YMCAPGH Statement on Combating Racism

As the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh prepares to reopen its branches this week, we do so fighting two pandemics: COVID-19 and the ongoing crisis of systemic racism. 

The collective impact of the needless and inexplicable tragedies that befell George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Antwon Rose II and far too many black men, women and children before them, has tipped off a level of unrest and activism that hasn’t been seen in a generation. 

This comes at a time when many are focused on a return to “normalcy”. The simple truth is that we must reject the normalcy that has produced and sustained systemic racism and the broken systems of housing, health care, education and public safety which have oppressed Black Americans and other people of color.

For more than 165 years our Y has worked to fill the social and institutional voids that have often left historically black communities at a distinct disadvantage. And while we are no longer able to maintain a brick and mortar presence in some communities, we have continued our presence in these and other proud, though distressed communities, through partnerships with community allies and mobile program delivery models. 

But this is not enough.

If we are to do our part to help end racism in our community, we must start from within: within ourselves, within our homes, within our places of work and within our communities. As such, the board and leadership of the YMCA, commit to the following: 

  • We will deepen our commitment to the programs and services that are so critical to creating a strong foundation in every community – healthy food choices, job training, affordable quality housing, strong educational reinforcements, and accessible health and wellness options.
  • We will link arms with other partners and community allies to amplify anti-racism strategies on a local and regional basis.
  • We will introduce anti-racism and anti-bias education to our workforce and to the various volunteer boards that support our work in Allegheny, Beaver and Somerset Counties.
  • We will deepen our commitment to board diversity, along every spectrum of diversity, to ensure that all of the voices of our community are at the decision table.

While we can implement new processes and procedures, together we will continue to learn on this journey and help our community to heal. We have no clearer beacon to guide us than the last two words of our own mission statement: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body FOR ALL.


Kevin Bolding
President and CEO 
YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh

David Bluemling
Board Chair
YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh

Michael Polite
Board Vice Chair
YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh