YMCA OF MIDDLE TENNESSEE
2019 ANNUAL REPORT
It’s been true since our humble beginnings 145 years ago: the YMCA of Middle Tennessee exists to serve the ever-changing needs of our community, even in the most difficult of times.
When the country rallied to defend democracy in World War I, the YMCA of Middle Tennessee handed over use of our buildings to support the war effort. During World War II, an estimated two million enlisted men used the Nashville YMCA’s facilities for housing and other needs before departing from Union Station.
More recently, our facilities served as shelters and sources of relief for families impacted by the 2010 floods and, in 2020, all those affected by devastating tornadoes.
And now, as the crippling effects of a global pandemic continue to bear down on our community, the Y has once again found itself uniquely positioned to bridge the gap—from providing child care, meals and academic support to kids and families in dire need to ensuring that those facing newfound financial hardship can still access the Y.
A nonprofit is only as strong as its volunteers and supporters, and as we reflect back on 2019 through the lens of these current circumstances, we are reminded of how your steadfast support, then and now, equips us to bring health and belonging to every corner of our community.
Last year, the Y reached 251,847 lives, and it’s because volunteers and donors answered the call to serve and give with a resounding “yes.” And they’ve put that word into action by giving of their time, talent and treasure—allowing kids to grow and learn, families to flourish, and individuals to experience healthier living and a sense of connection that’s needed now more than ever.
In his letter to the early church, the apostle Peter echoes Jesus’ call to service: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1 Peter 4:10) May that powerful charge continue to guide our organization’s posture in the years to come, and may this report be a testament to the immense good that can happen when we respond to the call of community with a bold and simple “yes.”
President & CEO
2019-2020 Association Board Chair
No matter the circumstances, we’re here for our community. Through powerful partnerships with volunteers, donors and community organizations, the YMCA of Middle Tennessee seeks to bring health and belonging to every corner of Middle Tennessee. Here’s what we accomplished together in 2019.
From the soccer field to the swimming pool to summer camp, the Y's intentionally designed programs give youth the chance to explore, learn new skills, and discover their full potential on their way to becoming confident and caring adults. Whether we're helping a child read on grade level or teaching them life-saving skills in the water, the Y believes every child deserves the chance to grow and succeed.
When Y members feel empowered to overcome their own obstacles and live a healthier lifestyle, the well-being of our whole community improves. With programs for all ages designed to nurture spirit, mind and body—and membership financial assistance offered to those in need—the Y helps people from every walk of life find motivation and connection.
The Y's commitment to strengthening community goes far beyond the four walls of our facilities. It means giving people of all backgrounds and income levels access to the Y, advocating for policies that better our community, leveraging partnerships and grant funding to reach those most in need, and providing volunteers with meaningful opportunities to give back to their neighbors.
STORIES OF IMPACT
Three days a week, you’ll find DeQuan “Quan” Bond on the basketball court at the Y. He’s been playing ball with a tight-knit group of guys for over three years. Quan’s Y roots run all the way back to summers with YMCA Fun Company, when his mom, a single parent, would send her kids to camp with the help of financial assistance. It gave her a break, Quan says, but it also gave the siblings a chance to enjoy summer fun they would not have otherwise experienced. Now, Quan is a regular face at the Y on both the court and the stationary bike, taking group exercise classes to stay in shape. But he says the Y is about much more than getting fit. “I feel like it’s a family here. I’ve been coming to the Y for so long that I know all of the staff and a lot of the members. I love the togetherness.”
In 2017, Phylis West lost her husband to lung cancer. She’d left her job a year earlier to care for him full-time and, when he died, she felt totally isolated. “I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere anymore,” she says. When a cousin invited her on a cruise, Phylis—who couldn’t swim—decided to join the YMCA. She took swim lessons to overcome her fear of water, which gave her the confidence to go on a floating cave excursion she describes as “absolutely incredible.” With encouragement from staff and help from the Open Doors financial assistance program, she started doing water aerobics and has made several close friends with whom she plans “swim dates” after class. Phylis, who loves being around people, also found connection through Active Older Adults and encourages other senior Y members to get out of the house. “Going to the Y gave me a sense of hope.”
Andy's and cooper'S STORY
Andy Garmezy and Cooper, his service dog, are local celebrities. They go everywhere together—including the YMCA. You’ll often see the two enjoying Tuesday morning yoga classes, where they’ve found a welcoming community who even keeps watch over Cooper while Andy showers in the locker room or cycles on the wellness floor. Both have overcome hurdles: Cooper, the runt of his litter, got his AKC Good Canine certification—one of four he would go on to earn—at just 12 weeks old. And Andy had a massive tumor removed. During the weeks he spent in the hospital, his Y community showed up for him once again. “I had visits from about ten Y members,” he says. “The camaraderie is really special.” Each week, Andy and Cooper volunteer their time visiting young hospital patients. “Cooper makes kids smile and helps them forget that they’re in the hospital,” Andy says. Together, this dynamic duo encourages and empowers the people (and four-legged friends) around them.