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Donor Photo Spotlight Kay C.

Donor Spotlight: Kay and Bob Cilimburg

Growing up near Niagara Falls, Kathryn “Kay” Cilimburg says the water has always been a part of daily life. As a child, Kay spent time participating in events and programs at both the YMCA and YWCA. Kay moved to Ohio to attend The College of Wooster, graduating in 1957. Kay settled on the West Side of Cleveland with her husband of now 62 years, Bob. Together Kay and Bob had three daughters, Cary, Amy and Cindy, all who learned to swim at the West Shore Family YMCA in the 1960’s. Throughout the years, Kay has continued to swim at the Y for her personal physical and mental health. 

Upon retiring from teaching in 1993, Kay decided to become a swim instructor at the West Shore Y. She taught hundreds of children how to swim during after school learn to swim classes held at the West Shore YMCA branch. Kay went on to become the local Learn to Swim Director. 

Kay’s involvement with the Y has continued over the years, evolving into a volunteer role as an aquatics aerobics instructor for active older adults. She held that role until the pandemic temporarily closed the facility. Today, at nearly 86 years old, Kay still swims at the West Shore branch. Despite living closer to alternate facilities, Kay prefers the welcoming feeling of the West Shore Y branch stating it will always be near and dear to her heart.

Kay says, “the YMCA has been my ‘home away from home’ for exercise classes and especially for aquatics. As a physical education teacher who loves aquatics, I wanted to help others enjoy and be safe in water. I’ve found that many women new to our community have not had an opportunity to learn how to swim or have a fear of water; those individuals have become my favorite.” While Kay and Bob have always believed in the mission of the YMCA and have consistently provided a meaningful philanthropic contribution each year, this past year, they decided to take advantage of the 2020 CARES Act. They increased their gift – and in doing so the couple was able to make both a significant positive impact on the Y and receive a significant tax benefit. You too can make your gift today by clicking here