YMCA of Greater Rochester Shares Task Force Recommendations for Enhanced Urban Services

Focusing on City Needs and Where the YMCA Can Be Most Impactful

Rochester, NY – When the YMCA of Greater Rochester made the difficult decision to close the Carlson MetroCenter in March of 2021, we simultaneously made a commitment to engage a Task Force to embark on a six-month process to evaluate the Y’s urban offerings, assess the needs of the community, and propose ways to better serve all within the City limits.

“This was an incredible process that gave us the opportunity to engage with community leaders like we haven’t in many years,” said George Romell, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Rochester. “It allowed us to focus on the needs of our community and learn where the YMCA can be most impactful. This is a watershed moment for the YMCA of Greater Rochester. We are ready to fulfill our mission in new ways in support of all.”

The following seven recommendations were developed by the Task Force and put forth to the YMCA of Greater Rochester Board of Directors. All seven were unanimously approved in November:

  1. UNIFIED URBAN SERVICES: The YMCA will commit to invest the necessary resources to align staff and volunteers, that looks at the whole instead of location-by-location, to avoid duplication of service and maximize impact.
  • Timeline: 2022
  1. PARTNERSHIPS IN HEALTH & WELLBEING: The YMCA will engage impactful partners and collaborators to strengthen its new delivery system and address the Social Determinants of Health for residents of our city.
  • Timeline: Ongoing
  1. FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY: The YMCA will create a different funding matrix – through its endowment, grants, private philanthropy/foundations, government support and suburban branches/overnight camp success when COVID recovery occurs – to invest in and adequately deliver its urban mission.
  • Timeline: 18-36 Months
  1. EXISTING LOCATIONS & COMMUNITY OUTREACH: The YMCA will enhance inclusive programming that is developed in response to the community’s needs and is delivered within our existing locations – Maplewood Family Branch, YMCA Center for Equity at Lewis Street and Southwest Family Branch – as well as outreach locations through our collaborations.
  • Timeline: Ongoing
  1. CENTER CITY WELLNESS LOCATION: The YMCA will explore a modified downtown wellness facility in partnership with a developer at a centralized location with a focus on adult/senior wellness.
  • Timeline: 12-18 Months
  1. THE FUTURE OF CARLSON: IF the YMCA can find a committed partner(s) to share the Carlson MetroCenter for positive community impact, the YMCA’s role will be to deliver larger scale youth development and teen services taking advantage of the unique space the facility offers.
  • Timeline: 6-12 Months
  1. NEW, FULL-SERVICE FACILITY: The YMCA will determine the feasibility of a second, full-facility YMCA within the city limits to create a “neighborhood hub model” that has been successful in many other cities in the nation.
  • Timeline: 4-6 Years

“The Y is preparing itself to tackle the obstacles that our city neighborhoods face,” said Task Force member Jeanne Strazzabosco. “The end goal, for me, was to serve our community where it’s needed most and through this, we learned there are so many who are currently not being served. I feel confident these recommendations, and the people we need to serve right now won’t be left behind.”

A YMCA member and volunteer for many years, including at the Carlson MetroCenter, Strazzabosco knew change was needed in the way the Y operated. She’s confident with the process of this Task Force and proud to be a part of making real change, starting with the first recommendation.

As we take immediate actions, we are pleased to share that as part of the first recommendation, Unifying Urban Services, the YMCA of Greater Rochester has created a brand-new position, Senior Vice President of Urban Services, who will oversee operations and strategy within the city limits. Dr. Daniele Lyman-Torres will take on that role effective January 3, 2022.

“This is an exciting opportunity to be blazing a new era for the YMCA of Greater Rochester,” said Dr. Lyman-Torres. “The YMCA needs to have a seat at the table when evaluating impactful initiatives within the City. I am proud to have my voice and expertise at that table on behalf of the Y as the first person in this position, and eager to lead that change working alongside the community and a dedicated team of staff serving the City of Rochester.”

Dr. Lyman-Torres has more than two decades of experience in advanced strategic leadership and community engagement, most recently as a Commissioner with the City of Rochester, responsible for all recreation and human services programs and initiatives. Before working for the City, Dr. Lyman-Torres was a leader in area non-profits, serving as the Chief Operating Officer of Trillium Health (formerly AIDS Care), and President and CEO of the Arc of Yates.

The 16-member Task Force brought together non-profit leaders, state and local law makers, and community advocates to ensure that major parties are able to work together, sharing resources for the benefit of our community. This isn’t the end; this is the start of real action and action that will change the trajectory of the YMCA of Greater Rochester.

Additional Remarks from Task Force Members

JEREMY COONEY, NEW YORK STATE SENATOR, DISTRICT 56

“As someone who grew up in the city, learned to swim at an urban Y pool, and attended Y summer camps, I know firsthand the impact that YMCA programming has on city youth and families. I believe the implementation of these recommendations will improve services and provide support to underserved populations in residential neighborhoods. I look forward to supporting the future of the YMCA of Greater Rochester and expanding its urban mission.”

ROBERT J. DUFFY, PRESIDENT AND CEO, GREATER ROCHESTER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

“I was honored to participate on the Task Force for Mission-Critical City Services, helping to reshape and grow the YMCA’s commitment to meeting essential family and individual needs in Rochester. These recommendations are designed to improve neighborhood access to health and wellness and educational support that will have a meaningful impact on racial and educational inequities. Thank you to YMCA CEO George Romell and my fellow Task Force members, including elected officials, city and county leaders, collaborative partners, funders, community stakeholders, YMCA policy volunteers and staff.”

WADE NORWOOD, CEO OF COMMON GROUND HEALTH
“Serving on the task force aligns completely with Common Ground’s mission to bring greater focus to community health issues,” said Wade Norwood, CEO of Common Ground Health. “We all have a vested interest in ensuring the continuation of services for those who are most in need, particularly seniors and children. I look forward to continuing to work alongside my friends and colleagues on the task force to eliminate health disparities in our communities.”

Media Coverage

RBJ

13WHAM

WHEC

WROC