YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee
Press Release

The YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee Files Formal Plan of Reorganization

Bank Group Supports Treatment in Plan

By - Dec 1st, 2014 09:38 am

Milwaukee – December 1, 2014 – The YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee (the “Y”) announced today that it has filed its formal plan of reorganization with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin on Sunday, November 30, 2014. This plan reflects significant time and effort made to reach an agreement for how the banks and other creditors will be treated within the plan. Because of this, the Y feels the plan will be 100% consensual among the entire bank group, and hopes to receive full trade creditor approval as well. The Y has requested a hearing date as early as possible to approve the plan, with the hope of exiting Chapter 11 as soon as late January 2015.

The Y’s reorganization plan and go-forward strategy is the result of months of respectful, collaborative work involving the organization, its creditors, its employees and the broader community. The Y’s go-forward strategy involves a more rational revenue mix, a smaller footprint and fewer programs that are now realigned for greater impact. If its reorganization plan is approved by the Court, the Milwaukee Y will emerge from Chapter 11 debt free and better positioned to carry out its vision of a stronger, healthier Milwaukee where families of all incomes and backgrounds truly thrive.

Among other things, the restructuring process has included:

  • The sale of over 70% of the Milwaukee Y’s owned properties
  • The sale of the Milwaukee Y’s former charter school, the Young Leaders Academy
  • Transferring select programs to organizations better-equipped to run them long-term
  • Finalizing the difficult process of reducing staff by 55% to better align with its smaller footprint
  • Beginning to selectively rebuild the leadership team to help drive future revenue growth, especially in the areas of sales and development/donor relations
  • Negotiating the distribution of available sale proceeds, cash and assets to repay as much debt as possible, while preserving a viable go-forward financial and operating model

“We are grateful for the remarkable support of BMO Harris Bank and the other participating banks, as well as members of the community who have stepped up with their own philanthropy to make the transitions to Milwaukee College Prep and our neighboring YMCA’s possible. As the result of the generosity of so many, we have been able to devise a solution that preserves our ability to provide much needed services to our members and the community while repaying our creditors what was possible,” said Bob Venable, Chairman of the Board of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee. “Throughout the restructuring process, we have made the necessary but difficult decisions to address our financial and operating challenges, reduce the size and scope of our organization and realign our operations and revenue model. Thanks to the hard work of our team and the support this plan has received from the banks, our employees, members and the broader community, we will be well-positioned to emerge from Chapter 11 a stronger, more focused organization poised to truly deliver upon our mission in Milwaukee.”

Specifically, the Y will be transitioning away from programs and services not core to its mission, and instead refocusing its work in its strongest areas: health and wellness and non-academic youth development. The Y will place a priority emphasis on programs dedicated to swim education, corporate and community wellness, senior wellness and socialization, before- and after-school care, and day and overnight camps, in addition to fitness programming at its centers. In doing so, the Milwaukee Y will be adapting its traditional center-based model and making a far greater effort to bring its programs out to the community through partnerships with schools, corporations, parks, counties, municipalities and other non-profits that can both help drive down costs and increase reach and effectiveness.

“Since we began to meaningfully confront our challenges, we have met with a wide-ranging representation of our community: members, employees, political leaders, business leaders, community leaders, among others. The resounding emphasis among the hundreds we’ve met with has been: ‘The Y Matters and is Worth Saving,’” said Julie Tolan, President and Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee. “This plan is not only a reflection of negotiations with our creditors; it importantly is also a representation of what the community needs from the Y, and positions us to be a true champion of families in their efforts to lead healthy, productive lives. As we move forward, I speak for our entire organization when I say we are grateful for this second chance and are humbled by the tremendous support we have received from every corner of the community.”

For more information about the Y’s restructuring, please visit www.ymcamke.org/restructuring

About the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee
The YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee is a powerful association of men, women and children of all ages and from all walks of life joined together by a shared passion to strengthen the foundations of community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Since 1858, Milwaukee YMCAs have helped kids and families live healthy lives in spirit, mind and body. Supported in part through contributions to the Annual Campaign, the Y provides membership assistance and scholarships to programs like summer camp, child care and teen activities, to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to be healthy, confident, connected and secure. http://www.ymcamke.org

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