Feature Article - June 2021
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Trends in YMCAs, YWCAs, JCCs and Boys & Girls Clubs

A Look at Trends in YMCAs, YWCAs, JCCs and Boys & Girls Clubs


In these pages, we cover Ys, which includes not only YMCAs, but similar facilities that typically operate as nonprofits and provide similar services, such as YWCAs, JCCs and Boys & Girls Clubs. These facilities tend to stand apart in ways other than their nonprofit status, including their diverse program offerings and outreach to their communities. Respondents from Ys and similar facilities made up 8.2% of the survey response in 2021.

Y respondents were most likely to be located in the Midwest. Some 31.6% of Y respondents said they were from this region. They were followed by the Northeast, which is home to 22.8% of Y respondents. Smaller numbers were from the South Central region (18.4%), the South Atlantic (14.9%) and the West (12.3%).

Well over half (56.1%) of Y respondents said they were located in suburban communities. Another 22.8% were located in urban areas, and 21.1% were to be found in rural communities.

On average, Y respondents said they reach a population of 106,700 people, up from 83,310 in 2020. They were slightly less likely to reach 20,000 or fewer, while being slightly more likely to reach 100,000 or more, when compared with respondents from other types of facilities. Some 38.1% of Y respondents said they reach a population of 20,000 or fewer, compared with 43.9% of non-Y respondents. On the other hand, 28.3% of Y respondents said they reach a population of 100,000 or more, compared with 20.3% of non-Y respondents.

On average, respondents from Ys said they manage 4 facilities, up from 2.5 in 2020, but not much changed from 2019, when the average was 4.2. They were much more likely than other respondents to manage between one and three facilities. Some 74.6% of Y respondents said they manage one to three facilities, compared with 58.1% of non-Y respondents. On the other end of the spectrum, while 8.8% of Y respondents manage 10 or more facilities, nearly twice as many—16.2%—non-Y respondents said they have at least 10 facilities to manage.

Y respondents were much more likely than other respondents to report that they form partnerships with other organizations. The vast majority—97.4%—of Y respondents said they have such partnerships, compared with 87.1% of non-Y respondents. They were also more likely to engage with every kind of partner covered by the survey than their non-Y counterparts. The most common partners for Ys in 2021 were: nonprofit organizations (86.8%, compared with 46.6% of non-Y respondents); local schools (86% vs. 60%); local government (67.5% vs. 54.8%); corporate or local businesses (64.9% vs. 32.1%); and health care or medical facilities (64.9% vs. 20%). (See Figure 61.)

Y respondents were most likely to report that they primarily serve all ages. More than half (54.4%) said they reach all ages. Another 23.7% said they primarily reach adults, while 15.8% primarily serve children ages 4 to 12 at their facilities. Smaller numbers said they primarily reach infants and toddlers (2.6%), teens (1.8%) or seniors (1.8%).

Revenues & Expenditures

Following a very good year in 2019, when more than six in 10 (61.2%) Y respondents reported an increase in revenues, Y respondents were the most likely to report that their revenues had fallen in 2020. In fact, 83.9% of Y respondents said their revenues in 2020 were down, compared with 63.2% of non-Y respondents. Another 16% of Y respondents said their revenues had either remained flat (8%) or increased (8%) in 2020. (See Figure 62.)

Y respondents had a relatively positive outlook for 2021, with 41.1% expecting revenues to increase and 29.5% expecting no change. Another 29.5% of Y respondents said they expect their revenues to decrease in 2021.