Pittsfield Family YMCA unveils strategic plan to meet community needs
PITTSFIELD -- Most people view the Pittsfield Family YMCA as strictly a "swim and gym," according to CEO and executive director Randy Kinnas.
The YMCA's three-year strategic plan -- released on Thursday -- ought to change that perception and help the nonprofit to better serve the community, according to officials.
"This plan really focuses on moving forward, and improving on what we are already doing," Kinnas said.
The document was formulated by a six-member committee that received input from 31 community leaders, more than 200 YMCA members, the public, and using polls the Y conducted at events like Third Thursdays. The project began in early 2012.
It focuses on five goals: financial stability; talent management and development; communication; facilities; and collaborations and partnerships. The plan includes specific dates over the next three years by which those goals are to be met.
"It will keep us focused," Kinnas said.
The YMCA has developed multi-year strategic plans before, but Kinnas said this is the first time that the organization solicited public input.
"It's just the way things are done now," he said. "In order to serve the community, you have to represent the community."
The plan also builds on the momentum the YMCA has established over the last two years.
"Four years ago when the economic crisis began, we really, really suffered financially," Kinnas said. "The last two years we really focused on our financials and on things we can do better to improve."
He said the YMCA had a slight budget surplus in 2011 and 2012.
"This is the time to develop strategies to keep the momentum moving forward, and not be in crisis management all the time," Kinnas said.
"When you're in crisis management, you're wondering whether or not you're going to be able to pay the bills," Kinnas said. "Everything has duct tape around it. We're at the point where things are running really smooth, programs are getting larger, things are growing.
"We've done this well," he said, "how can we do it better."
Kinnas said that the YMCA is committed to staying in downtown Pittsfield, but didn't rule out the possibility that the organization could move to another city location by 2016.
"We're going to evaluate it," he said. "If something comes up we'll entertain that thought, but our focus is on staying here."
He said the YMCA also intends to evaluate the need for its residential services program, which expires in 2017.
"We'll start thinking about that now," he said.
The YMCA has been burdened in recent years by the cost of having to maintain Ponterrill, the 115-acre parcel on East Acres Road that houses outdoor recreational facilities that are seldom used anymore. The sale of that property was a key component of the Y's last strategic plan in 2010.
Kinnas said the YMCA has entered into an agreement with a private company that is working with the Western Massachusetts Electric Co. to establish a solar panel farm on that lot. He expects those plans to be finalized by October or November.
Five key points
Highlights of Pittsfield Family YMCA's three-year strategic plan:
Financial stability: Dramatically change and improve how the YMCA secures funding.
Talent management/development: Be recognized as a great place to work and volunteer.
Communication: Improve public awareness.
Facilities: Enhance and ensure a welcoming, clean, and safe physical environment.
Collaboration/partnerships: Operate as a Y with and without walls through new and existing community alliances.