by Joe Schwartz
Talk of teaming up, including a possible merger, riled the community for 18 months. The Raleigh-based YMCA of the Triangle, which runs a dozen Piedmont-area YMCAs, does not list sexual orientation as a protected class in employment materials.
Jennifer Trapani, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA Board of Directors, said the decision to no longer seek a partnership was mutual. The controversy played a part in the discussions, but it was not the only factor in Friday's announcement.
"Our community is obviously very important to us. Our YMCA is an organization for our community, so we were trying to listen to everyone's comments and concerns openly," she said.
"We were very convinced that they are not an organization that discriminates at all, but still, the uneasiness from our community made them and us concerned."
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA is seeking to expand into Chatham and greater Orange counties and increase and sought expertise on feasibility studies, programming, planning and garnering capital from its larger neighbors.
"We learned a lot form them about operations," Trapani said. "It was a really well spent 18 months, it just didn't end in what we thought it would."
The announcement comes as a relief to many in Orange County who fought against a merger and who said they would cancel memberships if a deal was cemented.
Trapani says some of those folks have contacted her to express thanks since the decision was made public.
Mia Day Burroughs, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education chairwoman, made a donation to the Y in honor of the decision.
"I've been a big supporter of our Y in the past and I'm very pleased that I'll feel free to be a big supporter going forward with a clear
consciousconscience," Burroughs said.
Those donations come at an important time with the YMCA in Chapel Hill operating without the benefit of assistance from their well-funded friends in Raleigh.
"We are just trying to do it alone," said Trapani, adding a plug for the We Build People campaign that kicked off in March with an aim of $200,000 for scholarships.
"We are going to try to bite off much smaller things to do."