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YMCA of Metro Atlanta exemplifies excellence

By Lisa Cremin, director, community advancement, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Since 1984, the Community Foundation has recognized standout nonprofit organizations with our Managing for Excellence award. Nonprofits who apply for this unique grant recognition participate in a detailed and rigorous review and site visit process that analyzes their operations, governance and programs according to more than 80 criteria. Awards are given to one smaller nonprofit with an annual operating budget under $2 million and a larger nonprofit with a budget over $2 million.

The 2018 Managing for Excellence winner in the large nonprofit category is

YMCA of Metro Atlanta (YMCA). The YMCA has served the Atlanta community for 160 years, promoting healthy lifestyles and equal opportunities to learn and grow. Most people think about the YMCA and think physical fitness. Of course that’s part of their story. But today’s YMCA has adapted and grown well beyond what we may remember as the YMCA we grew up with.

If you observed a YMCA on any given day you’d see a microcosm of its surrounding neighborhood. There are programs and activities with broad appeal while serving individual’s needs. The organization is particularly aware of the wide range of individual and family needs among local residents. One attribute the Managing for Excellence review committee noted about the YMCA is their ability to respond to broad trends and changing conditions on a facility-by-facility basis. During our review process I visited the East Lake YMCA. It has become a natural extension of the Drew Charter School, offering sports and after-school programs for local students as well as summer programs to engage students year-round.

The YMCA’s management and board of directors are astute at developing a talent pipeline among staff as well as volunteers. Taking a long-range view, while also excelling at day-to-day operations, is critical to a nonprofit’s success.

Managing for Excellence winners receive a robust award package, including a $75,000 unrestricted grant from the Community Foundation, valuable consulting services from our Managing for Excellence partner, Boston Consulting Group, participation in a nonprofit management class at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago, as well as ongoing opportunities for recognition. To learn more about the Foundation’s focus on effective, sustainable and impactful organizations, check out the review criteria on our website. And stay tuned for an upcoming post here about the Managing for Excellence winner in the small nonprofit category, Synchronicity Theatre!

Featured photo credit: Robin Henson


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