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YMCA rebrands as "the Y" in the US

WASHINGTON - Note to the Village People: The lyrics in your biggest hit need an update. The organization previously known as the Y.M.C.A. is henceforth to be called "the Y."

No YMCA anymore

No YMCA anymore

One of the nation’s most iconic nonprofit organizations, founded 166 years ago in England as the Young Men’s Christian Association, is undergoing a major rebranding, adopting as its name the nickname everyone has used for generations.

Continue reading this article on The New York Times

Press release From the Y

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. 

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