YMCA History: The 2000s


YMCA History: The 2000s

YMCA Responds to World Crises


The YMCA has responded to several crises in the 2000s — the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon (Sept. 11, 2001), the Pacific Rim Tsunami (2004), Hurricane Katrina (2005), the earthquake in Haiti (2010) and the COVID-19 pandemic (2020). Through our fundraising and rebuilding efforts, we were able to rekindle hope in affected communities, particularly among young people.


The World's Largest Run™


On Saturday, June 2, 2001, 1,200 YMCAs hosted World’s Largest Run™ events from Maine to Hawaii in the country’s first synchronized run/walk across all U.S. time zones. The event celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Y in the U.S. and highlighted the importance of physical activity for kids and families. Over 15,000 volunteers and 54,000 kids and adults participated, with proceeds benefiting local YMCA programs.

YMCA Creates the National Diversity Initiative


In 2002, YMCA of the USA created the National Diversity Initiative to support the YMCA mission to value the diversity of all people within Ys and the communities they serve.

Activate America is Launched


In July 2004, in front of a U.S. Senate hearing, YMCA of the USA launched Activate America and Healthy Community, thus beginning a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Healthy Communities spread to more than 150 Y communities, engaging millions of people in making the healthy choice the accessible choice.

YMCA Partners with Lumina Foundation


In 2008, with support from Lumina Foundation for Education, YMCAs added College Goal Sunday to their educational programs for young people, helping low-income, underserved or first-generation college students with the financial aid process — one of the most significant obstacles to college access and success.

YMCA Partnership Begins to Support Military Families


In 2008, the Armed Services YMCA and YMCA of the USA partnered with the Department of Defense in the YMCA Military Outreach Initiative, which funds memberships and child care services for families facing the hardship of military deployment.

Learn More About Military Outreach

First Lady Michelle Obama Works with YMCA On "Let's Move" Campaign


Positioning the Y as an important partner in preventing chronic disease throughout the nation, YMCA of the USA garnered the support of high-ranking government officials. In 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama chose the YMCA as the organization to launch the pillars of her “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity.

Global YMCAs Promote Worldwide Competitions


The YMCA today plays an instrumental role in promoting competition around the world through the Far Eastern Games, Pan American Games and the Inter-Allied Games.

"The Y" is Reborn


In 2010, the YMCA in the U.S. revitalized its brand and for the first time began officially referring to itself by its most familiar name —"The Y."

YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program Begins


The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program (YDPP) officially began expansion in 2010. It is an example of a new health delivery system that values prevention efforts offered in a community setting. The first signature program at the YDPP helps participants lose weight and increase physical activity with the ultimate goal of preventing new cases of type 2 diabetes.

Learn More About the Diabetes Prevention Program

The Y Partners with the Walmart Foundation to End Childhood Hunger


The YMCA and the Walmart Foundation partnered to end childhood hunger during the summer, serving more than 7 million meals and snacks to 70,000 children when school is out of session, beginning in 2011.

Learn more about our Food Programs

Partnership for a Healthier America


YMCA of the USA makes a commitment in 2011 to the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to help end the childhood obesity epidemic. All YMCA’s adopted a set of Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards in all before and after school programming.

Signature Social Responsibility Program Debuts


Togetherhood, the Y’s signature program for social responsibility, debuted in 2014. The member-led community service program encourages Y members to find volunteer projects to improve their neighborhoods.

Kevin Washington Appointed


In 2015, Kevin Washington became the 14th President and CEO of YMCA of the USA. Kevin is the first African American to hold the position.

Suzanne McCormick Appointed


In 2021, Suzanne McCormick took over as the 15th President and CEO of YMCA of the USA, becoming the first woman to hold the position.

The History of the Y

Continue Reading

  • Y History: The Founding Years

    The YMCA was formed in London in 1844 when a farmer-turned-department store worker and his friends gathered to organize a refuge for young men seeking escape from the hazards of the streets. Today, the Y still harkens back to our roots in creating safe, enriching spaces for communities across the globe.

  • Y History: 1900s

    The formative years of the Y were ones of inspired growth. We saw our mission spread to cities across the U.S., lifting people up and strengthening communities.