The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) announced today that despite a tough economic year, the Public Policy Council pledged $950,000 in IHRSA’s 2009 fiscal year, which ended June 30, to its newly named Industry Defense Fund. Recently celebrating its 10th anniversary, The Public Policy Council (formerly the ILC – Industry Leadership Council) was established by concerned club operators to ensure that the fitness industry would have the financial resources necessary to protect itself against unwarranted regulation and taxation, while positioning the industry at the forefront of health promotion and wellness policy.

“In this economy, for clubs and IHRSA alike, we must maximize every dollar to grow, protect, and promote the industry,” says Meredith Poppler, IHRSA’s VP of industry growth. “This is not just about the largest clubs in the industry pledging their support. It is about every club contributing what they can.”

IHRSA’s successes benefitting the industry at large are owed greatly to the members of the Public Policy Council who have collectively contributed millions of dollars over the past ten years. The 54 members of the Public Policy Council for IHRSA’s Fiscal Year 2009 (ended June 30) pledged to contribute $950,000 much-needed dollars. Those resources are helping to promote legislation that positively impacts the bottom lines of thousands of clubs across the country – IHRSA’s eighteen legislative wins and zero losses in 2009 on the state level are a direct result of the industry’s financial support. Additionally, victories for ongoing issues in 2009 rely heavily on continued contributions to the Fund.

During these particularly challenging economic times, forty-seven states are currently facing budget deficits and taxing services such as health clubs can be an attractive option for cash-strapped states. At the state level, IHRSA works to protect the industry from harmful business regulations, including proposals to tax health club membership dues, bills restricting or prohibiting automatic renewals, bills mandating burdensome licensure requirements for personal trainers, and bills mandating AEDs in health clubs without adequate liability protection.

Contributions to the Industry Defense Fund are also used to support legislation that grows the industry by increasing the number of people exercising health clubs. In Washington, DC, this means that IHRSA can actively seek passage of legislation that creates incentives for Americans to exercise, such as the Workforce Health Improvement Program Act and the Personal Health Investment Today Act. Dollars from the Industry Defense Fund are used to run an IHRSA Washington office, build a nationwide grassroots network and host the annual IHRSA-member advocacy day on Capitol Hill.

IHRSA recognizes the following industry leaders with deep gratitude for their contributions to the Industry Defense Fund this past fiscal year:

Titanium Contributors: Over $60,000
Anytime Fitness Corporate
Curves Intl Franchise Office
L.A. Fitness International

Gold Contributors: $15,000 to $30,000
Atlantic Coast Athletic Clubs
The Atlantic Club, Inc.
Fitness Formula Clubs
In-Shape Health Clubs
The Wellbridge Company
Western Athletic Clubs

Silver Contributors: $5,000 to $14,999
The Alaska Clubs
Club One, Inc.
Dedham Health & Athletic Club
East Bank Club
The Elite Fitness and Racquet Clubs
Gainesville Health & Fitness
Genesis Health Club
Gold's Gym International, LLC
Health Fitness Corporation
The Houstonian Club
Leisure Sports, Inc.
Lifestyle Family Fitness
The MAC
Millennium Partners Sports
MVP Sports Clubs
Rice Fitness Centers
Saw Mill Sports Management
T.W. Holdings, Inc.
Wisconsin Athletic Club, Inc.

Bronze Contributors: $2,000 to $4,999
The Belmont Athletic Club
Brick Bodies Fitness Services
Cedardale Health & Fitness
The Claremont Club
ClubCorp, Inc.
Club Fit Jefferson Valley
The Columbia Association
DMB Sports Clubs
GGFA
Gold's Gym Alliance of New England
Gold’s Gyms Mid-Atlantic Alliance
Hoffman Insurance Services
Livermore Valley Tennis
Michigan Athletic Club
Oxford Athletic Club
Plus One Health Management
Rochester Athletic Club
The RUSH Fitness Complex

Friends: Less than $2,000
BodyBusiness Health Club & Spa
Club Insider News
Fitness Management Systems
Gold's Gyms By Galiani
Gold’s Gyms of Wenatchee
National Academy of Sports Medicine
Oakland Hills Tennis Club
PRO Sports Club

IHRSA is now enrolling contributors for the Public Policy Council class of FY’10. As the nation collectively emerges from the recession, IHRSA is optimistic that the class of ‘10 will surpass ‘09 in pledge dollars. To pledge, please visit ihrsa.org/pledge or contact Meredith Poppler, mpoppler@ihrsa.org or 800.228.4772, ext.129.

IHRSA is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. The association’s membership includes more than 9,750 clubs in 78 countries, along with more than 740 industry suppliers. IHRSA is committed to taking a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical to America's health and the battle against obesity and disease. IHRSA supports effective national initiatives to promote more active lifestyles for all Americans and is working to pass laws that will help affect societal changes toward a more fit America.

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