George Romell
George M. Romell - President and CEO
Maureen Mulholland - Current Board Chair
Matthew Kilmer
Matthew A. Kilmer - Past Board Chair

2019/20 Annual Report


Through change and hardship, we are better together.

TO SAY 2020 WAS UNPRECEDENTED IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT. To be frank, the events of 2020 turned our goals on their heads. After coming off the most successful year the YMCA of Greater Rochester has ever had, we were forced to rethink our services and programs and essentially re-invent them for a totally new world. There are few disasters that could impact the YMCA in quite the same way, as an organization that thrives on serving the community through personal interacting and gathering. Despite the challenges, we took seriously the fact that the YMCA of Greater Rochester is a pillar of the Rochester community, and refused to let it fall.

The Y is one of region’s leading, and largest, childcare providers. When COVID-19 hit the Rochester area, our staff rose to the challenge, stepping in to provide essential workers the childcare they needed to ensure they could continue to work.

During the summer months, we provided care in the form of Summer Camps, where we were able to provide a safe, fun and COVID-free experience for more than 1,000 campers a week. We also ran outdoor group exercise classes to help people continue their health journey that was interrupted by COVID-19. This year has been a year of hardships, but the YMCA and Rochester community are resilient.

We continued to re-invent what our childcare looks like

With school districts in our area providing different levels of virtual learning, we worked to ensure that we could serve all different models through our Y School of ROC hybrid learning program. In this program, we integrate academic support, social-emotional learning, and physical health and wellness.

We took a hard look at how we can best use our facilities

We did not emerge from COVID-19 unscathed. We made the difficult decision to close our Monroe Family YMCA after 98 years in operation. During the process we made sure that our beloved facility went to an organization whose mission aligns with our own. That is why we continue to finalize the transfer of the Monroe Family YMCA to the Center for Youth. We also chose to close our Victor Active Family Branch. After a renovation and reduction of hours in 2018, we found that the facility was underutilized, and in fact, we were continuing to subsidize a facility in an affluent suburb. We simply couldn’t justify these realities and keep the doors open any longer. As the pandemic continues, we remain committed to reviewing our real estate.

We shifted our services to better help our community

The YMCA has been a fixture in the Scio Street and Marketview Heights neighborhood for more than two decades. This is a community that relies on the services of the Y, but we knew we could do more for them, particularly as the inequities of our community became even more pronounced. Therefore, with financial support from Monroe County, the United Way of Greater Rochester, ESL and the Greater Rochester Health Foundation, we transformed our Lewis Street Child Care Center into our new YMCA Center for Equity at Lewis Street. Our goals are to increase student achievement and empower our young people to make positive changes in their lives and communities. Access to our Center for Equity is free and is currently being used as a space for virtual learners in the Rochester City School District.

We have adjusted our facilities to ensure the safety of our staff and members

In partnership with the Monroe County Department of Health and New York State, the YMCA reopened six branches on August 28 after a nearly six-month closure. We eased back into our routines, that featured some new steps, including our Y ROC Health Scan, which was created in partnership with University of Rochester Medical Center. On October 12 we opened our remaining three branches. Our members return has been slow but steady and we continue to evaluate hours and program.

Even with all of these pivots, challenges still lie ahead.

Through smart decision making, we have been able to survive on the incredible generosity of members and donors, as well as our own savings. As the recovery period will be far longer then originally anticipated, our staff and volunteers remain intensely focused on helping us overcome all obstacles and staying vibrant.

This year has challenged us beyond what we could have imagined. Our community needs us now more than ever, and we are deeply committed to continuing to find new and expanded ways to serve, even as we face monumental financial and social challenges. We’ve been knocked down, but together we will rise to greater heights than before. In our 166 years of service, we have weathered challenges. Through it all, we remain committed to being a force for good in our community.


The COVID-19 Pandemic forced our doors to close for 167 days.

The financial impact of this closure devastated us and the impact of it is still growing. Below is a comparison of our finances from the time frame of April 1-October 31.

Mural at the YMCA Center for Equity at Lewis St.

YMCA Center for Equity: Supporting Community in a Whole New Way

If the COVID-19 health pandemic has taught us anything, it’s taught us that the needs of our community continue to change, and the YMCA must evolve to meet them.

City of Rochester youth have been out of school buildings since March and are in desperate need of programs that support virtual learning, social and emotional learning and positive peer interaction. For these reasons, and more, we established the YMCA Center of Equity at Lewis Street.

We know that the heart of the Y’s mission isn’t just within the walls of our buildings. Rather, it’s doing cause-driven work directly in the community.

The initial goals of the Center are to increase student achievement and empower young people to make positive change in their lives and their community. The launch of this incredible Center would not be possible without the amazing support of community partners – United Way of Greater Rochester, Monroe County, The Greater Rochester Health Foundation, ESL and Brighter Days Foundation. Through their funding streams, the YMCA is able to open this free Center and expand programming.

As community needs evolve, so will we. The establishment of this Center is something the entire YMCA team is incredibly proud of – and behind.