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LAST UPDATED: November 22nd, 2022

The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was founded in 1844 by George Williams in London. The organization began with the focus of putting Christian principles into practice to improve the body, mind, and spirit. YMCA has chapters across the United States and the globe, with the American headquarters located in Chicago, Illinois, and the global headquarters located in Geneva, Switzerland. Today, the mission of the YMCA is divided into its program of creating and supporting social responsibility, strengthening the youth, and educating and supporting the public with healthy living habits.


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The Good

  • Total income
  • Fundraising expenses
  • Program percentage
  • Donor communication
  • Awards

Total Income

YMCA's annual income has been growing steadily over the past several years. Factors that may be contributing to this revenue growth include increasing membership levels and program dues for the organization's recreation centers. YMCA is unique in that much of its income is derived from dues paid to the recreation centers around the country, which are then used to operate these facilities. Over the past few years, YMCA has reported the following incomes:
  • 2015: $155,874,000
  • 2014: $119,501,000
  • 2013: $111,577,000
  • 2012: $97,130,000

Fundraising Expenses

YMCA spent $2,498,000 on fundraising activities in 2015. The organization allows each local branch to employ different fundraising activities based upon its individual needs and methods that work well in its geographic region. Some commonly-used fundraisers by YMCA chapters in the United States include silent auctions, comedy nights, banquets, and conferences.

Program Percentage

A charitable organization dedicating over 80 percent if its revenue to program delivery is generally considered to be effectively managing its funds. In 2015, YMCA allocated 81.4 percent of its income to program delivery.

Donor Communication

Donors receive regular updates on YMCA programs via postal mail and email newsletters. However, the exact method for which YMCA communicates with members depends on the individual branch.


YMCA local chapters award members of the local communities in which they are located. These awards vary based on area. In addition, the entire YMCA organization was recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services for its work in promoting healthy lifestyles in communities across the United States.

The Bad

  • Administrative expenses
  • Accessible financial information
  • Negative press

Administrative Expenses

YMCA reported administrative expenses of $10,916,000 in 2015, which is equivalent of about 7 percent of the total income of the organization. The executive salaries for YMCA's national headquarters are as follows:
  • $819,512: Kevin Washington, President and CEO
  • $258,768: Nancy L Owens, Sr. VP and CFO
  • $323,729: Angela Williams, Executive Vice President and Chief Administration Officer
  • $389,891: Kent D. Washington, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer
  • $323,729: Kate Markin, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy/Advancement Officer
  • $291,036: Robert Neal Denton, Senior Vice President and Chief Government Affairs Officer
  • $258,106: Terri Radcliff, Vice President - Training & Leadership Development
  • $248,000: Jacqueline E. Gordon, Senior Vice President - Chief Human Resources Officer
  • $181,617: Neil J. Nicoll, President Emeritus
On average, salaries for both national and local YMCA executives have been higher than those of comparable nonprofit organizations. Historically, Americans do not like to support charities whose top executives are drawing large salaries.

Accessible Financial Information

YMCA publishes its annual statements and IRS Form 990s from 2013 to 2015 on it website. While publishing these forms does demonstrate transparency, the forms are in an obscure location on the site and are not easy to find.

Negative Press

YMCA has received negative press for the following: Multiple Reports of Embezzlements Embezzlement of various amounts has been reported at local YMCA chapters in a number of instances. This is not necessarily indicative of the organization as a whole, but leaves some question about hiring and monitoring of funds inside the organization. Syracuse NCAA Scandal The NCAA conducted an intense investigation into allegations that Syracuse University had committed several infractions, including student athlete ineligibility, academic cheating, payment of student athletes, gifts to athletic department staff, and misreporting of academic credit. Some of these infractions involved Jeff Cornish, former sports director of Tri-Valley YMCA in Oneida, New York. Mr. Cornish was reported to have given free YMCA memberships to athletic staff at Syracuse University. He also opened a checking account with the tax ID number given to the YMCA by the IRS and illegally moved funds from the YMCA into this account. Some of the money in this account was used to pay student athletes $8,000 during their internship for academic credit during a period of fourteen months. Academic records for student athlete internships were falsified and college credit was given for these falsified records. Additionally, rent subsidization was given to one member of the athletic department by the YMCA and staff members from the university were paid to volunteer at a basketball camp hosted by the Tri-City YMCA in Oneida. Malden YMCA Child Sexual Assault Cover-Up There are allegations that the Malden Police Department obstructed an investigation of a 15-year-old employee of the Malden YMCA for sexually molesting a six-year-old girl. Captain John Amirault, a veteran police officer who had 31 years in the department, filed suit against the Malden Police Department and stated that individuals inside the department intentionally blocked electronic tapings of the criminal investigation team's questioning of the suspect as a political and personal favor. Captain Amirault filed the lawsuit in an effort to expose the supposed corruption in the department, which included allegations that the police chief, Kevin Molis, suppressed information as a favor to his brother, Frank Molis, who was an employee of the Malden YMCA and hired and supervised the suspect.

The Bottom Line

YMCA has been growing in terms of revenue over the past several years. The organization utilizes multiple fundraising techniques and has a respectable program percentage. However, the YMCA executives receive relatively high salaries and the organization has been involved in a number of controversies in the past.
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G.J. Boise, ID

I used to work with mentally and physically handicap adults. Once a week a week we would take some of the higher functioning ones to swim at the YMCA. They really looked forward to the days they got to go. The staff always seemed happy to see are group when we came. That was always a big plus because some people could be very disrespectful to them. Thank you for your services.

1 year ago

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Audrey Mitchell Managua, MN

My grandmother has worked at the YMCA and all the classes that are provided are great ways for the community to get out and exercise. The money that is donated goes to great us and the buildings are well-kept.

4 years ago


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Makayla Manus Gulfport, MS

The people at the YMCA are so wonderful. The customer service is great, and they offer so many things.

4 years ago