Lancaster, Pa. – The Boards of Directors of the Lancaster Family YMCA (LFY) and the YMCA of Greater Brandywine (YGBW) both recently voted to move forward with a plan of merger. Members of both the LFY and YGBW boards are now working on a plan of merger with the assistance of legal counsel, and once completed, LFY members will have the opportunity to review and vote on the plan.
The two YMCA Associations initially began working together in October 2018, when they formed an exploratory committee to define the benefits of collaboration. In April of this year, each YMCA Association’s board voted to move forward with a management agreement, and Denise L. Day, President and CEO of YGBW, also began serving as President and CEO of LFY.
The Benefits of Partnership
Many YMCAs are merging today in order to maximize resources, increase programming, grow efficiencies and ultimately, better serve members and the community at large. In the time that the LFY and YGBW Associations have been working together, they’ve been able to quickly steward more than $500,000 in service and facility enhancements at LFY.
Designed to create a better experience for all who use the facilities, as well as the community at large, these enhancements have included repainting the interiors of each branch; upgrading pool filter systems; renovating, replastering and acid washing pools; installing aerial LED lighting; replacing parking lot lights to ensure safety and security; renovating locker rooms; installing a new sauna; stripping and waxing floors and completing extensive tree maintenance at LFY’s day and overnight summer camp, Camp Shand.
Over the last 18 months, the Lancaster Family YMCA has also had to make challenging decisions—the most difficult of which was the closing of the YMCA at New Holland branch. “Serving the eastern Lancaster community is very important to us,” said Bill Hauber, Chair of the LFY Board of Directors. “Ultimately, however, closing the branch was necessary to lower our debt and ensure our long-term sustainability, as the costs to operate the facility are too great given its magnitude and the population size in the surrounding community.” The YMCA remains committed to serving the eastern Lancaster community and is continuing to look at opportunities to provide a right-sized facility.
This January, LFY will roll out income-based membership, ensuring that all in the community can affordably access a YMCA membership. LFY will also begin offering Parents Night Out at no additional charge to family members of LFY.
“All of these efforts have contributed to us better serving our members and the community, while still reducing our $7.4 million debt by $1.8 million in just a little more than a year,” shared Hauber. “Cementing our partnership with YGBW provides a positive and promising path forward for LFY and ensures we are here in perpetuity to serve our community. Should we merge, we anticipate continued service and facility enhancements—an additional $500,000 is planned for further facility improvements—plus the possibility of expanding our services in the Lancaster community.” Should the Associations merge, each would maintain its identity, with LFY becoming an affiliate of YGBW.
“We are excited by all we have been able to accomplish in partnering with LFY over the last 18 months, and are looking forward to formally cementing our partnership,” said Day. “Both of our YMCA Associations are committed to strengthening our community by ensuring that everyone has access to the resources and support that will help them to learn, grow and thrive. This partnership would strengthen each of our Associations and allow us to serve even more in our communities.”
Collaborating with the Community
In addition, both Day and Hauber emphasize that they are excited to collaborate further with all in the community. This summer, LFY is managing both the Leola Township and Manheim Borough pools. At the Leola site, LFY will also be offering summer camp and swim lessons. “We exist to serve and strengthen all in our communities,” says Day. “We offer many programs and services at LFY—but we know we can do even more when we collectively leverage the strengths we all bring to the table. We’re excited to continue existing partnerships and begin new ones as well.”
About the Lancaster Family YMCA
Founded in 1854, the Lancaster Family YMCA is a nonprofit, charitable organization with a mission to nurture the community through the pursuit of lifelong growth in spirit, mind, and body by offering programs focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Lancaster Family YMCA serves more than 15,000 members at its City Center YMCA and Lampeter-Strausburg YMCA branches, as well as approximately 700 youth each summer at Camp Shand.
About the YMCA of Greater Brandywine
The YMCA of Greater Brandywine (YGBW), an association of eight YMCAs serving Pennsylvania’s Chester County, is the leading nonprofit organization committed to strengthening community. We strive to nurture the potential of every child, promote healthy living and foster social responsibility through life-changing programs for all. YGBW raises funds to provide financial assistance to those unable to pay the standard rates. Last year, $3.4 million was provided to more than 11,000 individuals to ensure they had access to childcare, summer camp, programs and memberships at YGBW. More than 80,000 people are members of YGBW. To learn more, visit www.ymcagbw.org.