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For the last 12 months, Mike Koutnik, a real estate associate at FOS, and I have been honored to be assisting the Milwaukee YMCA in a myriad of real estate issues.

The Milwaukee YMCA has been a great force for good in our community for over 150 years. The lives that organization has affected, for the better, are countless. Milwaukee is so much better as a result.

Unfortunately, the Y’s expansion efforts ran squarely into our recent bad economy. The result was a bankruptcy this spring.

The YMCA emerged from bankruptcy at the end of January, 2015, with a cleaned up balance sheet, a leaner structure, and a new mission focusing on the urban Milwaukee community.

Our role was to represent the YMCA in the disposition of certain of its real estate properties.

We were all very pleased that it was successful in selling one location to one of the most respected charter schools in the area, and four other locations to suburban Ys, which will continue those operations.

As part of that representation, we worked very closely with Julie Tolan, the YMCA’s President, and Jack Takerian, its Senior Vice President in Charge of Operations.

Mike and I couldn’t help being impressed by the intelligence, expertise, dedication and good cheer the senior YMCA management brought to a difficult situation.

Through their efforts, they have preserved one of the great Milwaukee institutions, and put it on solid footing to influence many more generations of young Milwaukeeans. It was a great result.

There are any number of worthwhile charitable organizations in Milwaukee, doing great work for our community.

However, I would ask you to take a look at the new Milwaukee Y. It could use help now as it revamps and pursues its new mission, which will benefit us all for years to come.