Under Strong Start, Great Future (2010–2020), our YMCA substantially improved its capabilities in a number of key areas, making us more efficient; strengthening our relationships with partners, donors, and communities; and helping to deepen our impact. To realize the ambitions of Ignite the Light and continue building our charity’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19, we’ll need to enhance our capabilities in the following key areas:

Healthy, engaged, and inclusive workforce

People are at the heart of our YMCA. Our existing People Strategy and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy have guided our efforts to build a healthy, inclusive workforce and have helped us attract and retain highly skilled, dedicated team members. These strategies will serve as a strong foundation for us to build upon as we focus on equity, navigate the challenges COVID-19 has posed for our teams, and position our workforce for the future.

Technology and digital transformation

To bring Ignite the Light to life, we’ll need to continue our focus on data-driven decision making and advanced technologies to create new digital programs, boost efficiency, enhance participant experience, support effective collaboration, and open untapped lines of revenue — both across our own departments and with external partners. We’re committed to incorporating technology into our programs and communications thoughtfully, crafting an excellent digital experience for our members and participants, while maintaining the human touch that has always defined the YMCA’s approach.


The YMCA of Greater Toronto is a charity. Today, as we respond to the needs of a rapidly growing GTA that’s facing a long recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re raising the scale of our philanthropic ambitions. Our capital campaign will support the creation of five new YMCA Centres of Community. We’ll work to broaden our donor base, making giving a habit among a greater share of our participants, and among the wider public. And we’ll continue enhancing the giving experience, taking steps to deepen our relationships with donors and make it easier to support the Y.

Positioning and advocacy

Communicating effectively about our work helps us engage partners and program participants, earn philanthropic support, advocate for change, and contribute to conversations that shape our communities. Under Ignite the Light, we’ll work to grow awareness of our charitable status, the scale of our work, and the impact we have in our communities. We’ll also promote our places and programs, and advocate on important issues where we have relevant expertise.

Financial sustainability

Our charity’s work is made possible by a combination of donor support, fees paid by program users, and government funding. This mix of revenue sources has supported the YMCA’s resilience and sustainability for more than 165 years. Today, the entire charitable sector faces unprecedented financial challenges in the wake of COVID-19, and the road to recovery remains uncertain. Operating in this new environment means we will need to focus strategically — investing in key areas, scaling our ambitions to match our new capacities, and adapting nimbly as our circumstances change — to ensure our YMCA’s viability for another 165 years to come.

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