The North Central Florida YMCA in Gainesville, Florida, has until Jan. 31 to pay off $1.2 million in outstanding debt or the facility will face permanent closure.
The Y's board of directors originally announced the facility would be forced to close Dec. 30, but an anonymous donation of $600,000 bought the directors another month to raise the remaining funds, according to the Y's website.
As of Dec. 29, the board said it had raised $784,000. Approximately $167,000 was raised through grassroots efforts including a GoFundMe campaign and a Facebook community page called NCF YMCA Advocates. The Y is now accepting donation pledges via its website.
Although the Y needs $1.2 million to remain operational, an additional $300,000 would address “critical facility renovations,” according to the directors The board has already renegotiated the payoff of its mortgage with Wells Fargo, according to the Y’s website.
"I have spent the last 4 ½ years fighting for the fresh start that this funding would provide, and I am not ready to throw in the towel yet,” the Y's CEO John Bonacci said in an online statement. “With a little help, we can ensure that the YMCA continues to serve the Gainesville people.”
The Y first filed for Chapter 11 restructuring bankruptcy in 2011 due to $9 million of debt and a 56 percent operating efficiency. The nearly 50-year-old facility currently serves 5,000 members and employs seven full-time and 82 part-time staff members, Alligator.com reported. Its amenities include a swimming pool, personal training, and yoga and Zumba classes
The anonymous $600,000 donation was pledged with the condition that it be matched, the Y’s website said. To do so, Bonacci is reaching out to various foundations and potential large donors.
“I am gonna pursue every angle possible and every donor possible,” he told Alligator.com. “I need all the help I can get to save this place.”