Fauntleroy YMCA: Overcoming Challenges and Moving Forward

Last updated: March 15, 2024, at 2:22 p.m. PT

Originally published: March 7, 2024, at 9:25 a.m. PT

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By Cleveland King, Branch Executive, West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA 

West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA leaders hosted a vital community meeting on January 19 to hear from our community about what you would like to see at the Fauntleroy YMCA. This request for community input came after we saw the challenges in keeping the Fauntleroy YMCA as a membership-based site for membership and programs.  

Thank you to those who attended and expressed your passion and commitment to this collaboration. Additionally, thank you to everyone who has shared feedback by email, in person, or through our recent survey. We hear you, and we are committed, with your support, to keeping this facility open and operating for the benefit of our community.    

We also extend appreciation to Fauntleroy Church. We have agreed to extend our lease through 2026 and decrease the cost to the Y by 33%. This collaboration improves our ability to meet the needs of our members and community. 

Business Overview 

We heard you when you asked for more context. We took some time to create a business overview of where we were before, during, and after the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The pandemic has had a significant impact on our financial positions. As a small business, we have faced unprecedented challenges in the past four years. With the lockdowns and restrictions, our operation significantly decreased, and we had to make tough decisions to keep our Association operating and serving community. The West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA faced several challenges, including: 

  • A significant decrease in revenue and membership loss. During the pandemic, we lost 54% of our members and 60% of our membership revenue. Currently, we have 30% fewer members compared to the period before the Covid-19 pandemic. 
  • Increased staffing costs due to state-mandated minimum wage increases and a rise in the minimum threshold for exempt employees. 
  • Increased operational costs due to inflation, building maintenance, and program supplies. 
  • Decreased charitable donations.  
  • Declined first round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding because the Y didn’t meet organization size requirements.  
  • The YMCA implemented several initiatives to reduce operational costs and increase revenue, such as reducing facility hours, expanding rental opportunities, and partnering with outside organizations. 

The West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA have implemented several initiatives to revitalize the Y after the Covid-19 pandemic. These initiatives include: 

  • Reducing staffing costs by limiting facility hours, including the Aquatics Center, Kids Zone, and overall building operational hours (at both the West Seattle and Fauntleroy locations). 
  • Closing Studio B in West Seattle to reduce expenses. 
  • Expanding rental opportunities and partnering with outside organizations to increase revenue to advance our Mission.  

Committees Update 

Our fundraising, volunteer, and planning committees met in February. Together, we are developing plans in each of our respective areas to continue moving forward on these important initiatives. Thank you for being so willing to participate in our fundraising, volunteer, and planning committees. If you are interested in serving on a committee, contact Cleveland King.    

Survey Results 

Thank you for sharing your input through our Fauntleroy YMCA community survey. More than 330 individuals have responded, and we continue to receive responses daily. Here are a few highlights: 

  • 79% of respondents are dissatisfied with current operating hours 
  • 65% of respondents want additional evening hours, while 25% want additional morning hours 
  • Highly recommended programs include: group fitness, family programs, teen activities, basketball, childcare, and pickleball 
  • Regarding future Fauntleroy YMCA meetings, most respondents prefer in-person meetings in the evenings. 

In response to your feedback, the West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA leadership staff are taking the following steps: 

  • Hosting fundraising, volunteer, and planning committee meetings. 
  • Assessing what programs are feasible at the Fauntleroy location. 
  • Identifying a financial model that allows for expanded hours.  

As we take the next steps in the journey, please contact Cleveland King to engage in the following ways: 

  • Join the fundraising, volunteer, or planning committee. 
  • Discuss volunteer opportunities available at the Fauntleroy YMCA. 
  • Make a donation to the Annual Fund Drive, supporting the Fauntleroy YMCA. 
  • Become a YMCA member online or at the Y. 

We are a charity-based organization, and our mission is to serve the community. With your continued support, we are confident that we can overcome the challenges and thrive in the future. Thank you for being a part of our journey.