For more than 100 years, the YMCA of Rock River Valley has continuously evolved to meet the changing needs of the greater Rockford community. And today, our community is going through unprecedented challenges. Though our doors may be closed, we are still working to meet the needs of our friends and neighbors in these uncertain times. That’s why we’re asking our members and the community at large to stay with us.

Each year, the Y reaches more than 50,000 people across the community through programs that help everyone reach their full potential, including walking school bus, after school programs and summer camps, swim lessons and swim teams, Artful Aging, wellness coaching and more. Since the COVID-19 situation arose, the Y shifted its focus and responded quickly as the needs of the Rock River Valley changed.

We transitioned our facilities to provide emergency childcare for essential personnel. These heroes are on the front lines and have enough to worry about — a safe place for their children to continue to learn, play and grow shouldn’t be one of them. We are partnering with Rockford Housing Authority, Community Action Agency Serving Boone and Winnebago Counties, Lifescape Community Services, AmeriCorps and Northern Illinois Food Bank in delivering more than 5,000 meals a week to area children. Additionally, the Y is providing virtual workout options and resources to stay active and engaged while sheltering in place.

We are honored to serve our community in these capacities, but ceasing our operations has put a significant financial strain on our YMCA. As a Board of Directors, we are working closely with the leadership team to ensure the Y will thrive again when this crisis is over.

We’d like to shed some light on our financial outlook and the decisions we have made. The Y has fixed expenses that total $400,000 each month whether we are open or closed. We are losing $100,000 a week in revenue from membership and programs. We had to make very difficult decisions to reduce our workforce from 642 to essential staff only. The remaining team members have taken a pay cut and/or reduced hours. We are exploring other options to fill the gap.

We are asking for your help. If you are a Y member and are able, please consider continuing your membership with us. With our doors closed, your membership dollars will help us continue our outreach work and help ensure we make it through this difficult financial time. For anyone who is not a Y member, please consider joining or donating today to help support our efforts. We are just as eager as everyone to reopen our doors, and when that time comes, we know it will be an exciting day, filled with celebration. We can’t do it alone. Please, stay with us.

YMCA Board of Directors: Amy Ott, board chair, Keith Akre, Mary McNamara Bernsten, Mike Broski, Charo Chaney, Rick Engen, Einar Forsman, Bridget French, Michael Gann, Dr. Dave Gomel, J. Hanley, Linda Heckert, Jorge Herrera, Dr. Kathleen Kelly, Steve Rosella, Cesar Sanchez, Tom Sandquist, Skip Trotter, Bruce Vorel, Leslie West and Jim Zuba