Meet Jill Edelblute — An Advocate for YMCAs Statewide

December 12, 2018

 

When Jill Edelblute heard the YMCA of Metro Chicago needed a state expert, she went after the position “full-force.” Eleven years later, as our Senior Director of Government Relations, she’s still just as passionate about the Y’s mission. "

Jill Edelblute, the YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Senior Director of Government Relations has been a key asset for the YMCA for over 11 years. She recalls what initially brought her to the Y. “I've always wanted to work for a nonprofit that services children, youth and families,” shares Jill. “I took my mom to the Y a year or two after I had started and she asked, ‘How did you find a place that does everything that you like to do?’”

Jill describes her position as unique to the Y. Her work gives her the opportunity to work with a variety of different people in the organization. “My position mainly consists of policy, advocacy, and working with legislators from all branches of government.” A great portion of her summers is spent “trying to get legislators to come to the Y so they see firsthand what it is we do.” Through her many years at the Y, Jill has served as a prominent voice, advocating for programs and federal funding sources that impact the numerous afterschool and childcare services offered at YMCA of Metro Chicago centers and partner sites.

Her heavy involvement in advocacy and public policy issues go beyond impacting just the YMCA of Metro Chicago. Jill serves as the Public Policy Chair of the ACT Now Coalition, which focuses specifically on afterschool issues.

When Jill isn’t meeting with legislators or pushing for better public policy, she enjoys heading up north to rural Erin, Wisconsin where she spent her childhood. “I grew up by the lake so I didn't go to camp, camp was the backyard,” says Jill. “I’m a little spoiled that way because I get the city and the country life.”

Throughout her years of experience at the Y and the impactful mentors she’s had, Jill has learned the importance of “speaking up for what you believe in” and the value of listening. “You can learn a lot about other people, where they're coming from when you listen.