The Y. So Much More. YMCA of Metro Chicago 2014 Annual Report

We're more than a gym.
We're a cause.

The Y helps children, adults and families reach their goals and contribute to making their neighborhoods stronger.

We're a community of members, donors, staff, volunteers, families and friends who come together to create positive and lasting social change.

Thanks to you, the Y accomplishes so much more...








Dear Friends:

Thanks to the support of our many partners, the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago has made tremendous strides towards improving the health and well-being of the communities we serve.

As one of the largest and most-established nonprofits in Chicago, we aim to raise the bar every year and provide a supportive environment that engages and empowers individuals of all ages to achieve their goals.

In 2014, we launched innovative violence prevention programs to make our neighborhoods safer and continued to make capital investments in our centers to meet the changing needs of a diverse population. Also, our evidence-based educational programs are closing the achievement gap and boosting student outcomes. And our fitness, health and wellness programs are inspiring people to make better choices and live more active and healthier lives.

We are able to accomplish all that we do because of the many dedicated individuals, corporations and foundations that are the backbone of our organization. In this report, you'll meet some of the faces of our YMCA family and read about how your support makes a difference.

Thank you for believing in our mission and bringing it to life every day.


Peter B. McNitt
Chair, Board of Managers
  Richard H. Malone
President and CEO









Transforming Lives: Birth to Career

For more than 155 years, the YMCA of Metro Chicago has been committed to serving the changing and growing needs of our communities. The Y is focused on meeting children and adults at every stage in their lives, from birth to career?and beyond.

Today, the Y is creating cohesive ways to keep families engaged along the birth-to-career continuum. That may mean enrolling a child who is currently attending an early learning program into an after school program once they are in kindergarten; or an after school participant into a weekend swimming class; or an after school student into a college readiness program.

Engaging entire families year after year as each family member grows promotes the Y's mission anchors of violence prevention, academic readiness, character development, and fitness and healthy living.

"The YMCA has programs that speak to each of these anchors in every stage of development," says Richard Malone, President and CEO.

The Y invests in our teachers and trains them to understand how the brain develops from infancy to adulthood. This, coupled with evidence-based teaching strategies, allows the Y to have greater impact across all programs. For instance, research showing that simple tactics such as asking more open-ended questions or greeting a child by name can significantly enhance critical thinking skills and learning, regardless if it takes place inside a classroom or in the pool.

To make sure the Y's programs are effective, the Learning and Evaluation department tracks the educational and social emotional growth of children and their families starting at whatever point they enter the organization. Some benchmark questions include: Do Y preschoolers have the social, emotional and cognitive skills necessary for kindergarten? Do Y school-age children have experiential learning opportunities that enhance what they are learning at school? Do Y teens find the inspiration and know-how to pursue their college and career dreams?



"We take opportunities every day to ensure that the Y provides high-quality learning environments with engaging staff. Our measurement activities focus on what the research tells us has the most impact on children's lives," says Christina Krasov, Vice President of Performance Improvement.

"I've seen a huge difference in my children since they started the early childhood programs two years ago," says Monika Krawczyk. Her daughter Zuzanna, 4, attends full-day preschool at the Buehler YMCA, while Julia, 7, is enrolled in its after school program. "They have grown emotionally, socially and academically. The YMCA has become our second home."

Monika's family benefits from the Illinois Department of Human Services' Child Care Assistance Program, which provides low-income, working families with access to quality, affordable early childhood education. Beyond the classroom, the Y serves as a hub to connect families to other necessary services. Field trips take youth to explore a new part of the city. Computer classes give kids access to technology they may not have at home. Each family in our early learning programs is assigned to a family service worker. A conversation between them might reveal that a family needs help with a skill, such as learning how to cook healthy meals, or is looking for age-appropriate activities for their 3-year-old.

Staff members are always looking for opportunities for members and program participants to grow, whether that's learning a new skill, working with a mentor or completing a college application.

"Interactions with staff can help identify a child who has fallen through the cracks, isn't challenged or has never been told he or she has potential," says DaWana Williamson, Senior Vice President of Youth Development. "They just need a little information and a little direction, and we can get them on the right track."









Healthy Beginnings: Foundation for Success

Pregnancy changed everything for Cenaca Freeman. She was 21 years old and a working college student. She knew life as a single mother would mean priorities would have to change and college may have to wait.

She had so many questions: Could she raise a baby alone? Should she choose a midwife or a doctor? Why were her emotions all over the map? Could she get help with food and medical care?

A friend told Cenaca about the YMCA's West Side Healthy Beginnings, a program that has provided home visitation support services free of charge to hundreds of teens and first-time parents on Chicago?s Near West Side. She met with Vanessa Jenkins-Hall, who has supported families at the Y for more than 20 years.

"Vanessa was like a second mother to me," Cenaca says. "She helped me with everything." Vanessa assisted Cenaca beyond the births of her sons Marquis, now 6, and Dajuan, 4. She also helped her find sources for financial aid and develop strategies to save money.

Before entering the program, Cenaca thought of the Y as a place where kids and adults can exercise and have fun. Now she knows firsthand that the Y offers much more and is there to help families throughout a lifetime.

Cenaca, now 27, is back in school and on the path towards finishing her associate degree in early childhood development. She plans to become a child psychologist or social worker and help children with behavior problems get the support they need. "Cenaca is a go-getter," says Vanessa. "She just needed a little direction."

"Vanessa helped me feel like more than just a single mom," says Cenaca. "Because of her, I believe anything is possible."

West Side Healthy Beginnings also provides doula services free of charge with the support of the Ounce of Prevention Fund. Doulas are trained labor coaches who provide continuous physical, emotional and informational support to mothers before, during and after childbirth. These mothers typically have shorter labors, fewer complications and reduced percentages of caesarean delivery.









Urban Warriors: Breaking The Cycle of Violence

Fifteen-year-old Malek was shooting baskets at the South Chicago YMCA when Eddie Bocanegra, Co-Executive Director of YMCA of Metro Chicago's Youth Safety and Violence Prevention initiative (YSVP), asked him: "Want to help change the world?"

It was a tempting offer for a young man whose world needed changing. Eddie introduced Malek to Urban Warriors, a pilot mentoring program that pairs teens growing up in dangerous neighborhoods with military veterans, most of whom have experienced the psychological effects of war. Together they share stories, learn to deal with difficult emotions and heal.

All of the Y's violence prevention programs are united by one common insight?Healing is Prevention. Urban Warriors gets to the heart of the Y's approach, mobilizing what psychiatrist

Dr. Bruce Perry has called the fundamental power of rhythm and relationships to reduce the cycle of harm. The program, made up of 16-week sessions, started at the YSVP headquarters in Pilsen and has expanded to South Chicago YMCA.

Last year, seven veterans mentored 30 youth participants to help process the pain and struggle of past traumatic experiences and provided them with coping tools and viable alternatives to participating in gang activity. Teens and veterans meet once a week to participate in peace circles, sports events or cultural outings. The curriculum was developed with input from veterans, community-based organizations and universities, and the sessions are facilitated by Y staff.

YSVP outreach worker Diane Ponce's eyes were opened after leading an exercise in which youth were asked to compliment the person standing next to them. Seeing them struggle made her realize that sharing a positive word can be difficult when children grow up surrounded by negativity.

Urban Warriors continues the Y's decades-long commitment to reaching young people with the highest risk of both violent victimization and the perpetration of violent acts and providing them with the tools and support they need to be positive leaders in their communities. In the past two years, YSVP has served more than 500 youth and more than 100 parents in six of Chicago's most violent communities.

Malek says the message they leave with after every Saturday morning session is an important one: "I've got your back, and you've got mine."





A Refuge from Violence

When you are the second-youngest of seven kids, you grow up with plenty of teachers. But the teachers that 12-year-old Justen Wallace has met through the South Chicago YMCA have shown him a path different from the one chosen by many kids from his old neighborhood?one of the most dangerous in Chicago. Over the past year, South Chicago experienced over 500 violent crimes and 2,300 property and quality of life crimes. The poverty and unemployment rates in the community surpass the Chicago citywide averages.

Will Pettis was among the first Y staff to meet Justen four years ago. He told Justen about Urban Warriors, a pilot program that pairs youth who live amid gang violence with military veterans recovering from their own exposure to violence. The veterans help them learn how to safely process traumatic experiences. No topic is off-limits?from bullying to thoughts of suicide. "We learned that we experience most of the things the vets experienced during war," Justen says.

Another thing he learned from the veterans is that sometimes soldiers freeze in the field because of fear. Then, a buddy comes to pull them out of harm's way. Justen knows that fear. Escaping it leads him to spend almost every day at the Y in programs and playing the sport he loves: basketball. He wishes more of his friends would do the same.

"I tell my friends they should come and play inside instead of outside so they don't have to worry about whether someone's going to start shooting," he says.

At the Y, Justen participated in "Story Squad," which is offered in conjunction with the University of Chicago. In this program, youth share insights into growing up in their neighborhoods through audio and video stories that they learn to edit and compose.

Dennis, Justen's father, who is raising seven kids alone, says Justen's involvement with the Y takes one more worry away knowing his son is with responsible adults when he's at work. Dennis tries to remain positive around his kids and avoid focusing on the violence that surrounds them. He's grateful for programs like Urban Warriors where counselors are trained to talk through those complex feelings.

Justen hopes to go to college, and his ultimate dream is playing for the NBA. Will has heard that dream before, and while he encourages youth to pursue their dreams, he also pushes them to make plans for an education and to consider solid career goals. Will believes Justen's intelligence, wit and sheer determination will get him there. He says, "Justen's been through a lot. He might live in it, but he's not of it."









Lifting Barriers to Success

Recognizing potential problems early can make all the difference in a family or child's life. Helping young children thrive is the primary goal of Early Head Start, Head Start and other services for school-age children at the YMCA of Metro Chicago.

Laura Boyd, a single mom of three young girls, knows firsthand the value of expert evaluators during a child's early growth years. YMCA staff helped her parents and sister's family with fitness plans and connections to educational and healthcare services, and now they're helping hers, too. Daughters Anajah, 6, and Loreal, 5, attended the Head Start program at the Garfield YMCA where Joanna, 4, is currently enrolled.

Every child receives comprehensive developmental screenings and assessments within the first 45 days of enrollment. A barrier to early success can sometimes be as simple as a child being unable to see letters and numbers clearly. When Laura's daughters entered the Garfield Y's pre-K Head Start program, they received a hearing and vision screening conducted by the Department of Family and Support Services. They were referred to a local optometry clinic, where they received glasses free of charge through a Chicago Public Schools (CPS) program.

"Early identification and intervention are key to ensuring they enter kindergarten ready to learn. Where there are gaps, the Y finds services," says Dorothy Cole-Gary, Executive Director of Early Education & Care, YMCA of Metro Chicago.

A teacher completed a developmental screening after Laura noticed Loreal was having behavioral challenges. Loreal was referred to CPS for a full evaluation. YMCA staff assisted the family every step of the way. They explained the process and parental rights according to the Individual Disability Education Act, helped with paperwork and accompanied Laura to appointments. Loreal was diagnosed with a developmental delay and an Individual Education Plan was developed.

Dorothy has seen success in many forms: A family service staff finds a way to make sure children get to school when life's challenges become overwhelming; a boy who could not sit still becomes mesmerized during storytime; and a girl lights up with excitement when she learns a new skill.

"All children are special and unique, and our goal is to meet each child's individual needs. The best feeling of all is when I see families return year after year. The children run into our centers with excitement and smiling faces eager and ready to learn," says Dorothy.

The YMCA of Metro Chicago is one of the largest non-governmental providers of Early Head Start / Head Start programs in Chicago.









Foglia Family: Partners in Building Healthy Futures

Giving back was a value instilled in Vince and Pat Foglia early on by their parents. Having grown up in blue-collar Chicago neighborhoods, they know many of today's youth face circumstances in their communities that might make for a rocky path. They hope that their philanthropic investments in the YMCA of Metro Chicago will give these children a better chance to reach their greatest potential.

"Honesty, responsibility, respect and caring about other people are values I believe in and that the Y was founded on. They are foundations you look for in every person you hire and every friend you have," Vince says.

Vince recalls wondering as a child, "Where am I going, and how am I going to get there?" Joining the U.S. Navy at the age of 20 opened his eyes to the world. After college, he went on to create Sage Products in Cary, Illinois, a company that grew from 20 employees to 750 today.

As board chairman of Sage Products, Vince knows a thing or two about return on investment. While the Foglia Family Foundation supports a broad range of charities, he and Pat have focused much of their philanthropy into advancing the Y's mission.

As one of the Y's most generous donors, he and Pat continually witness the difference their giving has made. They see it in the youth who have a safe place to stay active and reach their full potential, and the families that are able to enjoy state-of-the-art facilities and programs with the help of financial aid.

"Vince really lights up when he sees the kids using his investment," says Robyn Ostrem, Executive Director of the Sage Y. "He gets this giant smile on his face."

The culmination of major renovation projects at the Foglia YMCA and Sage YMCA became reality last year?made possible through the generosity of the Foglia Family Foundation and other donors.

"We've been fortunate," he says. "Part of it is working hard. The other part is being in the right place surrounded by the right people. I feel a real responsibility to give back."

Vince and Pat have fostered this sense of responsibility in their own children and grandchildren. Now their son, Vinnie, serves as chairman of the Sage YMCA Board of Directors, where Vince is an honorary board member.

"Vince Foglia has been a tremendous friend and generous donor to the YMCA. He really embodies the values of the Y. Everyone he meets comes away energized by his contagious enthusiasm and passion for serving the less fortunate," says Richard Malone, President and CEO, YMCA of Metro Chicago.

Working for the greater good is a message Vince imparts when he speaks to youth at the YMCA. "There may be some bumps along the road, but you can make it. The world needs what you can offer," he says.









Expanding Our Mission

Sage YMCA Renovation: $18.2M

  • 71,000 square feet, more than doubling the center?s size
  • Aquatics Center complete with 8-lane, 25-yard competition pool with spectator seating for 300
  • Early Learning Center featuring newly licensed half and full-day preschool with outdoor playground
  • 8,000-square-foot fitness and wellness center that offers nearly three times more space for workouts and conditioning, as well as a private fitness consultation room to provide free fitness assessments to members


Foglia YMCA Renovation: $3.3M

  • 9,000-square-foot gym expansion featuring second basketball court
  • Gymnasium can be divided into four spaces to expand sports and open gym programming
  • 3,000-square-foot multi-purpose space with multi-media capabilities that can be subdivided into two rooms for additional program offerings


South Side YMCA Renovation: $3.6M

  • Transformed spaces throughout the center to elevate the member experience and demonstrate the Y?s commitment to the community
  • Remodeled entrance and lobby into a larger more welcoming community space
  • Updated women?s and men?s activity lounges, steam rooms and saunas
  • Y Kid?s Zone featuring experiential learning toys
  • Family-friendly pool viewing area and lounge


Coming in 2015: The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago Center

The YMCA Center will serve as a living laboratory for innovation and growth. The new facility will provide a central location and optimal environment for research and testing of our best practices to allow for effective implementation of programs across the learning and developmental continuum.









YMCA of Metro Chicago 2014 Recognition Dinner

The YMCA of Metro Chicago's The Y. So Much More™ Recognition Dinner on October 29, raised more than $1.1 million to support academic readiness, character development, violence prevention, and fitness and healthy living.

Peter McNitt, Bill Osborn, J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez and Richard Malone

"Our programs and services would not be possible without the hard work and commitment of our event committee, co-chairs, donors and especially our more than 3,000 staff members. They bring our mission to life every day in our communities," said Richard Malone, President and CEO, YMCA of Metro Chicago.

Urban Warrior group

The event drew more than 500 distinguished guests from Chicago's nonprofit, corporate and civic communities. Bill Osborn was honored with the "So Much More Than A Leader Award" for his immense contributions as a member and former vice chair of the Board of Managers. McDonald's received the "So Much More Than A Partner Award" for its commitment to promoting education, inclusion and access to growth opportunities.

Key speakers included Dorothy Tucker from CBS 2 Chicago; event co-chairs Sharon Fairley and Joe Tilson; philanthropist Vince Foglia; Ryan Lugalia-Hollon, Co-Executive Director, Youth Safety and Violence Prevention; Angel Herrera, Urban Warriors veteran mentor; and Elvis, an Urban Warriors youth participant.


YMCA's Urban Warriors Program









2014 Event Highlights

Hastings Lake Y Healthy Kids Day®
Kelly Hall Y Future Leaders Luncheon
Sage and Foglia Ys square off in the inaugural swim meet at Sage Y
Leaning Tower Y 29th annual Tower Triathlon
1st Urban Warriors Recognition Ceremony
Greater LaGrange Y 5th annual Reindeer Run at Brookfield Zoo
John Whistler Elementary, winners of the 4th annual Scholastic Spectacular







FY2014 Statement of Activities

  Unrestricted Temporarily
Contributions, United Way, local chests $5,146,903 $9,962,016 - $15,108,919
Government-funded programs $13,051,400 - - $13,051,400
Membership dues $30,750,566 - - $30,750,566
Program fees $28,096,004 - - $28,096,004
Investment income designated for operations $6,874,638 - - $6,874,638
Other revenue $6,652,391 - - $6,652,391
Net assets released from restrictions $11,684,528 ($11,684,528) - -
Total Revenue $102,256,430 ($1,722,512) - $100,533,918

  Unrestricted Temporarily
Program services $84,422,576     $84,422,576
Supporting services $19,670,080     $19,670,080
Total Expenses $104,092,656     $104,092,656
  Unrestricted Temporarily
Change in net assets before non-operating ($1,836,226) ($1,722,512)   ($3,558,738)
Non-operating income (expenses) $3,852,603 - $470,597 $4,323,200
Excess of revenue over expenses $2,016,377 ($1,722,512) $470,597 $764,462


Cash and cash equivalents $5,799,710
Receivables $4,463,554
Investments $152,999,863
Other assets $1,432,950
Benefit interest in charitable trust $3,166,988
Land, buildings and equipment $124,719,487
Total Assets $292,582,552

Liabilities & Net Assets
Accrued liabilities $17,900,022
Deferred revenue and advances $3,499,752
Debt $62,357,811
Other Liabilities $3,287,984

Net Assets
Unrestricted $191,821,937
Temporarily and permanently restricted $13,715,046
Total Net Assets $292,583,552


YMCA of Metro Chicago Statistics
Members 208,092
Program participants 67,461
Employees 3,473
Policy and program volunteers 6,044
Resident Camp participants 8,501
Day Camp participants 8,921







FY2014 Impact by the Numbers

The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago is a community-based organization serving residents in seven counties across Chicagoland.

The YMCA strengthens communities through programs that include aquatics, sports, fitness, nutrition, early learning, before and after school, day camp and resident camp.

The YMCA provides financial assistance to help individuals and families participate in programs and memberships they could not otherwise afford.

Corporate, foundation and government grants and subsidies support many YMCA programs that help children and youth prepare for school and careers.













Thank You to Our Supporters

The YMCA of Metro Chicago is grateful to the many individuals, families, corporations, foundations and civic organizations whose contributions strengthen our children, families and communities.

Thank you for investing in brighter futures!

Download 2014 donor list

Download 2014 Annual Report printer friendly version