But area members probably won’t notice any changes for the time being, except where programs can be improved, one official said.

The YMCA of Michiana and the YMCA of Southwest Michigan announced a deal effective Monday to share a chief executive officer.

 

Mark Weber, CEO of the YMCA of Southwest Michigan, is now also serving as the interim CEO of the YMCA of Michiana. He replaces Dan Asleson, who announced at the beginning of the year his intention to resign.

The YMCA of Michiana serves more than 25,000 people in Michiana through its Riverview facility at 1201 Northside Blvd., its Edison Lakes facility in Mishawaka and Camp Eberhart in Three Rivers, Mich. The YMCA of Southwest Michigan includes facilities in Niles and Benton Harbor and served 13,500 members in 2017.

Bill Cerney, board chairman for the YMCA of Michiana, said in a news release that the board decided it was in the Y’s “best interest” to explore collaborating with the YMCA group just over the state line rather than start a search for a separate CEO.

The national YMCA encourages Ys to consider mergers when possible, according to Jeff Pisarsky, senior director of marketing for the YMCA of Michiana

Weber already has overseen the merger of two YMCAs. In January 2017, the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA merged with the Niles-Buchanan YMCA, where he was CEO. Weber had become the interim CEO for the Benton Harbor Y in June 2016 after its longtime CEO retired. The new combined group was named the YMCA of Southwest Michigan.

Weber “has done a great job leading their organization,” Cerney said.

Weber, who has been with the Y since 2012, said in a statement he feels “confident” that Y members and communities will benefit from the two YMCA groups working together.

“Each organization will be able to focus on its unique strengths and use its talents and expertise to increase the impact of both Ys," Weber said.

Pisarsky said one goal of the management agreement is to find ways "to do more for the community" with programs and services for members.

 

Members already enjoy access to other facilities. A reciprocal agreement between the nonprofits for member access won’t change, Pisarsky said, and was essentially superseded by a national YMCA initiative last fall to allow a member of any Y to use another Y for free.

Behind the scenes, the deal should help streamline administrative and fundraising efforts, he said. Current capital campaigns for the Niles YMCA and YMCA Camp Eberhart won’t be affected by the management deal.

Weber said both boards want the YMCAs to collaborate on grant writing to generate money to help pay for youth programs.

The six-month arrangement announced Monday will give the boards of each nonprofit a chance to evaluate its effectiveness, Pisarsky said.

A decision on whether to pursue a merger or a separate CEO search could come sooner than that, he said.

Should the groups opt to merge, changes could be seen in staffing, boards, programs and other aspects of the organizations, he said.