Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"To each his own..."

When the YWCA board and management announced their decision to close down the building on Quarrier Street and abandon their fitness program in favor of programs that were more in line with their mission, howls of protest came up from many sectors of the city's population. Rev. James Lewis, perennial protester he, led a disparate group of disgruntled citizens to form an organization that would scream bloody murder until the YWCA board reversed their decision to sell the bulding, which they did.

Today a meeting will be held to formally launch the fundraising campaign that will raise the $1 million or so that is needed to keep the building open. See the Gazette's story here. It should be noted that the Gazette was influential in assisting Lewis' group in getting a foothold and that its reporting has definitely shown a bias against Y management on this subject.

Chuck Avampato, head of the most influential and richest funder of comunity projects in town, the Clay Foundation, is quoted in the article as saying "“I think it’s a big waste of time and money,” he said. “To me it’s spending an enormous amount of money on something that’s not program related. But to each their own."

He's exactly right. It is a huge waste of money. The building, while a landmark in downtown Charleston, is decrepit and completely unsuited for the YWCA as it exists today. The Y staff and board made a good business decision when it decided to sell the building. It would direct more money to the Y's programs and provide more people with vital serices it provides. But this decision was over ruled by the desire to keep an old building from the wrecking ball. To each his own.

A few years ago, just after the Multi-Cap fiasco came to a head, The Gazette railed against non-profits who owned property that was ill-suited for the programs they ran. They questioned the need for non-profits to own large buildings whose upkeep drained resources from programs. Tunes change, I guess. It's their paper, they can say what they want. To each his own.

So the YWCA will be raising a million and the library is already underway with raising its $30 million, this on the heels of the Clay Center's 10 year anniversary of sucking the community dry of every dollar it can get every year. Meanwhile non-profits who are trying to raise money in the community to address basic human needs are turned away because donors are tapped out, or have been convinced that buildings are worth more than people. To each his own.

At least the hungry, sick, hurting and homeless can have some nice buildings to look at.

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