Together, we are six months into the Coronavirus pandemic. To say this has been a challenging time is a drastic understatement. Our YMCAs have collectively lost $4.5 million per month since March and cut 65% of full-time equivalent staff due to operational losses. These losses and staff changes are extremely painful across the state, and many staff have worked long hours, facing much uncertainty, for months.

With our Ys being able to reopen earlier this month, we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. While our members may continue to be slow to return, we know our staff are committed to serving them safely and to continuing to support members and communities outside of our Y walls.

One vital way our Y staff and volunteers have supported their communities has been through advocacy. Thanks to the tremendous success of your work during State Advocacy Week August 24-28, the Alliance and coalition partners were successful in advocating for our state legislators and Governor Cooper to provide a way for our Ys and other community-based organizations to provide full-day remote learning support and federal CARES Act funding to support that work. Read more about that funding opportunity below.

I also want to share with you the work at the state level on our commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization. In June, the Alliance shared a statement. This was a start but our real work is ahead of us. Our Board of Directors has discussed how we might move forward as a state in this area. I’m pleased to share that the Alliance has contracted with an organization to facilitate focus groups among our YMCA association CEOs in the next several weeks, as well as one-on-one discussions, to learn where each of our YMCA associations and their boards are in their readiness to advance anti-racist work.

Our consultant will develop a plan for a framework for our Ys, recognizing that each Y is probably in a different place on this journey. We look forward to this vital work and have dedicated our 2020 Alliance Annual Meeting to this work. Stay tuned for details and plan to join us virtually.

--Sheree Thaxton Vodicka
CEO, NC Alliance of YMCAs

September 21st, 2020