YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee Receives $1 Million in Private Funding

The YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has received more than $1 million in private funding from a public and private consortium of funders, the Y announced on Wednesday. Additional commitments are expected this year, including a multi-year block grant from the City of Milwaukee.

The funding comes after the Y emerged from bankruptcy in February 2015. It had filed for bankruptcy in June 2014 after running up a $29 million debt. When it emerged from bankruptcy, the Y said that it planned to focus on a more traditional non-profit model, to rely less on membership fees, and to refocus on health and wellness as well as non-academic youth development. 

The $1 million in private funding will build on increased demand for Y programs, expanded community partnerships and continuous improvements to the Y's operating model, the media release noted. The "venture philanthropy" approach is separate from the Y's Annual Campaign and calls for up to five years of strategic funding. Funders include Bader Philanthropies Inc.'s Isabel and Alfred Bader Fund, the City of Milwaukee, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Herb Kohl Philanthropies, the Northwestern Mutual Foundation and the Zilber Family Foundation.

"The Zilber Family Foundation's board of directors has followed the Y's story over the years and has been impressed with its willingness to face its challenges head on while never forgetting its mission and purpose," Susan Lloyd, executive director, Zilber Family Foundation, said in a statement.  "We and other funders considered what the partnership means, not only for the Northside Y and the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee as a whole, but also for residents throughout the city."

In addition to private foundation support, the City of Milwaukee has committed a multi-year community development block grant to help sustain the Y's urban mission. The grant amount will be determined in the fall.

"The Y has had a long, vibrant history in Milwaukee," Tom Barrett, Mayor, Milwaukee, said in a statement. "We are proud to continue to stand by them as they work with us and others to help build strong, healthy, safe communities throughout Milwaukee."

The Y's earned revenue and fundraising is tracking ahead of its 2016 targets and 2015 results, according to the release. In January, the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee cut $1.7 million from its 2016 budget due to a $1.5 million shortfall on its $3.8 million fundraising goal in 2015. The reductions came in operating costs, 15 full-time positions, five part-time positions and cuts in executive pay. Also in January, the Y received $20,000 from First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Outside initiative. 

Milwaukee Y CEO and president Julie Tolan stepped down from her position on Thursday in a move that was previously announced. Milwaukee Y Chief Operating Officer Jack Takerian will serve as interim CEO.

"There is tremendous potential for the Y to positively impact many more of the children and families who need our help the most," Tolan said in a statement. "It is nearly impossible to put into words how grateful we are that these funders value the work of the Milwaukee Y, and are willing to walk with our leadership to advance our mission and strategy. They are true partners."