New Heart of the Valley YMCA President: The Y is more than a gym, it’s a cause.

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)  – After a months-long search, the Heart of the Valley YMCA has a new President and CEO on the job.

Jerry Courtney comes to Huntsville with 29 years of experience within the YMCA. Already, he’s working to find solutions to the challenges facing the organization.

“Over the next six to nine months our staff, donors, and board members and volunteers will look at how we operate and does it align well with the needs of the community, so we can have a meaningful impact with the programs we provide,” said Courtney.

The Heart of the Valley YMCA holds $19 million in debt, acquired to build the  Hogan YMCA in Madison and do capital improvements to the Southeast YMCA in Huntsville.  Over the years, the Madison City Council has drastically decreased funding, and membership has dropped.

“We are dependent on our donors,” said Courtney.

Sixty-two percent of the organization’s $8.2 million budget comes from  membership, while $780,000 (9%) comes from private contributions.

Courtney says under his leadership, he wants to focus their efforts on better serving their communities and growing their mission of promoting honesty, caring, respect, responsibility, and inclusiveness.

“We are not a fitness center. We have fitness in our centers. We are a community organization. So when someone comes to the Y, they are buying into the mission and the impact the Y has in making it a better place to raise your children and live and have your career,” said Courtney. “The Y is much more than a ‘Gym and Swim’, it’s a cause.”

This year alone, the Heart of the Valley YMCA has given 4,655 families a total of $668,000 in scholarship assistance. They offer discount memberships to Active Duty military, Retired, and Veterans. They offer free memberships for families while a soldier is deployed, as well as low-income families.  Day care, health programs, and youth activities are included in membership.

RELATED: New Executive Director hired for Hogan Family YMCA in Madison