> YMCA OF METROPOLITAN CHICAGO

WELCOME TO THE WORLD’S OLDEST INCUBATOR. THE YMCA OF METRO CHICAGO IS INNOVATING FROM THE INSIDE

In 2022, the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago celebrated its 164th birthday. There are only a handful of organizations in the country with that kind of history. But all those candles on the cake are not merely a reminder of accomplishments passed. It’s also a light leading the way forward, illuminating the future of the organization and the communities it serves with a fresh spirit of innovation and imagination at its core.

These days, innovation might be a word more closely associated with start-ups and tech moguls. But the ability to make changes in the establishment has long been the key to the YMCA’s legacy and longevity. The YMCA has always been on the leading edge of change in society. As a result, several lasting institutions came out of the YMCA’s commitment to innovation—from the celebration of Black History Month and the establishment of Chicago’s Roosevelt University.

Being part of the establishment is the YMCA’s superpower. It gives them the credibility and permission to make an impact. While they don’t have to prove themselves, they are still constantly reinventing themselves, transforming from a centuries-old service organization into a modern social enterprise connected to the community and creating value along the way. They are the epitome of a successful “bricks and mortar” organization evolving to thrive in the digital age.

While the design and delivery of tomorrow’s YMCA programs may look very different, the themes will remain the same—community, equity, well-being, and connection. Current as those words feel, they are the timeless values that will continue to endure in everything the YMCA does.

“In the future, the YMCA will be able to quickly assess the opportunities to improve the human experience,” explains Dorri McWhorter, President and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. “As the needs of humans evolve, we want to have the most agile and relevant services to stay on the leading edge of culture!”

McWhorter is striving towards a future at the YMCA where the sense of belonging is bigger than membership. The goal is to build a vibrant “second space” where the community can come together, learn, and grow together. Innovation will play a pivotal role in creating shared experiences in both the physical and digital forms while the entire organization will remain focused on helping human beings find their value and sharing it with the world. Tomorrow’s methods may be different, but the vision remains and success feels more essential than ever.

“I want everyone to be a part of the Y,” McWhorter explains.
“I want EVERYONE to have a Y story.”

YMCA OF METROPOLITAN

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