All We’ve Accomplished Together: A Message from President and CEO, Loria Yeadon
Last updated: December 24, 2020, at 10:08 a.m. PT
Originally published: December 21, 2020, at 2:08 p.m. PT
Dear Y Community:
As we wind down the year and reflect on the unprecedented difficulties and crisis that confronted us this year, we’re incredibly proud of all we have done to show up for our community. In 2020, the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism have challenged our community in ways that we never thought possible.
The escalating needs of a community in crisis pushed us this year to show up, to move at the speed of need, and to live our mission, equity statement, and values in an even bigger way. Through it all, we pressed forward to keep our promise to community, stay relentlessly focused on the short- and long-term needs of community, and be there for those who needed us most.
We proactively listened to our constituent groups and bravely tested new ways to maximize our reach and service to our communities, especially the most vulnerable among us. During the twin pandemics, we established and launched our equity and justice center of excellence and pledged to become an anti-racist organization. We are on our way, committed to creating a more equitable and just community for our children. We are inspired to keep moving ahead, recognizing that, because of the Y, our community is better.
Here are some highlights from this truly unforgettable year:
Staff and Members:
- Maintained relationships with over 28,000 dedicated members, including those that chose to donate their dues to community response efforts
- Prioritized staff and provided adaptive and timely support services including shared work and time off, mental health resources and tools, personal holidays, healing sessions, assistance to navigate remote work, and ongoing communication
Social Responsibility and Equity and Justice:
- With our Board of Directors, established and launched our equity and justice center of excellence and pledged to become an anti-racist organization
- Received a historic gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in support of our efforts to build a more equitable and just community and advance equity and justice for all
- Launched Unleashing Potential, a 3-part community learning series to end systemic racism and advance equity and justice for all
Healthy Living and Social Services:
- Merged Nexus Youth and Families into the Y and built and opened the new Arcadia shelter in South King County to increase our reach and provide housing and wraparound services for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness
- Opened Arlington Drive, in partnership with Tacoma Housing, and Roy Street Commons to provide transitional housing for young adults
- Expanded behavioral health services to Y members and community to address the escalating need for mental health and substance use services
- In partnership with New Horizons, provided safe day shelter for young adults experiencing homelessness during the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order
- Engaged volunteers and staff who completed 7,000 contacts to our vulnerable seniors experiencing loneliness and isolation during the pandemic
- Developed virtual workout classes (live and on-demand), healthy living programs, and new and safe in-person ways for members and participants to engage in YMCA programs and services and take care of their health as restrictions changed due to COVID-19
Youth Development, Child Care, Camp and Hunger Initiatives:
- Served over 400,000 meals to low-income and marginalized families facing hunger, a 91% increase over last year
- Provided continuous child care and day camp for working families and emergency child care for first responders while schools were closed and during remote learning.
- Created and launched virtual learning programs, including a partnership with Expedia that brought learning to children of Expedia parents and caregivers throughout the world
- YMCA Camps Orkila and Colman shifted to preparing and delivering meals, providing temporary housing for essential medical workers, supporting local districts with remote learning, and providing safe family camp options over the summer. Watch the Rivera family’s vlog from their trip to family camp this summer.
Thank you for walking alongside us in this journey. We cannot do it without you.
As you plan new traditions for the holiday season and look ahead to the new year, please consider COVID-compliant ways to connect with family and friends and stay healthy. To slow the spread, please plan thoughtfully to celebrate safely for each other’s sake by following the protocols, masking up, practicing social distancing, washing your hands, and getting your flu shot. Lives depend on it.
From our family to yours, we wish you a safe and relaxing holiday season filled with gratitude, happiness, and hope for the future.
President & CEO, YMCA of Greater Seattle