moved to the area in 1980.  The importance of the YMCA for us continued to grow as our three daughters literally grew-up at the Y.  They all attribute much of their success to the focus, dedication and perseverance learned at a very young age through their experiences at the YMCA.  The YMCA in Canandaigua is the bedrock of our communities’ continued effort to build an inclusive, welcoming environment in which all can thrive, and I am proud to continue my support for Canandaigua’s Sands Family YMCA.”

Bill Fuge, Previous Board President, Canandaigua Family YMCA

“I have been a lifelong member of the YMCA, and a board member of the Canandaigua YMCA for more than 20 years. I got involved with the YMCA as I saw it to be one of the greatest community assets we have, and I wanted to be part of it as one way to give back to the community. I cannot thank the Sands family enough for their extensive support and guidance, without which our new facility would not be a reality.”

Laurie O’Shaughnessy, former CEO, Canandaigua Family YMCA

“I spent more than 30 years with the Canandaigua YMCA and have seen firsthand the impact a thriving YMCA has on the community. It is an honor to be a part of the Committee that will be working with our community, joining my friends the Sands Family once again, to support for the new Sands Family Branch that will be far more accessible for everyone and have a tremendous impact for years to come." 

Steven Swartout, former Chief Administrative Officer and Corporate Counsel, Canandaigua National Corp. and Canandaigua Family YMCA Board Member

“My wife Cheryl and I have been members and supporters of the Canandaigua YMCA for decades. Cheryl taught in the preschool program and our children learned to swim at the Y.  Our grandchildren attended preschool and also learned to swim at the Y.  We both support the Sands Family YMCA because it provides health and wellness facilities to everyone in our community.  From the very young to the young-at-heart, and all in between, there are activities and facilities to keep you healthy and happy.”