New YMCA Center marks new era for staff, families and communities across Metro Chicago

March 30, 2016

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to speak at April 5 ribbon-cutting ceremony

Chicago, IL — The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago will celebrate the opening of the new YMCA Center, a 60,000 square-foot-facility where research meets practice, on Tuesday, April 5, at 1030 W. Van Buren Street in Chicago's bustling West Loop neighborhood. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will mark the culmination of two years of planning and construction of a state-of-the-art facility that provides much more than the nonprofit’s new headquarters. The YMCA Center will serve as a living laboratory of innovation and growth that will advance the Y’s work in academic readiness, character development, violence prevention, and fitness and healthy living for children, youth, adults and families.

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will serve as keynote speaker. Duncan recently joined the Emerson Collective as a managing partner, leading initiatives to support youth who are not in school, not employed and may have criminal records. Strengthening the quality and impact of programs for children and teens are a major focus in the new YMCA Center.

“The YMCA Center provides the optimal forum to convene thought partners across the region and mobilize evidence-based practices that will have a life-changing effect on the children, teens and families we serve,” says Richard Malone, president and CEO. “Through innovative new spaces, programs and services, the YMCA of Metro Chicago is laying the groundwork to improve outcomes and close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that are barriers for too many in our communities.”

The new YMCA Center has the following features:

"The YMCA Center feels like a perfect place for the YMCA teen program. It has a happy, positive atmosphere, and I believe it will be successful," says Jake Rink, a member of the Y’s Teen Council and the Leaning Tower YMCA swim team.

A significant leadership gift from the Crown family provided critical funding to jumpstart this project. The Learning Institute, where the ribbon cutting will take place, was made possible by lead funding from BMO Harris Bank. Amy Carbone and Michael DiMedio, longtime members of the YMCA Board of Managers, are co-chairing the capital campaign. Fundraising continues for the center and its mission-driven programming, and donors have the opportunity to make a leadership gift by naming specific spaces in the YMCA Center.

“BMO Harris believes in supporting local communities and organizations that are making a positive impact in the community, and this YMCA project does just that,” said Peter McNitt, Vice Chair, BMO Harris Bank, and chairman of the YMCA’s Board of Managers. “This center aligns with the YMCA’s forward-looking vision to have a transformational learning space that offers endless possibilities to staff, children, local families and the entire community. We are pleased to do our part to make this possible, and we look forward to seeing the center’s progress and the impact it has on the local community.”

At the opening celebration, Jamal McPherson, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, will share his experience as a mentor in the Y’s Urban Warriors program, a youth violence prevention program that pairs post-9/11 veterans with opportunity youth. Other speakers will include Richard Malone, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metro Chicago and Peter McNitt, vice chair of BMO Harris Bank, and chairman of the YMCA’s Board of Managers. McNitt’s leadership with fellow YMCA board member and former board chair Steve Crown helped guide the development of the YMCA Center.

The architecture and master planning were led by Partners by Design. Skender Construction LLC served as the general contractor, and rmc International was the YMCA's project manager. The total project cost was $22.5 million.