WHY IS THE YMCA NON-PROFIT?
The YMCA is a 501(C) 3 nonprofit organization as defined by the IRS. The YMCA must maintain our charitable status yearly by showing that we give a significant amount of support to the community. The YMCA does this primarily through our YMCA Scholarship Program. The YMCA adheres to a strict philosophy that states that “anyone that cannot afford to pay the full price of a YMCA service will be granted a partial waiver for that service upon qualification”. What does this actually mean? In 2009 the branches of the River Valley Regional YMCA (combined) granted over $500,000 to families, children, seniors, and teens that would not have been able to be a part of the YMCA without assistance. A large part of this Y-scholarship assistance was granted for child care services.
WHAT DOES JOINING THE YMCA MEAN?
When you join the YMCA you are joining a world-wide movement that has been established here locally to better our community. You will be part of a social organization that is trying to make our community a better place to live.
If you are joining to get or stay in shape, know that your membership dollars are going to support ALL of what the YMCA does. Your monthly fees and joiner fee are not going to shareholders. They are not going to some owner that lives out of state. Your membership fees are supporting a local charitable organization that makes our community better everyday. The YMCA is an organization that constantly changes to meet the needs of the community. Without members we simply could not exist.
Joining the YMCA also will offer you the opportunity to GET INVOLVED DIRECTLY in how our community changes over time. If you a are civic minded individual, you can support the YMCA further by joining a YMCA committee (meets once a month), volunteer to help with our annual campaign (each year in March), volunteer to help with a program that interests you, make a donation to the Annual Campaign (once a year we do a direct solicitation campaign to raise money to cover the costs for Y-scholarships), etc.
If you chose not to be involved further, you should still feel good about your membership in the YMCA. Your membership helps us tremendously by helping to fund the work we do each day to fulfill our Mission.
WHAT IS THE YMCA?
The YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) is a nonprofit, community service located in various parts of the world. It is one of the largest community service organizations in the U.S. and serves people of all ages, religions, races, and backgrounds. The organization was founded in London, England in 1844.
The YMCA was initially created to alleviate the terrible social conditions found in large cities toward the conclusion of the Industrial Revolution. Many young men at that time traveled to large cities like London in order to find work on the railroads and in factories. They often worked ten to 12 hours, six days a week. The men usually lived on the premises of their workplaces, sleeping in crowded rooms above the factory or shop. The city streets were hotbeds of crime and unsavory characters, so sleeping at the workplace was one of the safest places for a young worker.
George Williams, a London worker in a draper's shop, organized the first YMCA along with several of his co-workers. The club involved Bible study and prayer in order to offer a wholesome alternative to life on the streets. In 1851, 24 locations existed in England, boasting 2,700 members. That same year, the organization crossed the ocean to become established in North America.
In 1851, a YMCA was founded in Boston. The organization continued to grow in popularity, and a center for African-Americans was established in 1853 in Washington, DC. This particular facility was founded by Anthony Bowen, a freed slave. Since those early days, the YMCA has come a long way but the Mission remains the same.
The Mission of the YMCA is: “To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all”.
Today's YMCAs provide countless activities and services for people of all races, backgrounds, and religions. YMCAs in the U.S. offer low-cost child care services, job training, drug abuse prevention classes, swimming lessons, and fitness programs for adults and children. People have the option of taking a or aerobics class or working out in the YMCA's fitness center.
Sports lovers can even join one of the Y's organized sports teams. Some people may not know that the sports of volleyball and racquetball were both invented at the YMCA. Volleyball was invented in 1895 and racquetball was born in 1950.
Sports aren't the only classes provided by the organization. It even offers arts programs that teach people how to dance, write, paint, sing, or act. There are even special classes for senior citizens.
Our organization strives to contribute to the well-being of society by providing programs that contribute to healthy families and communities. The organization can be found in Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, North America, Europe, and the Caribbean. Each community’s YMCA determines local needs and develops programs that assist their own individual communities.
WHO “OWNS” THE YMCA?
The YMCA is not “owned” by anyone. It is a nonprofit social service organization that is run by hired staff, who work with a volunteer Board of Directors that are elected from the ranks of the Branch’s membership. This is done each year at the YMCA’s Annual Meeting. All members are invited and encouraged to attend. In reality, all YMCA members, program participants, volunteers and donors really “own” the YMCA.