YMCA of the USA officials said while more Y's open in a year than close - which has been the case for decades - there are a small percentage of facilities that have had to address serious fiscal challenges.
The West End YMCA's Ontario-Montclair branch was the latest to do so. The long-time fixture in downtown Ontario closed its doors Friday because of sluggish finances and dwindling memberships.
The closure of the branch at 215 W. C St. came a little more than a month after it was announced that the YMCA of Riverside City and County would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
"It's difficult to (operate) if the numbers are not there. Members and participants drive the Y and we can't run the organization without them," YMCA of the USA spokesman Brad McDermott said.
"Certainly, overall, the Y is a healthy organization nationwide, but ... the Y has not been immune and won't be immune to the effects of the economic downturn.
"In communities that may be facing financial challenges, you may find that the Y is too, because the Y is really a reflection of its community."
Nationally, the Chicago-based nonprofit, which has a facility in more than 10,000 communities, has grown from 20.7 million memberships in 2008 to 21.1 million in 2011.
But revenue figures for the YMCA of USA went from $93.
Expenses rose from $81.2 million in 2006 to $90.3 million in 2010.
Locally, the Ontario-Montclair YMCA - under the umbrella of the West End YMCA - saw individual memberships drop from 744 in 2009 to 575 in 2012.
West End YMCAs have seen declines in revenue and an increase in expenses from 2009 to 2011, according to income tax forms posted at www.guidestar.org, which collects information about nonprofit groups. West End YMCA has branches that serve Chino, Chino Hills, Ontario, Montclair, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana.
Despite the notable struggles in Ontario and Riverside, unit memberships or family membership numbers have increased at many YMCAs in the Inland Empire.
For example, family memberships at the YMCA of the East Valley - which has locations in Redlands, San Bernardino and Highland - went from 3,958 in 2010 to 4,482 in 2012.
The Scheu Family YMCA of Upland, which is completing its second full year operating at its new building at 1150 E. Foothill Blvd., has nearly 1,000 membership units representing more than 2,000 members.
"For all nonprofits in a difficult economic environment, it's a challenge to keep those gifts coming in. People are saying, `Hey, I love to give you money, but I have to help my son who is now out of a job,"' said Rusty Leonard, founder/CEO of MinistryWatch.com.
"The base challenge is you're limited now. You can't grow, you can't do those improvement projects to the Y - put in a new gym or upgrade the equipment - you can't afford to do that and you're not sure when you're going to. So you're seeing the fiscal plant wear down, and their employees are probably disappointed they're not getting increases to keep up with the cost of living. It's like that because everything is squeezed."
The president of the Kiwanis Club of Riverside, Robin Treen, said he learned from a Riverside YMCA board member that the club would have to find a new home to host its meetings due to the closure of the branch at 4020 Jefferson St.
"I'm telling you with my experience with these people, they did not know they were going to close down the Y," Treen said.
"They still thought they were going to be able to have the Y open in Chapter 11 bankruptcy and going forward and making money and paying off their bills."
Reach Canan via email, call her at 909-987-6397 ext. 425, or find her on Twitter @ChinoValleyNow.