Chapel Hill Carrboro YMCA set to vote on first steps in merger with Y of the Triangle Dec. 14th

The Chapel Hill Carrboro YMCA (CHCYMCA) is set to vote on beginning to negotiate a management services agreement with the YMCA of the Triangle Association (YOTA), which is the first step in a merger between the two entities - on Wednesday December 14th.

What is at stake is the ability of the CHCYMCA to set it's own policies once a merger is in place. Of particular concern are the policies governing non-discrimination in employment. YOTA does not include sexual orientation in its list of protected categories in its employment policies.  In other words, an LGBT person could be discriminated against in both hiring and/or during employment.

More information is included in this previous post.

CHCYMCA Board members can be contacted here.


If you are a member of the Chapel Hill Carrboro YMCA, have a child in
one of their programs, or donate money to them, PLEASE become educated
about this issue and speak up.  I'm sure that the motivations of the
Board of the CHC YMCA are well intended but I really don't think they
have a good understanding about how seriously this community feels about
full employment protections for the LGBTQ people.

I'm not a member of the Y right now, partially because I have been waiting to see how this would resolve itself. I'm not hopeful. 

Mentioned this at the TC meeting last year when we began to discuss the budget. I told the council that I would not vote for any taxpayer dollars to fund anything at the "Y" without full employment protection for all, straight or LGBTQ. I will stand by this. Let's hope CHC YMCA can resolve this.

Too often it seems like issues get framed in a sucky way. (this comment is meant as a broader comment, not Y specific)We're not pro-discrimination, we're just worried what happens if DADT is repealed. We're not pro-discrimination, we're just worried about the disruption if we don't kick the kid of gay parents out of private school. We're not pro-discrimination, we just want to give taxpayer money to organizations that are. Eventually it starts to feel like people are pro-discrimination, even if it is framed in a way that diminishes the positive and exaggerates the concerns with moving towards equality.Thank you for being willing to stand against this with your council vote. 

As a Board member and a long term Chapel Hill resident, I am grateful to live in a
community that cares deeply about equity issues. We on the Board are well aware
of how much our community values the rights of the LGBTQ community.
Additionally, we have spent countless hours in the past year and a half trying
to find a way to meet the needs of our all of service area--all of Orange and
Chatham counties--and one path we have considered is working with Y of the
Triangle. The issue of how Y of the Triangle treats its employees is one we
have discussed with them at length.

We as a Board are charged by Y National with meeting the needs of all of Orange
and Chatham counties. We would like to be able to serve all,
including those struggling in these hard economic times, in all of our
service area. It is my belief that our Y, with the guidance of our
community, could do great work in our poorer and more rural communities.
We have worked hard to figure out how to do this. Given their presence in
the Triangle, it makes sense we would look at working with Y of the
Triangle. Their ability to raise funds and reach communities is well-known
all across the country.

It may be that the right choice for our Y is to stand strong and reject working
with Y of the Triangle because they don't have, in their employment policies, a
non-discrimination policy for LGBTQ applicants. That choice, though, may mean
not being able to offer afterschool tutoring to struggling students in Siler
City or being able to expand our anti-child abuse training program, Darkness to Light. Our budget
picture for 2012 is much darker than we would like. We so want to be able to
reach so many but our ability to do so is bound by our ability to fund our

 I would respectfully disagree with Mia. I think our
Board is not only well-intentioned, but well-aware of the ethical choices we
are struggling with. I would be happy to sit down with anyone who would like to
discuss this issue and show them our strategic plan, our 2012 budget, the needs
of our entire service area, and the myriad questions we have posed to Y of the
Triangle. My email is


Dabney Grinnan

Chair Elect, Chapel Hill Carrboro YMCA 


 "It may be that the right choice for our Y is to stand strong and reject working with Y of the Triangle because they don't have, in their employment policies, a non-discrimination policy for LGBTQ applicants. "

In a society where we're struggling so hard to keep kids from committing suicide over the bullying they see in their present, and the discrimination they see in their future, it is important to take the kinds of strong stands you mentioned sometimes.  If the Triangle Y wont commit to non-discrimination, then any failed merger and consequences of that is on them, not you.  And from the posts I've seen here on OP, it looks like there are several community members that would have your back over such a decision.

Jake,I am very sympathetic to the desire to stand strong on this. But I think Dabney's post points out the consequences of this in a way that you don't acknowledge. Your post is about placing blame ("on them" and "have your back") -- not about dealing with consequences. Yes, Triangle Y would deserve the blame. But the kids who need afterschool tutoring would not deserve to pay the consequences.If folks want the Chapel Hill Y to take this stand, then take Dabney up on her offer to show you their budget -- and help them meet it. That's what "have your back" would mean in this situation. listen to this speech. It proves that the "Y" will be moving in the wrong direction if sexual orientation is omitted from the discrimination clause.  

My other, less-familiar hat is that I am a freelance grant writer serving youth-serving agencies (among others) in Orange and Chatham. As a result I am fairly educated on the array of youth services in both counties.  The CHC YMCA has already expanded into Chatham County. There is an active branch in Pittsboro which has been a great partner to my client Chatham County Together (based in Siler City.) I am fairly certain that the CHC YMCA is the provider for "after school" services for all Chatham County Public Elementary Schools including the one in Siler City.  Going in the other direction, the CHC YMCA just launched a summer camp in Efland, a part of Orange County that has been traditionally underserved.  My point is that the CHC YMCA does not have a choice before it of whether to retain CHC values OR to extend valuable services to the youth in those areas.  They are already extending those services.   The leadership of the CHC Y may want to spread those services faster but I would make the case that speed isn't always a good idea particularly in a fragile economy particularly when important values are at stake.In the end, I agree with Janet with this caveat:  if CHC YMCA retains its values around LGBT issues then this community should honor that with continued and increased financial support.   P.S. To be super clear, this is Mia a long-time CHC Y member speaking and not Mia the elected official!  

It's OK, Mia the CHC Y member. We'll get Mia the elected official to come around too.

The Chapel Hill Carrboro YMCA Board was poised to vote on a motion to begin negotiating a Management Services Agreement with the YMCA of the Triangle Association during their monthly board meeting on Wednesday, December 14th. Instead, however, they voted on a different motion that appears to give a small, chair of the board-selected committee the power to define how to work with the YMCA of the Triangle. The motion reads:"The Board empowers the Board Chair to form a committee to define how we will work with YMCA of the Triangle to implement our strategic plan to meet the needs of our entire service area."There was very little discussion of this motion. One board member expressed the view that working with the Y of the Triangle would be a step in the wrong direction and that YOTA is not willing to change it's policies on LGBTQ employees. Several other members, however, expressed the view that by continuing to engage with the YOTA, they could influence them positively.In the end, the board voted for the motion (with one member voting against).

The notion that merging with the Y of the Triangle "could influence them positively" is not supported by previous experience. I would be glad to be proven wrong about this. But it has been 7 years or so since the quarrel over the Downtown Durham Y's merger with the Y of the Triangle, and still we're talking about the Triangle Y's regressive policies.Is it even clear that the board of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Y is committed to exerting influence on this issue? I suspect that a board of directors that views some elements of its employment nondiscrimination policy to be up for negotiation is a board of directors that has already gone some way toward making its decision. 


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