Media Release


The YMCA is calling for urgent financial support for not for profit organisations.

Established in 1855 the YMCA is New Zealand’s leading non-profit organisation, strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

It reaches 1.2 million people annually through its 12 national branches, six outdoor education camps and more than 200 sites and facilities through the nation.

It now finds itself in a dire situation, never before experienced in its 165 history.

It calling on the government to continue the wage subsidy for its 2800 employees to beyond Alert Level 2, issue a grant to cover fixed costs and allow centres to reopen under clear government guidelines.

“We support young people in a range of ways and across the entire spectrum of needs – from those with huge vulnerability due to poverty, health and other complex needs to those who are current and aspiring leaders of our community,” said YMCA national CEO Chris Knol.

“It is appreciated that some NGOs that address critical needs around housing, poverty and violence are receiving government assistance, and we commend the Government for this decision making. However, the YMCA is unique insofar as we are not dependent on philanthropic giving, but earn money through social enterprise, which then returns a huge value-add for the community by way of programmes to a large proportion of our local populations.”

“Without social enterprise, this return on investment is lost and the cost to society is a major disruption or loss in services and family routines: accessibility to affordable children’s services, recreation, gymnastics, dance, fitness and sport, outdoor education, school camps, mentoring, youth development and low-cost short-long term accommodation.”
“The YMCA is excluded from accessing the existing package of support yet we contribute $60 million of economic activity and conservatively $90 million dollars of social benefit by way of outcomes and accessibility to opportunities to New Zealanders every year.”

“Whilst our accommodation facilities have continued to operate, occupancy numbers are dwindling. Accommodation breaks even at 54% but much of our accommodation occupancy will drop to 20% occupancy in the next few weeks.”

“All of the rest of our facilities remain closed. Whilst the wage subsidy is enabling us to continue to pay our people in the short term, there will be significant job losses if the wage subsidy stops at 12 weeks.”

“Our community projects are funded almost entirely from our commercial revenues and whilst these are at a standstill our projects will go unfunded long into the future. We anticipate that we have drastically limited further run rate at which point we will need to start to put in place plans to downsize our organisation considerably.”

“This will pose a significant threat to the huge outcomes that our organisation plays in the health and well being of the communities that we serve.”

“We also fully expect that we will still have to practise social distancing and a range of isolation procedures that mean associations can still not operate at pre-COVID participation levels for some time. While we are doing everything possible to minimise costs, this extended time with minimal or no income, due to COVID-19 restriction, puts our survival at risk.

“We urgently need the extended wage subsidy support and additional fiscal support to enable us to ride out levels 4 and 3 and ensure our social services can continue to operate at level 2 and beyond. It urges the government to give urgent, priority consideration to the nature and scope of the losses to community health and wellbeing, if the YMCA along with many other charity organisations do not make it through to the other side of this pandemic.”

“The wellbeing of our communities needs to be the top priority for Government moving forward – especially those who are vulnerable, on low incomes or in a minority group. The YMCA is uniquely placed to assist you in this and we would welcome the opportunity to work with you in an advisory or partnership capacity to do this,” concluded Knol.

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