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Mission and History


To put Christian Principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.


To be the premier community-based, charitable organization that embraces collaborations to build strong kids, strong families and strong communities.


The character development core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility will guide all our interactions and decisions.

Statement of Diversity and Inclusion

The YMCA of Greater Cleveland is an organization of people joined together by a shared commitment to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion, we seek to ensure that all segments of society have access to the YMCA and feel welcome and fully engaged as participants, members, staff and volunteers.

YMCA of Greater Cleveland History

YMCA's original buildingSince its founding in 1854, the YMCA of Greater Cleveland has provided quality programs and services across an increasingly wide spectrum that encompasses fitness, education, civic service and community health and well-being.

Among the nation’s oldest and most influential associations, its first building was on the north side of Public Square, a site now occupied by KeyBank.

Through the years it has played a significant role in the establishment of Cleveland’s juvenile court and probation system, city playgrounds, and the Legal Aid Society.

The Greater Cleveland YMCA was also the site of the first separate Boys’ Branch in the United States, which opened on November 12, 1901 in Ohio City.

In World War I, the Greater Cleveland YMCA partnered with the Red Cross for a fund-raising effort that eventually led to the creation of the United Way.

In 1921, the Cleveland School of Technology of the YMCA (Y-Tech) was organized. This school later became known as Fenn College and eventually Cleveland State University.

YMCA History

The Young Men’s Christian Association was founded in London, England, in 1844 to address the deteriorating social conditions of the time. The YMCA offered positive alternatives to street activities.

Read more about the history of the national YMCA movement here...

Today, there are YMCAs in more than 120 countries, serving an estimated 45 million people. The 2,686 YMCAs in America serve 10,000 U.S. communities, uniting 21 million children and adults of all ages, races, faiths, backgrounds, abilities and income levels. Our reach and impact can be seen in the millions of lives we touch every year.

Across the nation, YMCAs are committed to helping:

At every stage of life, YMCAs are there to help children,families and individuals reach their full potential.