Smalbany has been following this story since November 2019. We have new information and will be publishing our follow-up on about January 15, 2020. Bottom Line: The Capital District YMCA refuses to restore the Veterans discount on adult and senior memberships. We will challenge their claim to be a “charity,” and hit them by challenging their non-profit status! Stay tuned!
SHAME ON THE CAPITAL DISTRICT YMCA!!!
The Capital District Y Slashes Veterans Discount
With the White House declaring November as Veterans Month, and all of the talk about how America honors, respects, and loves their veterans, one of America’s premier non-profits, the Young Men’s Christian Association or YMCA, targets Veterans by slashing the Y’s Veterans discount. In August, the Capital District YMCA, a non-profit organization that pays no taxes, cut their Veterans discount not by 10%, not by 20% but by 50%. The measure took effect in October. That’s how the YMCA honors this country’s Veterans.
President Trump urged communities to “honor the service, sacrifices, and contributions of veterans and military families for what they have done and for what they do every day to support our great nation.” (Read the entire article at: President Declares November Veterans Month) In contrast, the Capital District YMCA slashes their discount offered to Veterans.
A reader wrote to us in October, in amazement, when he discovered that his monthly YMCA membership was increased by 50% in October, going from $26.00 to $39.00. Read what he has to say:
“I was flabbergasted when I called the Y to find out why my debit account showed a $39.00 payment to the Capital District YMCA, when it is normally $26.00.
“When I got to speak to someone in the accounts department, the woman told me that they had changed the Veterans discount; that a letter was mailed out in August. I explained that I was not aware of any letter announcing such a huge increase, and that I was very unhappy to learn that they had targeted Veterans, of all people.
The Accounts person offered to connect me to the “marketing manager”, Erin Breslin, to voice my outrage. I declined the opportunity, opting instead to write to Smalbany and to legislators and veterans organizations.
“I was incensed because just last year the YMCA announced that there would be a $1 per month increase in everyone’s membership due to salaries and benefits. That I could swallow. But this latest despicable action by the YMCA taken against Veterans is scandalous!
“I am on a tight fixed income and have to budget every penny. I maintain good health by regular exercise and was willing to make the sacrifice of the $26 each month to keep my YMCA membership. The halving of the Veterans discount increases my monthly Y payment to $36, which is a 50% increase! That $13 increase puts a strain on an already strained household, believe it or not. Even if it did not, it is a scandalous increase targeting Veterans.
“The YMCA has millions in tax-exempt assets. As a tax-exempt, non-profit it receives many gifts and bequests from people with fortunes, and the Y pays no tax on their property, while the donor can deduct a substantial amount from his or her taxable income.
One final point: Smalbany has written a couple of articles about Planet Fitness and its faults. Two years ago, before I switched to the Y, I was a black-card member at Planet Fitness, which entitled me to visit any location nationwide and included a number of fringe benefits. I paid about $21 each month for that membership. I joined the Y and paid about $5 more but still could use any Y facility. That was OK. Now, for the same services, I’m paying twice as much! I’m paying twice as much to a so-called community organization. I’m paying twice as much to an organization that pays no taxes!!! Say what you like about Planet Fitness, at least they pay taxes!
“This action by a very rich organization that pays no taxes, against a vulnerable population like Veterans, is a disgrace! The IRS, the Veterans Administration, Veterans organizations, Military associations, Congress, the NYS Senate and Assembly, EVERYONE should shame the YMCA for this unprecedented attack on Veterans!”
We could not believe this is happening, and we did not publish it sooner because we had to do some research and check some information. IT’s TRUE! [Editor’s Note: The information was confirmed with the Capital District YMCA. The Veterans discount, misleadingly called a “scholarship” by the Y, was reduced from 50% to 25% for veterans and senior adult memberships. Looks like they hit both veterans and seniors with this move. SHAME!]
The actual letter sent out some time in August 2019 is a bit vague and ambiguous, and doesn’t really come straight out and say that the discount is being reduced, which in fact is what happened. The letter simply states a load of political crapola about all the good the Y does and simply says : “Beginning this October, the savings for our veterans will change to 25% savings on the cost of an adult (or senior adult) membership.” Nothing to warn of a reduction and an increase in the cost of membership to seniors and veterans!.
Click here to read the actual August Letter: YMCA Veterans Discount Slashed
There seems to be a troubling pattern in the Capital District YMCA’s communications to members announcing many of the Y’s more sinister plans and measures: their letters appear to be intentionally vague and ambiguous, probably to avoid immediate protest and outcry.. According to a report on the Grand Street Community Arts site, “The wording of the release was very vague according to all who have read it.” We have to ask ourselves whether this so-called “community institution,” and “charity” organization isn’t being a little too intentionally devious by not coming straight out with what they are doing?
The mid-term elections were also a distraction for us and for everyone else, and we felt if we published it before the elections, it would not get the attention it deserves. We confirmed all of the facts, and it’s TRUE, the Capital District YMCA has cut the Veterans discount previously offered to Veterans in HALF! What the Veteran about writes is TRUE!
According to the InfluenceWatch site, the YMCA of Greater New York has assets of $346,610,716 (as of 2016). The Capital Region YMCA reported net assets of $27,121,095 (2018). They pay no taxes but in 2018 received more than $2 million in contributions and gifts, $220,000 in fundraising, and received more than $457,000 in government grants; that a total of $2,752, 000 in contributions
In addition, the Capital District YMCA had program revenues of $36,205,960, total contributions (gifts,donations, grants,etc.) of $2,752,800, and $616,306 in “other revenue, making a grand total revenue of $39,575,066. They pay no taxes. (Source: Charity Navigator, last accessed on November 3, 2019).
The Capital District YMCA operates facilities in the following locations:
- Bethlehem Area YMCA
- Duanesburg YMCA
- Glenville YMCA
- Greenbush YMCA
- Greene County YMCA
- Guilderland YMCA
- Schenectady YMCA
- Southern Saratoga YMCA
- Troy YMCA
The Capital District YMCA closed its North Albany Y in August of this year amid protests. Members were referred to the Healthy Living Center next to the Hannaford on Central Avenue in Albany. It’s only open on weekdays and there is no pool there. Most seniors enjoy pool activities but apparently veterans and seniors are considered marginal or second-class members by the Capital District YMCA.
The Capital Region YMCA’s scandalous action taken against Veterans must not go unpunished, must not go unnoticed by a single American. It is despicable that a so-called community service organization with enormous assets and one that pays no taxes should dare to target the American Veteran!
We demand that the Capital Region YMCA rescind their marketing director’s insane decision, terminate the responsible organization officers, and admonish the board of directors. Furthermore, we urge our lawmakers and veterans organizations to come forward and chastise the Capital Region YMCA for targeting American Veterans in the Y’s attempts to enrich themselves. It’s a hair short of TREASON.
Most veterans pay their taxes. Those on disability or receiving other support have earned that support the hard way. It’s unconscionable for an organization that enjoys all of the benefits owed to Veterans, an organization that pays no taxes in support of Veterans, should slap America’s heroes in the face!
Contacts at the Capital District YMCA for Complaints:
Capital District YMCA
J. David Brown President/CEO
465 New Karner Road, 2nd Fl.
Albany, NY 12205
Phone: (518) 869 – 3500 ext. 9901
Fax: : (518) 869 – 9082
This is the woman responsible for the outrage:
Director of Marketing and Membership
465 New Karner Road, 2nd Fl.
Albany, NY 12205
Phone: (518) 869 – 3500 ext. 9924
Bethlehem Area YMCA
Carl Oropallo, District Executive Director, ext. 1400
Mark Thurman, Director of Operations, ext. 1401
900 Delaware Avenue
Delmar, NY 12054
Phone: (518) 439 – 4394
Fax: (518) 439 – 5718
Greene County YMCA
District Executive Director
370 Mansion Street W.
Coxsackie, NY 12192
Phone: (518) 731 – 7529 ext. 2200
Fax: (518) 731 – 5429