A lot of people wondered this summer why the YMCA, with about the most powerful name among nonprofits, decided to shorten its name to the Y.
The trouble is, the YMCA of the USA had moved far beyond being a place for a cheap room or a place to work out.
So the organization began the name change process in earnest two years ago, said spokeswoman Jessica Wylie, because surveys “showed that while the public is familiar with the Y, they do not fully understand” all that it does.
The Y says it wants to convey a better sense of the wide scope of what it does, focusing primarily on three “pillars”: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
The Y started out as the Young Men’s Christian Association. Although the nonprofit began largely to provide men a safe place to gather and pray, today it is one of the nation’s largest providers of various human services, many under government contracts. Those services include child care, mentoring, youth recreation, camps and advocacy on such public policy issues as child welfare, education and public health.
Individual Y’s across the United States, each incorporated as a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit, will retain the YMCA in their titles (e.g., YMCA of Greater Miami) but have a five-year window to adopt the accompanying logo change.
Each local Y is covering its own costs for the change, Wylie said. YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta’s communications director, Kristen Obaranec, said the estimated cost of the changeover is $50,000 to $60,000 per location.
Contact: www.ymca.net, (800) 872-9622. A longer version of this story can be found at www.youthtoday.org; search for “YMCA.”