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Public Policy

The Gateway Region YMCA is a health and human services nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charity where strengthening communities is our cause. We know that lasting personal and social change comes about when we all work together.  Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.

As part of our mission to serve the entire community, the Y provides financial assistance to allow access to our facilities and programs for children, adults, and families who may be unable to afford our services. The Y counts, in part, on the generous donations from the public to ensure everyone--regardless of age, income or background--has the opportunity to participate in our programs.The Y advocates at the local, state and federal levels to provide opportunities through Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility

Community Impact

In 2017, the Gateway Region Y:

  • employed 5,600 part and full-time staff.
  • served 286,094 members through membership and programs.
  • received assistance from 7,597 volunteers.
  • gave $6.2 million back to our communities in direct and indirect financial assistance.

The Y is for Youth Development
Every day, Ys nurture the potential of children and teens. Collectively the Y is the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of child care, with nearly 10,000 child care sites across the country. We advocate for increased funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, making it possible for parents from low-income families to gain access to safe, affordable and high-quality child care. The Y supports a variety of policy efforts to make child care sites, youth programs, camping and sports programs safer. One such piece of legislation is the Child Protection Improvement Act, which provides low-cost access to federal background checks of staff and volunteers who are working in any way with children and youth at the Y.

The Y is for Healthy Living
Improving the nation’s health and well-being is a core area of focus for the Y. We advocate for increased funding for chronic disease prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including the National Diabetes Prevention Program and the Healthier Communities Initiatives. We also advocate for local and national efforts to reverse the effects of childhood obesity on the nation’s youth.

The YMCA’s Healthier Communities Initiatives, supported by the CDC, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and others, focuses on collaborative engagement with community leaders, how environments influence health and well-being and the role policy plays in sustaining change. These initiatives empower local communities with proven strategies and models to create and sustain positive, lasting change for healthy living.

The Y is for Social Responsibility
As a leading non-profit, the Y advocates for important accommodations for the non-profit sector that allow us to give back and provide support to our neighbors. The heart of the Y is formed by millions of people committed to building a meaningful future for their community. We support policies such as tax incentives that promote charitable giving and reasonable reforms that promote good governance, accountability and transparency. The Y is also committed to enriching and providing volunteer opportunities for our youth and the thousands of adult volunteers who provide Y programs and activities.


YMCA Advocates Action Network: Lend your voice to support our cause

After nearly 170 years of serving our nation, the Y understands what our community needs to be its best. Working with many partners, the Y provides everyone the opportunity to be healthy and thrive, to connect with others, give back and contribute to a better community. Everything the Y does is in service of making us—as individuals, and a community—better.  When you advocate with the Y, you take an active role in bringing about meaningful, enduring change for your family, friends and community.

As an advocate of the Y, you can help:

  • Influence policies and initiatives that help youth develop healthy behaviors, values and life skills
  • Prevent and combat chronic disease
  • Build trust and understanding among community groups and decision makers
  • Positively impact societal issues of importance to the nation and your community
  • The Y is a nonprofit like no other. Advocate in support of a movement working every day to build healthier communities.


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