A Brand New Day: The YMCA Unveils New Brand Strategy to Further Community Impact

Americans’ growing concern about the state of their communities validates need to reach more people, according to new data.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 12, 2010)  For the first time in 43 years, the YMCA has unveiled a new brand strategy to increase understanding of the impact the nonprofit makes in communities. The YMCA has the unique capacity to address many of the challenges facing the nation today.  Through its new brand strategy and framework, the nonprofit will extend its reach into communities to nurture the potential of youth and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being and provide opportunities to support neighbors. 

The new brand strategy – the result of more than two years of analysis and research – was introduced today at a National Press Club event that included leaders from the philanthropic and nonprofit communities.  The YMCA unveiled a new, more forward-looking logo that reflects the vibrancy and diversity of the organization, and a framework that focuses resources on three core areas: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  In another major change, the nonprofit will be called “the Y” to align with how people most commonly refer to the organization.  The national resource office, YMCA of the USA, has already begun the transition to the new brand.  Ys across the country will transition fully within five years.

“This is a very important, exciting time for the Y,” said Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of YMCA of the USA.  “For 160 years, we’ve focused on changing lives for the better.  Our commitment to building greater awareness for the important work we do will enable us to expand our efforts and further strengthen communities across the country.”

As part of the Y’s assessment of community need, the organization surveyed a cross section of Americans to learn more about the most pressing issues and challenges facing their communities today. Among the key findings of The Y Community Snapshot –56 percent of Americans are strongly satisfied with their own lives today, while 66 percent say the current quality of life in their community is worse than it was a year ago.  When asked about what the future holds for quality of life in their community, Americans were divided – 51 percent were optimistic about the future while 49 percent were not.

“People are concerned about the problems facing their communities.  Like the Y, they understand that lasting change will only come about if we work together to improve our health, strengthen our families and support our neighbors. Our hope is that more people will choose to engage with the Y,” added Nicoll. 

Today, across the United States, Ys are making a difference in three key areas of focus:

  • Youth Development: Nurturing the potential of every child and teen
  • Healthy Living: Improving the nation’s health and well-being
  • Social Responsibility: Giving back and providing support to our neighbors

“We are changing how we talk about ourselves so that people better understand the benefits of engaging with the Y,” said Kate Coleman, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of YMCA of the USA.  “We are simplifying how we describe the programs we offer so that it is immediately apparent that everything we do is designed to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve health and well-being and support our neighbors and the larger community.”

The Y’s former logo had been in place since 1967 and was the organization’s sixth since its inception. The refreshed logo, with its multiple color options and new, contemporary look, better reflects the vibrancy of the Y and the diversity of the communities it serves.  The new logo’s bold, active and welcoming shape symbolizes the Y’s commitment to personal and social progress. 

For a copy of The Y Community Snapshot, please submit your request to media@ymca.net.  

YMCA of the USA YMCA of the USA is the national resource office for the Y, one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  Across the U.S., 2,687 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.  Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. ymca.net.


Editor’s Note: This new brand announcement represents a transition in the correct way to refer to the Y in writing.  “The Y” should be used whenever referring to the collective organization.  “The” should be lowercase unless it is used at the beginning of a sentence.  YMCA should be used when referring to a specific location, i.e., “The YMCA of Greater Louisville.”   

Monday, July 12, 2010

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