Feature Article - June 2008
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Helping Build Healthy Communities

A Look at Trends in YMCAs, YWCAs and JCCs

YMCAs, YWCAs, JCCs and similar organizations were represented by 5.8 percent of the survey respondents this year. This group of facilities mostly operates on a nonprofit basis—in fact, nearly 95 percent of respondents in this category said they were private, nonprofit organizations—to bring family services, health and fitness, camping and other programs to the community.

Respondents from YMCAs and similar nonprofit facilities were more likely than those in many other categories to be located in the Northeast region of the United States. More than a quarter (26.3 percent) of YMCA and similar facilities in our survey were located in that region. The largest number were found in the Midwest (38.6 percent). Smaller numbers were found in the other regions of the country, including the South Atlantic (14.9 percent), South Central (11.4 percent) and West (just 8.8 percent of YMCA respondents).

Like respondents across the board, YMCAs were most likely to be found in suburban communities. Nearly 44 percent of respondents said they worked for suburban facilities. Nearly 30 percent worked for rural facilities, and just over 26 percent worked for urban facilities.

Respondents from YMCAs, YWCAs and JCCs were more likely to report that they managed or operated just a single facility. Nearly 60 percent worked for a single facility, and another third (33.3 percent) said they managed two to three facilities. Less than 5 percent said they operated six or more separate facilities.

YMCAs and similar organizations were highly likely to report that their facility had formed partnerships of various kinds with other external organizations. Just 3.5 percent of respondents in this category said they do not partner with any other organizations, compared to more than 15 percent of all respondents.

The most common partnerships were formed with local schools and other nonprofit organizations. More than three-quarters of respondents in this category said they had formed partnerships with these types of organizations. Nearly two-thirds (64.3 percent) said they had partnered with corporate or local businesses, and nearly half (48.7 percent) had partnered with colleges and universities, or with health care facilities or medical facilities. In fact, the only external organization that fewer than 10 percent of respondents in this category said they partnered with was private health clubs. Less than 1 percent of YMCAs and similar organizations partnered with private health clubs, a finding that is perfectly logical given the competitive nature of many of these facilities offerings. (See Figure 54.)