City leaders shocked by YWCA's closure

March 6, 2012 3:02:01 PM PST
It's been nearly a week since the Raleigh YWCA abruptly closed its doors. That closure has left staff members without paychecks and community members without services.

The ABC11 I-Team has learned the YWCA had so little money, it couldn't stay open one day longer. One board member said they simply "had to stop the bleeding."

In the span of about 24 hours last week, everyone from staff members to community members found out the century old YWCA would be closing its doors and no longer offering critical services to seniors, school kids, and low income families.

City leaders were among those surprised.

"It was a shock," said City Council member Mary Ann Baldwin.

"I thought everything was going good over there at the YWCA," said City Council member Eugene Weeks.

Weeks said he met with the CEO of the YWCA eight months ago and had no idea this was coming.

"If you're telling me you're doing a good job and your programs are moving forward, I'd assume the financial part was already in place to keep you moving forward," said Weeks.

The nonprofit's financial statements show it's been losing money for years. In 2008, they lost more than $120,000. In 2009, they lost nearly $400,000. In 2010, they took an operating loss of more than $844,000.

Board members said they knew it was getting bad and were waiting on a number of grants that might save the day. However, those grants never came through and finally, with the organization taking on debt by the day, they had to make the call to close the YWCA.

The YWCA's board is looking into allegations of mismanagement. The national YWCA board meets Wednesday night and the situation will be discussed.

As for the services the YWCA provides, there are outside programs that might be able to help. City leaders said they're trying to match needs with services to try to pick up some of the slack.

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