Comprehensive Campaign

Goal of $75,000,000

Annual Support contributions of $9,500,000 to fund the outreach efforts of our charitable cause. The Y provides access to full membership and programs by annually offering financial assistance in excess of $3 million to nearly 20,000 recipients.

Capital Projects of $21,500,000 to expand the reach, programs and services that can be offered to the residents of our community.

Endowment Funds & Intentions of $2,000,000 to fund the future of critical programs and services for an increasingly demanding infrastructure and need for outreach to the community throughout our urban core, overnight camps and suburban services.

Foundation, Community & Government Partnerships of $7,000,000 to make new, state-of-the-art programs possible. Pilot programs, enhancement, and expansion of Y services ensure we can support the pursuit and sustainability of healthy lifestyles for individuals and families.

Strengthening Communities Campaign

For more than 160 years, the YMCA of Greater Rochester has served an ever-expanding area across New York State. Our Y’s programs, services and facilities have evolved and grown in response to critical community needs serving more than 100,000 children, youth, adults and seniors with diverse backgrounds and abilities.

The Strengthening Communities Campaign is a decade-long endeavor to address our region’s needs for the next century. Because of a sedentary lifestyle, there is a health crisis facing our children, frequently occupied by screen time. Many adults battle increasing rates of chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure. Our rapidly expanding population of older adults must combat isolationism and a decline in functional fitness.

As one of the region’s largest human service charities, the Y is positioned to meet the challenges faced by our communities today. The Strengthening Communities Campaign will create facilities to serve the health and wellness needs of diverse populations; expand the opportunities for more children to have quality child care in urban neighborhoods and dynamic camp experiences in the Finger Lakes; ensure our future through endowment growth; and attract ongoing support for our annual outreach efforts.

We value our role as stewards of the private resources we use for public benefit. The Strengthening Communities Campaign is about impact-investing from the community’s philanthropists and organizations to enable the Y to increase the capacity of our social economy. Will you join us in this endeavor to strengthen our YMCA that strengthens our communities every day?

Jurij Kushner

Strengthening Communities Campaign Chair


George Romell

President & CEO

Why the Y?

Challenges for our Youth


Obesity is a major public health problem. Adolescents who are overweight are at a higher risk of becoming obese as an adult, and developing chronic diseases like type II diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. In our community, fifteen percent of children age two and older are in the obese weight category and another 15% are in the overweight category. Rates are higher in the city (39%) compared to the suburbs (26%). In the past decade, the prevalence of diabetes and pre-diabetes among adolescents increased from 9% to 23%.
Only 24% of Monroe County youth reported they engage in at least one hour of physical activity per day, which is lower than the national rate of 29%. Nearly two-thirds of Monroe County youth reported they spend more than two hours on a typical school day watching TV, playing video games or on the computer (not school related).

Mental Health

Youth with mental health problems are more likely to engage in health risk behaviors and have difficulty in school. Among Monroe County adolescents, mental health and behavioral disorders are the 2nd leading cause of emergency department visits and hospitalizations. The most common reasons for mental health ED visits were acute reaction to stress and adjustment disorders. Between 2004 and 2011, the number of youth ages 11-21 who received mental health emergency/crisis services increased 20%. Suicides among adolescents are the 3rd leading cause of death.

Poverty and Education

Children and adolescents living in poverty are more likely to have poorer outcomes in the areas of academic achievement, economic security, health, and emotional well-being. Poverty and low educational levels are associated with higher rates of illness, premature death and fair or poor self-reported health status. Rochester has the 7th highest child poverty rate among US cities. In Monroe County 17.6% of all adolescents age 12 – 17 live in poverty, 7.4% in the suburbs and 41.9% in the City of Rochester.
Children in low-income households typically enter kindergarten academically behind children in middle- or upper-income households, and as they move through school, they fall further and further behind. In the City of Rochester, 49% of 9th graders do not graduate from high school. The graduation rate is lower than all other New York State school districts. Studies show that during the summer, most students lose two months of grade level math skills; low-income students also lose more than two months of reading achievement. By fifth grade, children in low-income households are two to three years behind in reading compared to students in middle income families.

Endowment Fund

For more than 100 years, the YMCA of Greater Rochester has built an endowment fund that reflects the foresight of our members, community leaders and philanthropists to ensure the Y remains a vital resource for future generations. Endowment funds enable programs that address the challenges facing our youth and residents of urban and suburban communities. To serve more than 100,000 individuals across the New York State region, we must look as much to the future as we do today.

Challenges for a Healthy Lifestyle

Weight Control

In Monroe County, 30% of adults are in the obese weight category and an additional 36% are in the overweight category. Of these individuals, 45% said their doctor advised them to lose weight. The rate of obesity is higher in Monroe County compared to NYS (30% to 24%).
Rates of obesity are higher in the city compared to the suburbs, and among African American and Latino residents compared to White residents. Rates of overweight however are higher in the suburbs compared to the city. The behavioral causes of obesity are lack of physical activity and poor nutrition.

Chronic Disease

Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death in Monroe County. Cancer, heart disease and stroke account for more than half of all deaths. Two conditions that are risk factors for heart disease include diabetes and high blood pressure. Ten percent (10%) of Monroe County adults have diabetes, and 32% have high blood pressure – similar to the rates across NYS. Behavioral risks for cancer, heart disease and stroke include excess body weight, lack of physical activity, poor nutrition and smoking. In NYS an estimated 25% of adults have pre-diabetes. Those with pre-diabetes are five to 15 times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those without the condition. People with pre-diabetes are also at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Health Disparity

One of the most significant wellness challenges in our community is health disparity – an inequitable opportunity for socially disadvantaged populations to achieve optimal health. Residents of city neighborhoods in the northeast, northwest and southwest have significant social and environmental factors that contribute to health disparity including high rates of poverty, school dropout rates, inadequate access to healthcare, and a high density of vacant housing and stores that sell unhealthy foods, cigarettes and liquor. In these neighborhoods, crime and fear of crime have been identified as barriers to engaging in physical activity.

Our Financial Model

Suburban and Camp operations support Urban operations to ensure we continue supporting the critical needs of our community…

Comprehensive Campaign 3

YMCA of Greater Rochester: Meeting the Challenges

2010 – 2015

Capital Improvements

The YMCA of Greater Rochester’s comprehensive, philanthropic effort to address the challenges of our community began in 2010. Starting with the renovation and expansion of the historic Maplewood Family YMCA, the Y was able to address the health disparities that abound in the urban core. Those who live in poverty, with transportation barriers and limited resources have a nearby and safe resource – open to all – for skilled support in pursuit of their wellness goals.
The expansion of the Eastside Family YMCA that opened in early 2015 was another milestone in the Y’s ability to be a community leader for health and wellness. A first of its kind partnership with the University of Rochester Medical Center has put full-time physicians, nurses and physical therapists in the Y where they are able to utilize the facility’s resources to address the health needs of the community.

Annual Support

During the first five years of this effort, the Y has also secured unprecedented support to ensure there are no financial barriers for children, families or individuals to engage in our community. The Annual Campaign exceeded $2,000,000 for the first time in 2012, and all total has raised $12,178,649 during this period.


To bring about lasting change, there must be a plan for the future. Leaders who understand the need for the YMCA of Greater Rochester to remain committed to supporting the community understand the critical role of growing an endowment and generously supporting its growth. Since we began this comprehensive effort to build our capacity for now and the future, our Y has received its largest ever pledge to the endowment. To date, more than $5,250,000 has been pledged for endowment growth including intentions aligning with donor’s passions to support overnight camps, urban youth, and aquatics.

2015 – 2020

Capital Improvements

In the coming years, the YMCA of Greater Rochester is focused on capital projects that respond to the critical challenges faced by our community’s residents. Each of these projects contain key design elements that will allow for program development or expansion to help our neighbors overcome the health and wellness challenges they may face – regardless of where they live.

The new Southeast Family YMCA will be a regional campus for healthy living – a national model for YMCA facility innovation. An estimated 130,000 square feet will be designed to combat health disparities and engage individuals of all ages with diverse abilities. By tripling the size of the current space, the new Y, located at the intersection of Clover Street and Jefferson Road, will have space to significantly expand programs in youth development from infants to teens. State-of-the-art gymnasiums, wellness, and aquatic facilities will attract, engage, and accommodate a much larger membership base to address their personal health and wellness.

YMCA Camp Cory (est. 1921) is nearing its 100th anniversary and for the first time in history has
expanded with the acquisition of 6 additional acres, growing the total camp parcel to 27 acres.
A new master plan – the Centennial Plan – will provide opportunities to grow programs and serve more overnight and day campers than ever before. Improvements to the existing waterfront, dining hall, and infirmary facilities will enhance functionality to accommodate more program participants. On the new acreage, cabins, a barn, pavilion, and activity fields will be constructed to increase the children and families who are able to participate in the camp’s essential outdoor programs.

Projects in the Y’s urban service area of Rochester will enable expansion of current programs while creating opportunity for new offerings. The growing socio-economic diversity among our urban populations requires us to think innovatively about our facilities while ensuring we remain in the communities that are often overlooked.

Annual Support

The YMCA of Greater Rochester uses annual philanthropic giving to offer programs and services that address Challenges for Our Youth, and Challenges for a Healthy Lifestyle across the region. In addition to removing any barriers to participation by providing financial assistance to the community,
annual support funds allow for innovative programs and services.

Youth Development is the social-emotional, cognitive, and physical process that all youth uniquely experience from birth to career. At the Y, we know that a successful development process fulfills children and teens’ innate need to be loved, spiritually grounded, educated, competent, and healthy. Program offerings throughout the Y include:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
  • Achievement Gap
  • Overnight, Day, and Specialty Camps
  • Youth Sports
  • Swim Instruction and Aquatic Programs
  • Teen (ages 13 and up) programming
  • Tween (ages 8-12) programming

Healthy Living is about spirit, mind and body at every age and stage. Ys offer classes and programs for those dealing with chronic disease, joint and injury rehabilitation, stress and pregnancy, in addition to health assessments and wellness coaching. With a commitment of being “open to all” the Y is uniquely positioned to address the need for equitable access to the tools and resources that provide opportunities to pursue a healthy lifestyle. Program offerings throughout the Y include:

  • Wellness Goals
  • LiveSTRONG® at the YMCA
  • YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program
  • EnhanceFitness
  • Healthy Weight and Your Child

Social Responsibility for the YMCA of Greater Rochester is about giving back and providing support to our neighbors.

  • Financial Assistance for membership and programs
  • Military Outreach
  • Food Stability
  • Diversity and Inclusion