Chapel Hill Carrboro YMCA waits until no one is looking, signs 1-year management agreement with the YMCA of the Triangle

Back in March, the CHCYMCA Board of Directors stated during their board meeting that all plans to merge with the YMCA of the Triangle were on indefinite hold after a commuity outcry because of the discriminatory practices of the YMCA of the Triangle.  More on this story can be found in this OP post, this post, and this post.

However, members of the Chapel Hill Carrboro YMCA received this email from the interim CEO yesterday (Oct. 18th, 2012):

As interim CEO of the Chapel Hill - Carrboro Y, I wanted to send this message to update you on the Y and its future. 

This week, the Board of the Y, along with the Board of the YMCA of the Triangle approved a Memorandum of Understanding which provides the framework for our two organizations to work more closely as both YMCAs grow in service to the entire Triangle region.  The YMCA of the Triangle will provide leadership to the Chapel Hill - Carrboro Y in fund development, staff development and fiscal oversight.  Our Y will maintain its own 501(c)3 status.

What does that mean for you as a member? We're confident that a closer relationship between the two Ys will lead to better facilities for you, better programs for your family and better service to our community.  We'll build on what we do best so that you can continue to enjoy the Y just as you always have.  The strengths of the Y of the Triangle will lead us to a greater ability to serve the community and grow to reach more of our neighbors.

As a Y, we are so fortunate to serve such a devoted membership and community.  We are aware of your expectations of the Y.  Know that we will continue to serve you and our community while recognizing and respecting the diversity and values that make our community such a special place.

This one-year management agreement will begin on January 1, 2013.  As we embark on this new chapter in our Y's story, you may have questions about it.  Feel free to contact me at or stop by my office at the Chapel Hill branch . 

As always, thank you for supporting us, and allowing us to be a part of your life.

Ralph Yohe
Interim CEO




I expect they will lose quite a few family membeships over this unless they find a way to preserve CHC Y's nondiscrimination policy that welcomes gay and lesbian families. Seeing no mention of it in the CEO's announcement doesn't offer any hope of that.Sidenote: It just occurred to me that we don't have an official OP category for gender and sexuality issues. This is mainly because these are not often dealt with at the local level. I often file them under Civil Liberties, but that's not quite right. Should we add a new issue (see them listed in the sidebar at right --> ) for this, and if so what should we call it?

I think such a category could get used. I believe Orange County has had more LGBT elected officials than anywhere else in NC. We certainly had our fair share of anti-amendment 1 events here. Obviously the Y's policy has generated plenty of discussion. Though Durham is the anchor, Chapel Hill certainly participates in NC Pride each year, which is centered around the triangle with some events happening in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.And even though some LGBT issues are bigger than one county, our county certainly has a role to play.  When the LGBT inclusive anti-bully bill was passed by the NC General Assembly, Orange County legislators were involved with that.  David Price voted for DADT repeal. The Orange County LGBT community was well represented at the DNC here in NC where we passed a pro-marriage equality party platform for the first time ever, and where NC had a Democratic LGBT Caucus participating in the national Democratic LGBT Caucus for the first time ever.I even remember a few elections back when a certain candidate tried to use his election signs to say what does and doesn't count as a family as an attempt to persuade voters on how to vote in a local election.

Ruby, you stated that you didn't see anything in the announcement that indicates they will preserve CHC Y's nondiscrimination policy but I would read this sentence, "Know that we [CHC Y ]will continue to serve you and our community while recognizing and respecting the diversity and values that make our community such a special place" as suggesting that they do intend to preserve the existing policy. But it wouldn't hurt them to specifically come out and say that if that is indeed their intent. Also, I would interpret this sentence "The YMCA of the Triangle will provide leadership to the Chapel Hill - Carrboro Y in fund development, staff development and fiscal oversight" to suggest that the Triangle Y will initially, at least, be providing their expertise in more fiscal matters rather than in policy matters.

I've spoken to the chair of the YMCA board and she assured me that local non-discrimination policies will remain in place. Follow me on Twitter @MayorMarkK or on Facebook or

I spoke to the in-coming chair, not the current chair.  Sorry about the confusion. Follow me on Twitter @MayorMarkK or on Facebook or

Trapani says the new collaboration won’t affect each branch’s ability to keep their separate policies about the LGBT community.“The Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA remains its own, independent 501(c)3 organization with its own finances and policies,” she says. “So, at this point, there’s nothing for us to have to work out, and our policies remain the same as they’ve always been.”


I am the Chair Elect of the CHCYMCA and wanted to explain clearly what we have done.

What will we get from Y of the Triangle

Leadership and vast experience in fund development, staff development, governance and greater fiscal oversight. We do not have the depth of resources we need to achieve our goals of reaching out to more people in need of our services, of upgrading our facilities or expanding further into Chatham County or into rural Orange.

Will we still be our own Y?

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA will maintain its 501(c) 3 status. We will retain our focus on being a Y that is open to all.

Is this a merger?

No. It’s a 12-month Management Services Agreement with Y of the Triangle, renewable annually, beginning on January 1, 2013.

Will the Chapel Hill Y keep their current policies?

During the period of the Management Agreement, our finances will be separate and its operating polices will remain the same.

Why now?

We have spent the past months engaged in a national CEO search. When we weighed the benefits of hiring a CEO against the benefits of partnering with the Y of the Triangle, we came to the conclusion that the depth of their experience, management and proven track record would give us a better opportunity to reach our strategic goals.

I hope this clears up any misunderstanding about the agreement we have entered into with Y of the Triangle.


Dabney Grinnan

Chair Elect Chapel Hill Carrboro YMCA

Chair CEO Search Committee Chapel Hill Carrboro YMCA

As George noted, the e-mail states that the "YMCA of the Triangle will provide leadership to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Y" in staff development.  Since our Y is the one with sexual orientation non-discrimination policies with regard to prospective and current staff, I hope this is an area where instead, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Y can provide leadership to the YMCA of the Triangle. 

Hi Lydia, I was hoping (assuming) they were referring to the Triangle Y providing leadership in how they fund & develop the CHC Y's staff, not how they make hiring or other personnel policy decisions. According to the article in today's, "Trapani says the new collaboration won’t affect each branch’s ability to keep their separate policies about the LGBT community." The article also goes on to say that Trapani says that they hope to have the details finalized by January which will hopefully mean that the public should have an opportunity to thoroughly vet them before then. 

Thanks for the follow-up, George - we'll see.


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