YMCA ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO SERVICE DELIVERY IN CITY OF ROCHESTER

Traditional daily membership operations to cease at Carlson MetroCenter, mission-critical youth services will continue without interruption

Rochester, NY – The YMCA of Greater Rochester has been serving the community for more than 166 years. During that time, we have navigated the community’s ever-changing landscape to serve where and how we are needed most. At this moment, that means we must make difficult decisions that change the way we serve our community. One of those decisions is ceasing traditional daily membership operations at the Carlson MetroCenter YMCA effective immediately.

“The financial challenges at Carlson MetroCenter are not new; they are years in the making, which COVID has intensified,” said George Romell, President & CEO of YMCA of Greater Rochester. “In the 12-months prior to the COVID shutdown, only 19% of Carlson members actively used the MetroCenter Y once a week or more. Furthermore, in those same 12 months pre-COVID, the MetroCenter averaged less than 500 visits a day. As an organization, we cannot continue to dedicate financial resources to sustain a building that has nearly 65,000-square-feet allocated to health and wellness with so few people using it on a daily basis. We believe we can better serve the City of Rochester by using those resources in other ways.”

While traditional membership operations will end, there will not be a disruption of mission-critical services for youth. The Early Learning Child Care Center, Before and After School Program, Y School of ROC, and Summer Quest (our summer learning loss prevention program) will continue to run as scheduled at the Carlson MetroCenter.

Why Carlson? Why now?

The YMCA’s Corporate Board of Directors — along with the Executive and Finance Committees — has reviewed an extraordinary amount of data during this months-long process. Carlson membership operations have posted yearly losses greater than $1 million since 2017. Even after significant financial support from suburban operations, Carlson membership operations finished six of the last 10 fiscal years with more than a half-a-million-dollar deficit.

“We remain committed to helping overcome the health disparities in our communities and providing an array of services within the City of Rochester,” said Maureen Mulholland, Chair of the YMCA of Greater Rochester’s Board of Directors. “However, the impact of COVID has upended the model we effectively used for years; one in which we used our successes from suburban facilities to support a variety of City operations.”

That is why now is the time to reposition our services and commitment to the City of Rochester.

“We believe that when the Association has the resources to help fund our City services, those funds can and should be used to make a greater impact on city residents,” Romell added.

What’s next?

The YMCA is more than a place to get physical exercise. We, like all Ys, are committed to strengthening our community by connecting people to their potential, and each other. We serve our community by empowering youth, improving overall health and inspiring action. Here are just some of the initiatives we are committed to:

  • Growing services to meet essential family needs, including childcare, food equity and opportunities for youth development. We will, in partnership with a Mission-Critical City Services Task Force made up of elected officials, city and county leaders, collaborative partners, funders, community stakeholders, YMCA policy volunteers and staff, develop a new model to better reach those who can benefit from the Y’s offerings.

“It’s time to find transformational solutions — together,” said Romell. “In partnership, we hope to develop collective impact to help address the inequities in our City.”

  • Increasing neighborhood access to health and wellness, and educational support that address disparities. We commit to enhancing our three locations within the City of Rochester and our Community Services Division:
    • Maplewood Family YMCA: Continue to provide significant financial support and expand programmatic offerings for seniors, families and all other participants
    • Southwest Family YMCA: In partnership with the United Way of Greater Rochester, establish a Senior Center and expand service to participants of all ages
    • YMCA Center for Equity at Lewis Street: Support the current and future educational needs of the community, and work with our community task force to grow the services most needed in the Marketview Heights Neighborhood
    • Community Services Division: Grow our community outreach beyond Y facilities and remain the largest youth serving arm of the Y within the City of Rochester
  • Having a meaningful impact on racial and educational inequities.
    • We are proud to be one of the first 24 YMCAs in the nation selected to work with the YMCA of the USA Boys and Young Men of Color national pilot program
    • Grow our existing Young Women of Color initiative, creating a more inclusive representation on YMCA Boards of Management

Who’s on the Task Force?

The YMCA of Greater Rochester is establishing a Task Force for Mission-Critical City Services to reposition the Y’s mission delivery, service locations and collaborations within the City of Rochester.

    • The following community leaders have committed to take part in this initiative:
      • Jen Cathy, Chief Impact Officer, United Way of Greater Rochester
      • Paul Clark, Director of School-Based Programs, Center for Youth
      • Sarah Clark, New York State Assembly District 136
      • Jeremy Cooney, New York State Senator, District 56
      • Corinda Crossdale, Deputy County Executive for Health and Human Services, Monroe County
      • Twyla Cummings, Associate Provost and Dean of Graduate Education, Rochester Institute of Technology and Policy Volunteer
      • Robert J Duffy, President and CEO, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce
      • Mitch Gruber, Chief Strategy and Partnerships Officer, Foodlink
      • Jurij Kushner, YMCA of Greater Rochester Corporate Board Member
      • Dr. Michael Rotondo, Senior Vice President University of Rochester Medical Center and Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs University of Rochester School of Medicine
      • Dr. Daniele Lyman-Torres, Commissioner of the Department of Recreation and Human Services, City of Rochester
      • Dr. Lesli Myers-Small, Superintendent of Schools, Rochester City School District
      • Wade Norwood, CEO of Common Ground Health
      • James Smith, President, Nativity Preparatory Academy
      • Jeanne Strazzabosco, Community Advocate
      • Helen Zamboni, YMCA of Greater Rochester Corporate Board Member

The first meeting is set to take place in May 2021.

What You Need to Know Regarding Changes to Service Delivery in City of Rochester

Why the Carlson MetroCenter YMCA?
In the 12-months prior to the COVID shutdown, only 19% of Carlson members actively used the MetroCenter Y once a week or more. Furthermore, in those same 12 months pre-COVID, the MetroCenter averaged less than 500 visits a day. As an organization, we cannot continue to dedicate financial resources to sustain a building that has nearly 65,000-square-feet allocated to health and wellness with so few people using it on a daily basis.

Why now?
Carlson membership operations have posted yearly losses greater than $1 million since 2017. Even after significant financial support from suburban operations, Carlson membership operations have finished six of the last 10 fiscal years with more than a half-a-million-dollar deficit.

The financial challenges at Carlson MetroCenter are not new; they are years in the making, which COVID has intensified. The impact of COVID has upended the model we effectively used for years; one in which we used our successes from suburban facilities to support a variety of City operations. We believe that when the Association has the resources to help fund our City services, those funds can and should be used to make a greater impact on city residents.

When will this take effect?
Membership operations at the Carlson MetroCenter have been temporarily suspended since November 24, 2020. Effective immediately membership is no longer temporarily suspended. Rather, traditional daily membership operations are permanently ceased.

What will happen to the mission-critical services, like Child Care, continue at this location?
The Early Learning Child Care Center, Before and After School Program, Y School of ROC and Summer Quest, our summer learning loss prevention program, will continue to run as scheduled at the Carlson MetroCenter.

What happens to staff?
Carlson staff who are currently working will continue to work in other locations. All currently furloughed staff (who have been on furlough since November 25, 2020) will become permanently separated from employment. Employees separated from the YMCA are able to reapply for any open position throughout the Association.

What happens to membership?
Carlson MetroCenter membership is a passport membership, which gives members access to all YMCA of Greater Rochester locations. Should members have any questions related to their membership, or wish to cancel their current membership, they can contact CarlsonQuestions@RochesterYMCA.org.

What happens to the money paid through Carlson membership?

Carlson membership dollars will continue to support the important, mission-critical work are we doing in the City of Rochester.

What if someone has a locker at Carlson?

Payments for lockers have been suspended since November. If a member had a locker, we will cancel the service immediately. Should anything remain in their locker, we will work with them to find a mutually agreeable time for them to retrieve their belongings. Members can contact us at CarlsonQuestions@RochesterYMCA.org.

What’s happening with the Carlson building?
There are no immediate plans for the long-term future of the building. All possibilities will be evaluated.

What is the YMCA’s commitment to City going forward?
Our commitment to the City remains. The YMCA is more than a place to get physical exercise. We, like all Ys, are committed to strengthening our community by connecting people to their potential, and each other. We will continue to increase neighborhood access to health and wellness, and educational support that address disparities our three locations within the City of Rochester: Maplewood Family YMCA, Southwest Family YMCA and the YMCA Center for Equity at Lewis Street. We are also committed to growing services to meet essential family needs, including childcare, food equity and opportunities for youth development in partnership with a Mission-Critical City Services Task Force made up of elected officials, city and county leaders, collaborative partners, funders, community stakeholders, YMCA policy volunteers and staff.