Attention: The Special Membership Meeting (Member Vote)

scheduled for September 5th has been CANCELLED.

Informational Meetings scheduled for 8/28 and 

8/30 have also been cancelled. 



Dear YMCA Member,

We are writing to inform you of an important development in our YMCA structure and will be asking for your vote of approval in August. For the past year, Dennis Lipp, our Fergus Falls YMCA CEO has been working as the Interim CEO for the Y in Alexandria after their CEO resigned. It has proven to be a successful and productive collaboration.  It is not uncommon among YMCAs to share CEO’s while one of the Y’s seeks new leadership, but the national YMCA limits this type of pairing to a maximum of two years. This situation created the opportunity for the Fergus and Alexandria Y’s to investigate the advantages of a more extensive collaboration.  In November of last year, a task force was formed consisting of three board members from each Y and Dennis Lipp. After conducting thorough due diligence, working alongside representatives from the National YMCA and seeking advice from other YMCA’s who have merged, it became apparent that a full consolidation would be of benefit to both and would provide a strong and stable foundation going into the future.  In June of this year, the boards voted unanimously to recommend to our respective memberships that we formally consolidate as one corporate entity, with each Y maintaining its own advisory committee, operation management and identity.

The information in this letter is important and we as a board ask you to read and consider it carefully. It is your YMCA and we serve you!

Initially the the notion of merging with Alexandria was met with considerable skepticism by several of our board members. The concern was that we would lose our identity and ability to control local decision making. Also of concern was that much of our funding would disappear as donors would not be interested in having their contributions shared with another Y. We also learned that Alexandria has some debt. Given that we have only recently celebrated an end to our long-standing debt, largely thanks to the generosity of our community members, this was a major issue.

To take the last point first, it was quickly established that the Alexandria debt is well under control and is expected to be paid off within a year. It was a debt incurred not through poor management, but due to a major donor who was unable to fulfill its pledge. In addition, Alexandria has considerable assets to offset any liability.

Secondly, as our Y’s depend so heavily on community contributions, this issue was an important one in our decision.  It was made very clear however that contributions intended for the Fergus Falls Y would clearly be designated as such. 

And, on the issue of identity and local control, the board feels confident that the proposed structure would allow for each Y to have an equally strong voice.  The corporate board would consist of four members from each Y with one CEO acting for both.  Each Y would have its own independent structure, operating to address the needs of each respective Y. Each Y would maintain its same name and only the corporate entity name would be new.


We firmly believe this consolidation will be successful and that it will benefit the Fergus Falls YMCA for the following reasons:

  1. First, both YMCA’s are strong, well managed, have similar operating structures and are close in size and membership. These are important starting points for successful mergers.
  2. Our greatest resource is our staff and this consolidation will more than double the human resources available to build a stronger future. We will be able to share skill sets and the vast experience within both communities. We also think a deeper employee pool will create more opportunities for advancement and strengthen our ability to recruit and retain the very best.
  3. The restructuring allows us to use our financial resources more efficiently. We will have greater purchasing power for goods and services as a Y with nearly 10,000 members.
  4. As a larger entity, we will also have greater access to Y programs and will be eligible for a wider array of grant funding.
  5. Sharing a CEO will enable us to hire a new operations director to oversee the day to day management of our Y. This will free Dennis to focus on more strategic long-term planning, to concentrate efforts on community collaboration, and to explore solutions to current issues affecting our community such as childcare and aquatics.

In conclusion, we recognize the world is changing fast. Our community is changing.  Business is changing. In order to continue to deliver the high-quality programs and services you have come to enjoy we must be willing to change and adapt.  We believe this collaboration will allow us to do that.

Prior to the vote we have scheduled listening sessions to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have.  Voting will take place at a membership meeting open to all members of the Fergus Falls YMCA. The dates for these sessions/meeting are as follows:

Wednesday, July 25th at 7:00 pm

Wednesday, August 1st at 7:00 am

Wednesday, August 8th at 7:00 pm (Special Membership Meeting) *Rescheduled*

Wednesday, August 29th at 7:00 pm (Special Membership Meeting)  *Rescheduled*

Tuesday, August 28th at 7:00 pm  (Informational Meeting) CANCELLED

Thursday, August 30th at 7:00 am (Informational Meeting) CANCELLED

Wednesday, September 5th at 7:00 pm (Special Membership Meeting) CANCELLED


Respectfully yours,

Chris Marvel

Fergus Falls YMCA Board President

Plan of Consolidation

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