The boards of directors of the YMCA of the Brandywine Valley, West Chester, PA, and the YMCA of the Upper Main Line, Berwyn, PA, have voted to unite and form a new regional Y association named the YMCA of Greater Brandywine. A transition team from both organizations will begin integrating functions immediately, and the effective date of the merger will be Jan. 1, 2015, according to a press release from the Ys.

"Over the past year, the YMCA of the Brandywine Valley and the YMCA of the Upper Main Line have been exploring ways to increase our impact on the people and communities we serve in Chester County," said Denise L. Day, who serves as president and CEO for both associations. "Uniting our two associations will increase opportunities to expand and strengthen Y programs and services, particularly in the areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility."

The new association will be governed by a board of directors comprised of current board members from both associations and six new members.

"Both Boards entered this process with the goal of serving even more children and families in Chester County and furthering the mission of the Y," said Joe Viscuso, board chair for the YMCA of the Brandywine Valley. "We started our collaboration by sharing resources and services through a shared services agreement with the YMCA of the Upper Main Line YMCA in October. Now, as the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, we will have a larger presence in the community and increased resources to reach even more children, teens, adults and families."

Rip Tilden, chair of the YMCA of the Upper Main Line Board, thanked members of the merger exploration committee for their work in bringing the two associations together. "We are on the verge of a remarkable new period in the life of our YMCA, which will enable us to serve our members effectively, with enthusiasm and pride, for many years to come."

The YMCA of Greater Brandywine will serve more than 80,000 members at nine locations in Pennsylvania. Branches involved in the merger are: Brandywine Y, Coatesville; Jennersville Y, West Grove; Kennett Area Y, Kennett Square; Lionville Community Y, Exton; Octorara Program Center, Atglen; Oscar Lasko Youth Program Center, West Chester; Upper Main Line Y, Berwyn; West Chester Area Y, West Chester and the Y at Great Valley, Malvern.

Combined, the YMCA of the Brandywine Valley and the YMCA of the Upper Main line provided more than $3 million in financial assistance last year through the Y's financial assistance programs, which helps ensure that no one is turned away from Y programs or services based on their inability to pay.

"Building on the strengths of our two associations, I am confident that we can provide our members with the highest-quality Y experience and make a lasting, positive impact in our community," Day said.