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) and the earthquake in Haiti (2010). Through our fundraising and rebuilding efforts, we were able to rekindle hope in affected communities, particularly among young people.
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 parents. Over 15,000 volunteers and 54,000 kids and adults participated, with proceeds benefiting local YMCA programs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 2010, the YMCA revitalized its brand and for the first time began officially referring to itself by its most familiar name —"The Y."
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.
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 2011.
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.
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.
In 2015, Kevin Washington takes over as the 14th President and CEO of YMCA of the USA, becoming the first African American to hold the position.