In 2007, the YMCA of Greater St. Louis leadership announced the creation of a specific initiative, Urban Core, to fund programs that help low-income residents in the St. Louis area as part of its “Building a Stronger, Healthier Community” capital campaign. In particular, we recognized that families in our St. Louis City and North St. Louis County Y’s share many common challenges, plus these branches also lack the funds to support Y programs to address them. The major challenges include:
- Low literacy and math skills
- Rising obesity rates and related health issues due to widespread lack of exercise and poor diet
- Limited prospects and ambition among youth who have limited access to academic opportunities and meaningful academic/career guidance
- Shortage of youth activities, especially ones nurturing development into healthy, productive citizens
Addressing Urban Challenges
Our urban branches were already offering several programs to address these challenges using limited support from branch members and the corporate Y office. However, we also knew that we must coordinate and expand efforts to truly have a significant impact. We wanted to make sure that helpful programs reached as many people as possible, offering the programs more widely and fairly across the Urban area especially in these branches:
Carondelet Park Rec Complex – 930 Holly Hills, St. Louis, MO 63111 (St. Louis City – Carondelet area)
Downtown YMCA – 1528 Locust, St. Louis, MO 63101 (St. Louis City)
Emerson Family YMCA -3390 Pershall Road, St. Louis, MO 63135 (North St. Louis County)
Monsanto Family YMCA – 5555 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63112 (North St. Louis City)
O’Fallon Park Rec Complex – 4343 West Florissant, St. Louis, MO 63115 (North St. Louis City)
South City Family YMCA – 3150 Sublette, St. Louis, MO 63139 (South St. Louis City)
Washington University Campus Y – One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130 (St. Louis City)
Urban Core Expands Access
Urban Core became a component of our YMCA’s major capital campaign “Building a Stronger, Healthier Community” in 2007. It aimed to expand select Y buildings and equipment resources. Our program goals for the campaign included these efforts:
- To triple the number of youth reached through programming and sites, while meeting rigorous expectations for quality and effectiveness.
- To increase the mental and physical health of young St. Louisans through replication and expansion of Y’s social and fitness programs that reach communities in need.
The YMCA successfully worked to achieve these goals by 2012 through branch efforts and expansion of established programs. The last five years also witnessed an evolution of innovative programs like Science Gone Mad and Vertical Horizons. Now, we look to sustain and further build on these achievements through additional general and designated gifts to Urban Core initiative.
Supporting Urban Core
For more information, please see our Sustaining the Urban Core overview (Sustaining the Urban Core Information Packet - include link to PDF if possible) or contact Wendy Cornett-Marquitz, Senior Vice President of Association Advancement (314-436-1177).