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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