The Y Spotlights Its Work Within Communities in First-Ever Nationwide Marketing Campaign

For a better us. to Educate Americans on the Y’s Role in Strengthening Communities as a Leading Charitable Organization

Chicago, IL (January 25, 2016)—Today YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) launched For a better us., a nationwide multimedia marketing campaign designed to educate consumers on the Y’s work as one of the most effective and enduring charitable organizations in the country. For a better us. is meant to change the perception of the Y and raise awareness of the work it does in the areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility to address pressing social issues in more than 10,000 communities around the country.

The campaign launches with two powerful television commercials, Places Opens a new window and Idle Hands Opens a new window, each depicting a different problem America faces today. Places highlights people who lack the opportunities and resources they need to thrive while Idle Hands explores the ways kids may fill their time when left unsupervised or unchallenged, without constructive activities. Both spots close with the Y’s work on the ground, engaging and enriching individuals, kids and families through safe spaces, mentorship, education, meal programs and more. Both casts feature people who live in and around the area where the commercials were filmed.

“These commercials are not what most people would expect from the Y, and that’s by design,” said Donna M. Bembenek, Y-USA’s Vice President of Marketing Communications. “We want the public to see the Y in a new way—as a leading charity that is addressing pressing social issues in communities nationwide and is worthy of their support. This is who we’ve been for more than 160 years and our new campaign is designed to help more people understand that.”

The Y collaborated with New York City-based creative agency Droga5 to produce both spots, which were directed by Seb Edwards. The 30- and 60-second spots will air on multiple networks including MSNBC, CBS and TBS. To view the spots, please visit  ( Digitally, Y-USA will advertise with The New York Times, Peel, YouTube and Twitter, as well as a number of other online properties.

The campaign will also feature an innovative digital activation with online banners placed next to relevant news stories to promote specific Y programs that address the social issues spotlighted by the stories. This strategy is meant to give readers a deeper understanding of the critical role the Y plays in solving challenges in communities. The banners will give readers the opportunity to donate to such programs. The Y hopes to convey that a donation to the organization is a donation to improve the lives of vulnerable kids, families and communities, all For a better us.

“This bold campaign underscores the importance of the life-changing work performed by Y staff and volunteers around the country,” said Kevin Washington, President and CEO of Y-USA. “On a daily basis they drive the positive change and outcomes that strengthen our communities and the people who call them home.”

The For a better us. campaign is a multi-year, multi-faceted effort to engage more people with the Y and its mission. It will run through 2018.

For more information about the Y and to donate, visit

Media Contacts: 

Heather Fox



Ryu Mizuno

YMCA of the USA



About the Y

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 22 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.

Monday, January 25, 2016

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