YMCA is, and will remain, valuable community member

The YMCA of Marquette County has had a pretty rough road over the last year or so.

Financially, the organization has experienced challenges and on Friday it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection while it reorganizes. In the meantime, it’ll be business as usual.

Certainly that decision isn’t one that was haphazardly made by the folks at the YMCA, and as it stands right now, we think it was a wise call to make.

Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code is commonly called “reorganization” bankruptcy. It allows debtors to implement a restructuring plan without interrupting regular operations.

According to the top administrators at the YMCA, the organization has an outstanding debt of about $4.8 million, significant, to be sure but not as bad as it could have been.

Current leadership at the organization has already taken measures to cut the money it owes by roughly 20 percent. Through community fundraising, the liquidation of its Wright Street childcare facility and negotiation of key debts, the YMCA’s capital debt was reduced to the current figure of $4.8 million from nearly $6 million.

In our opinion, the new team has handled what they’ve been able to pretty well, but filing for bankruptcy seems to be the most viable option to deal with matters, long term.

“While it is a difficult decision for our board of directors, it is the right decision for the future of the YMCA,” board Chairwoman Michele Butler and CEO Jenna Zdunek wrote in a letter to community members and YMCA supporters. “This next step is the most effective vehicle for us to ensure our continued viability and sustainability in the community.”

It’s important to ensure the organization has the ability to serve our community as it has been doing for nearly 30 years, and the YMCA’s recent move allows for that.

The YMCA’s programming and services will continue to be offered at the organization’s various centers throughout Marquette County, including the West End YMCA, KI Sawyer YMCA Child Development Center and the Family Center at Lake Superior Village.

The organization provides a large number of valuable programs to our area residents, many of them specific to nurturing our younger generations, such as early childhood development, youth mentoring, summer camps and healthy living classes.

At a time when it’s needed most, we’d like to take this opportunity to encourage our community to continue its support for the YMCA of Marquette County, and we feel confident the new leadership team will make every effort to return the organization to a financially sound place.