Milwaukee Y undergoes leadership change, lands more than $1 million

Local coalition raises money to support programming, improvements

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A coalition of local philanthropic organizations has committed more than $1 million to the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee as the organization undergoes a significant leadership change.


“There is tremendous potential for the Y to positively impact many more of the children and families who need our help the most,” said Julie Tolan, president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee. “It is nearly impossible to put into words how grateful we are that these funders value the work of the Milwaukee Y, and are willing to walk with our leadership to advance our mission and strategy. They are true partners.”

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Tolan, who joined the YMCA in 2013 and oversaw a dramatic restructuring plan to eliminate $30 million in debt the organization accrued over two decades, will resign today.

She announced her resignation on March 1.

Under her direction, the YMCA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2014, sold 70 percent of its owned real estate assets and re-configured its revenue streams. Jack Takerian, the Milwaukee Y’s chief operating officer , will take over as interim CEO upon her resignation.

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On Wednesday, Tolan and the Milwaukee Y announced a total of more than $1 million had been committed by Bader Philanthropies Inc.’s Isabel and Alfred Bader Fund, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Herb Kohl Philanthropies, the Northwestern Mutual Foundation and the Zilber Family Foundation to support the Y’s community programs, partnerships and operations.

“The Zilber Family Foundation’s board of directors has followed the Y’s story over the years and has been impressed with its willingness to face its challenges head on while never forgetting its mission and purpose,” said Susan Lloyd, executive director of the Zilber Family Foundation, in a joint statement released Wednesday. “We and other funders considered what the partnership means, not only for the Northside Y and the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee as a whole, but also for residents throughout the city.”

The organization also announced it expects to receive a multi-year block grant from the City of Milwaukee before the end of the year.

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