Dear Valued NECC Member,
The Northeast Community Center is alive and well! Our membership continues to explode! In one year, we experienced more than a 20% increase in memberships, and as of January 1, we have more than 1100 individual and family memberships (2000+ individual members)!
During 2015, we celebrated our 10th Anniversary as a non-profit with a series of activities, including an event honoring our founders, and we expanded and diversified youth and adult programming through the additional space provided by the Annex, adding classes and programs such as:
As we celebrate the successes of our thriving non-profit organization, the NECC Board of Directors is also facing two major challenges. First, the Board has committed to increase wages for our valuable employees, bringing them closer to market wages. Second, the Board must address much-needed improvements to our aging facility, including replacement of our roofs and rehabilitation of our pool, both of which will extend the useful life of the Center.
In the coming months, the Board will consider 5% increases in membership dues for both 2016 & 2017 to pay for wage increases. In 2016, the Board will also launch an aggressive capital fund raising campaign to address the facility needs. I have provided details on each of these two items below.
Your Board will be hosting a presentation and discussion of these ideas Tuesday, January 19 @ 7pm at the Center, and we invite you to attend if you are interested in learning more. We welcome your input.
FAIR WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES
Our major strength is our employees. The NECC has 50+ employees, including: trainers, instructors, coaches, administrative staff, executive staff, child watch, lifeguards, and others. Treating them fairly is not only the right thing to do, it will help insure their loyalty, stability, and the quality of their work. Since 2014, we have steadily raised our employees’ wages above the state-mandated $9.25/hour minimum wage, but the NECC’s wage scale for our lowest-paid employees is still below market.
We have been able to raise wages by increasing membership, expanding programs and lessons, and operating more efficiently. However, we cannot rely on continued membership growth to fund further increases. Instead, the Board will consider increasing member dues across the board by 5% in 2016and an additional 5% in 2017. This will move NECC’s wages closer to our targeted $13.50/hour by 2018. What is significant to note is that the NECC Board has not increased dues since 2008. During that seven year period, the consumer price index has risen 11.2%.
The Board is also mindful that there are metropolitan area and state-wide efforts to raise the current $9.25/hour state-mandated minimum wage. City and County governments have already increased their minimum wage to $15/hour, and there are two possible ballot measures and legislative discussions that may raise the minimum wage statewide or regionally to $13.50 or $15/hour by 2018.
ROOFS AND THE POOL
The NECC’s building was constructed in 1925 and has served as a community landmark. In 2004, the YMCA planned to close partly because of the cost of deferred building maintenance. Since the NECC took over operations and under the leadership of current Buildings and Grounds Chair Gary Gibbs, we have established regular maintenance schedules for most systems. However, we have not yet addressed the need and the costs to replace the roofs and rehabilitate our aging pool.
We have budgeted for and scheduled replacement of one of our five roofs in 2016, but we need an additional $150,000 to replace the other roofs, and another $450,000 to completely rehabilitate the pool, including replacing the pool roof. Rehabilitating the pool includes repairing/replacing plumbing and drainage piping, repairing the ceiling, installing a new roof, repairing cracks in the pool’s pump room walls, replacing the sewer connection, rehabbing the water supply and heat exchange piping, and rehabbing the steam lines. Needless to say, the pool needs some work.
We believe taking these steps will add at least 25 years to our current home. By not addressing the potential problems, we risk system failure.
To address facility issues, we will rely on donations to the Don Waggoner Giving Circle, grants, annual operating funds, and a major fundraising effort. If you are interested in donating or helping raise funds, please contact our Fundraising Chair, Mary Jaron Kelly at Fundraising@necommunitycenter.org.
WANT TO DISCUSS?
Should we increase dues in order to raise the wages our valuable employees receive? Join us for a presentation and discussion on Tuesday, January 19 from 7-8pm. Bring your questions, ideas and fundraising suggestions!
You can also comment by emailing me at Board@necommunitycenter.org, or speaking directly with a member of the Board (a list is available here). If you are not able to attend you can find additional information here.
The NECC Board and staff appreciate your support. Increased vitality brings increasing pressure on our services, demands for more classes, and an increasing administrative load on our employees. It is only with your continued support through your dues, your attendance and enthusiasm, and your contributions to capital fund raising needs that we will be able to continue to offer the kind of family and community oriented services you have come to expect.