First Lady Michelle Obama launches the pillars of her “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity at the Alexandria YMCA, part of the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington.
On Saturday, June 2, 2001, 1,200 YMCAs hosted 700 YMCA 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 America's YMCAs and highlighted the importance of physical activity for kids and parents. Over 15,000 volunteers and 54,000 youth and adults participated with proceeds benefiting local YMCA programs.
The YMCA responded to several world crises—Sept. 11 (2001), Pacific Rim tsunami (2004), Hurricane Katrina (2005) and the earthquake in Haiti (2010)—through fundraising, rebuilding efforts and programs designed to rekindle hope in the affected communities, particularly among children and young people.
In 2002, YMCA of the USA created the National Diversity Initiative to support the YMCA movement in valuing the diversity of all people within its associations and the communities it serves.
In July 2004 before a U.S. Senate hearing, Y-USA launched Activate America and the Healthy Community work, beginning a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Healthy Communities spreads to more than 150 YMCA communities engaging millions of people in making the healthy choice the easy choice.
In 2008, with support from Lumina Foundation for Education, YMCAs added College Goal Sunday to their educational programs for youth, which helps low-income, at-risk or non-traditional students with the financial aid process; one of the most significant obstacles to college access and success.
YMCA Healthy Family Home (HFH), a partnership between the YMCA and Eli Lilly and Company, launched in 2008 to inspire families to make healthier lifestyle choices in homes nationwide. From child care to health fairs, staff meetings to sports fields, YMCAs offer easy, creative ways to help families embrace HFH’s three key concepts: play every day to become more active, eat healthy and spend family time together.
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 YMCA as an important partner in preventing chronic disease throughout the nation, Y-USA garners the support of high-ranking government officials. In 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama chose the YMCA as the venue to launch the pillars of her “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity.
Beyond the United States, 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 Y revitalized its brand and began officially referring to itself by its most familiar name – the Y – for the first time.