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YMCA of Marquette County now debt free

David and Thu Brule address the YMCA of Marquette County after it was renamed in their honor because of their donation of $1 million to the facility. The donation makes the YMCA now debt free. (Journal photo by Trinity Carey)

MARQUETTE — The YMCA of Marquette County is now debt free after a $1 million donation.

At the YMCA’s 25th Anniversary Stompin’ Celebration, the facility was renamed the David and Thu Brule YMCA of Marquette County in honor of the donors.

The organization’s debt currently sits at $1.1 million. With the donation, the YMCA will pay back the $700,000 currently owed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture within the next 10 years. By paying off the debt within the 10-year time frame the USDA will wash away the remaining $400,000 debt. Residual money will be used for capital projects such as roof and furnace repairs.

Three and a half years ago the YMCA had over $7 million of debt on a $2.2 million budget, said YMCA CEO Jenna Zdunek.

“It was a very stressful time. Some days were day by day, some days were minute by minute and so we had to literally reset everything,” Zdunek said.

After a reorganization, the YMCA was able to reduce its debt to roughly $5 million but still had to declare bankruptcy in May 2017. Upon successfully coming out of bankruptcy, the Y was left with $1.3 million in debt.

“Every month we’re doing better and better. The light at the end of the tunnel gets bigger,” Zdunek said. “Our YMCA is doing great as far as membership and programs. We have a lot to be happy about and the fact that we’re even here celebrating our 25th anniversary, because really three years ago our doors were almost shut, and that’s to a lot of people in the room and in our community for supporting us that stepped up to help, so thank you all for being here. It’s really huge that we’re standing here today.”

Michele Butler, chief volunteer officer of the YMCA board, said the Y has been waiting for a major donor to come along and offer their support.

“The vision and the goals that we share for the Y have been examined and well received by a family in the local community,” Butler said. “This is a family that not only believes in the YMCA but also the Marquette community. They have the capacity to understand the value of giving back — that’s what a true philanthropist is.”

The YMCA is honored to have received the capital donation from the Brules that will wipe away the remaining debt, Butler said.

“Obviously this is a very exciting and extremely significant milestone and Thu and I are proud to be a part of the celebration of the Y’s future,” David Brule said. “However, what we have done is not a gift. We are making an investment and like any other investment, we expect a return. Of course helping to secure the Y’s financial future is a part of that return, but seeing the Y thrive is where we get the bang for our buck.”

Trinity Carey can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is tcarey@miningjournal.net.