Partnership With People’s First Credit Union Brings Non-Profits Together
Allentown, Pa. — After an 18-month rebuilding period that saw more than $400,000 in capital improvements, the Allentown YMCA and YWCA is now working on solidifying its financial base thanks to a $650,000 refinancing package arranged through Lehigh Financial Group.
The refinancing, completed May 7, partners the non-profit YMCA and YWCA with the non-profit People First Federal Credit Union and gives the organization renewed stability and an extended period to repay the loan, which was formerly held by a national, for-profit bank, say “Y” President and CEO Jim Finchum and Jeff Barber of Lehigh Financial Group.
“The big bank was really not the best partner for them. They needed a commercial brokerage firm that would listen and understand what their needs are as a non-profit for placement of financing needs,” Barber said. “We decided that People First FCU would be a good fit for the Y — one non-profit working with another non-profit. They needed a lender that was local and that could understand their story.”
Finchum, who assumed the leadership role at the venerable Allentown institution two years ago, said that over the past 18 months, “We have completed approximately $435,000 in improvements. We put a new roof on the building, repaired and updated our air conditioning system and added a new 5-ton unit, and installed a new boiler system and heat exchangers that changes our system from steam to hot water. These are the internal updates that were needed before any external projects could be taken on.”
The Y was built in 1961 and expanded in 1971.
Finchum credited the Trexler Trust Fund and The Century Fund for providing the funds for those projects, which allowed the Y to move on with renewed programming and equipment aimed at retaining and attracting members.
“With the internal projects being completed, we have started some external projects — projects that our members can use — by putting in some new equipment,” Finchum said. “We purchased 15 new spin bikes to provide spin classes to our membership. Theses spin bike classes are offered at no extra price and are included in the membership service, we have added new and upgraded weight equipment to our free weight room. We have received money to repair and resurface our gym floors.”
Barber and his colleague, Lewis Edwards, who has been a member of the Allentown Y for 35 years and helped shepherd the organization through the refinancing process, say they are confident that Finchum and his team have the organization moving in the right direction. “From what we have seen, the Y is committed to Allentown and the future of our city and serving the community around them, no matter what,” Barber said. “They have seen their membership numbers grow over the last 18 months and we feel it’s due to the fact they are committed to investing funds back into the facility and its people.”
Finchum said the Y remains an integral part of the Allentown community and offers a variety of programs that for-profit gyms don’t offer, such as a one-week, free “Learn To Swim” classes that will be held later this month for youngsters ages 8 to 11.
“The focus of the Learn to Swim program is that all participants will finish the program having learned new swim techniques as well as water safety skills that can save lives,” Finchum said. “This program is a great reflection of Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility as the participants will be active in learning new skills, develop confidence and will have the opportunity to make new friends. The participants will also learn about the Y’s core values throughout the program, which are Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility.
“The Y is a critical part of the community and we are a family and member-friendly facility,” he added. “We have something for everyone.”
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Lehigh Financial Group LLC
President and CEO
Allentown YMCA & YWCA