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Capital District YMCA First Engagement

SUNY Albany’s Going Green Globally (G3) Program is a key element of the overall MBA program, allowing teams of MBA students to work with local businesses to create innovative sustainability strategies and initiatives in an effort to increase savings and decrease costs in a changing economy.

Team InnoVerde was originally engaged by the Capital District YMCA for this purpose.

The calendar was as follows:

  • Team formation
  • Initial client meeting and tour at YMCA
  • Sustainability initiative research and white paper creation
  • Follow up meeting at YMCA
  • Further research and cost analysis
  • Executive presentation of findings and recommendation

In the initial meeting, Team InnoVerde’s goal was to identify the following:

  • What (if anything) the YMCA is doing in regard to sustainability
  • Who the key stakeholders are and where any resistance lies
  • Areas of opportunity

The team used the following questions in the first meeting:

  • How do you decide the rates for memberships in each community?  Does the money made stay within that community, or is that money shared among all the Capital District YMCA’s?
  • Do you offer services outside of the YMCA (building)?  If so, does that present any challenges?
  • What would you consider the YMCA’s main strengths/weaknesses?
  • What is the “Reach out for the Youth” program?  Do you lower the cost of the services?  How do you determine what to charge, if so?
  • Do you feel your services are well publicized?  Events, offerings, as well as fund-raisers?
  • Is it difficult to find volunteers?  Is it challenging to get children/teens interested in joining programs, such as “Student Achievers?”
  • Has the recession affected the YMCA?  Has membership increased/decreased?  Has fundraising become more difficult?
  • Can you please elaborate on the rental/ residence offerings?
  • Net Assets at year end were: $20,827,950, up $662,553 from last year.  What is the average for net assets?
  • The Strategic Plan began in 2010.  Have all your goals stayed the same?  Have there been any changes/edits to those plans?  What challenges are you currently facing?  What have you achieved?
  • Do you have large (corporate) sponsors?  If not, have you tried to find some?  What strategies did you use and how effective were they?
  • Where does the profit go?  Who decides what to do with the money?  Is the money invested at all, or put back into the company for other projects?
  • For paid employees, do they receive fair/average salaries?  Benefits?  Do you know the economic background of the individuals?  Are they mostly from the need-based demographics that you are attempting to reach out to?  What incentives (other than pay) do you feel they need/want?  What are their concerns?
  • As a goal, stronger ties with schools, libraries, etc is mentioned.  How do you feel your relationship with them is now?  Do you feel they offer mutual support/ referrals to you?
  • Do you have relationships with local businesses?
  • For those in need, do you have strong enough ties to offer deals/ discounts for services they might be in need of, such as medical/dental, etc.?  Do you offer information to those looking for such information?  Either where to find help, or how to receive offerings?
  • Why do you want to implement the sustainability measures (being that it is not part of your mission, vision, or goals)?
  • Who would support a sustainability initiative (person, position in organization)?
  • Is your organization involved in any outside activities or groups relating to sustainability?
  • Are there any types of incentives or compensation for implementing sustainability measures? (If so, what are the criteria for each? What level of employee is the incentive/compensation for?)
  • Do you have any metrics you use to measure achievement toward sustainability goals?
  • Do you offer training or education on sustainability issues?
  • Have you made any R&D investments for low-carbon products, technologies, or services?
  • Are you involved in any emissions-trading programs?
  • What actions have you taken to reduce energy, wastes, or resource consumption?
  • Of the recommendations from last year’s group, what solutions, if any, have you implemented?

After collecting all of this information from various staff and management members, the team returned to SUNY Albany to begin research.