How we developed this plan

In 2018, when we set out to develop Ignite the Light, our goal was to ensure that the plan would be timely, relevant, and well informed by our teams’ insights and on-the-ground knowledge. Staying true to those guiding principles meant revisiting our strategy in the wake of COVID-19. To that end, we carried out a consultative planning process that included:

Leadership by a Strategic Planning Task Force

This volunteer task force was composed of YMCA Board members and other community leaders selected for a combination of subject-area expertise, regional knowledge and networks, and understanding of the YMCA’s work and recent history. The task force met several times beginning in February 2019 to discuss current issues in the GTA —including priorities specific to Peel, Durham, and York —and opportunities for the YMCA to respond and contribute. They were reconvened in the summer of 2020 to discuss the dramatic changes to our environment internally and externally that impacted our strategic plan, after which they recommended this strategy for approval by the Board of Directors.

Research and reflection

In 2019, the YMCA’s Program Research and Development Department reported on key social and economic trends; changes in YMCA programs, facilities, and operations; and our progress against key strategic objectives over the last 10 years. This work complemented a series of interviews with partners and community leaders as well as an ideation document produced by a senior management consultant on a volunteer basis. In 2020, we considered new research conducted around the pandemic and the groundswell of support for confronting systemic anti-Black racism, building on the evidence-based approach we took to our 2018–2021 Diversity & Social Inclusion strategy. Key stakeholders weighed in as we recalibrated our strategy to confront our new realities.

Internal conversations and consultations

The planning process drew insight from YMCA volunteers, staff, participants, and other stakeholders through a range of discussion forums, gatherings, one-on-one discussions, and surveys.

Board of Directors and Youth Advisory Committee retreat

Once a draft strategic framework had been developed in 2019, the YMCA’s Board of Directors, senior staff leaders, and Youth Advisory Committee assembled to review and respond to the document. After discussion and revisions, this group affirmed its support for Ignite the Light.

Thank you

Many people and groups generously supported the development of this strategy by sharing their time, insights, and expertise with us. The YMCA of Greater Toronto gratefully acknowledges the contributions of:

Members of the Ignite the Light Strategic Planning Task Force
Ryan Brain*, Canadian President and CEO, WSP Global (Chair)
Peter MacLeod, Principal and Co-Founder, Mass LBP (Facilitator)*
Katherine Chislett, Commissioner of Community and Health Services, Regional Municipality of York
Michelle E. DiEmanuele, President and CEO, Trillium Health Partners
Barbara Fox*, CEO, Enterprise, and Principal, Ensight
Melanie Hare, Urban Strategies
John MacIntyre*, Partner, Birch Hill Equity Partners
Medhat Mahdy, President and CEO
Akosua Matthews*, Litigator, Falconers LLP
Dr. David McKeown*, Physician and Public Health Specialist
David Marrello, Associate Director, OMERS Growth Equity
Meaghan Mendonca, Senior Advisor, Metrolinx
Gordon O’Neill, Regional Vice President, RBC
Tim Penner, Past-Chair, YMCA-GTA
* Board member

Special advisor:

Janet Maclaren

YMCA team members:

Sarah Earl, Program Research and Development
Amy Langstaff, Consultant and Writer
Nicole Meredith, Senior Advisor, External Communications
Heather Northgrave, Senior Manager, External Relations
Jane Pyper, Chief Strategy Officer

  • Members, donors, and program participants who completed surveys and shared their experiences with us
  • Community leaders who participated in our “Beyond 2020” interview process
  • YMCA staff who participated in planning discussions