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What makes the YMCA a charity?

The YMCA operates for the good of people and communities rather than for a profit. A key focus of our charitable mission is providing vital services that positively impact some of Canada’s most pressing health and social issues.

The YMCA is for everyone. That’s why you’ll find us taking extra steps to provide financial assistance to make Y programs affordable for everyone, ensure accessibility for children of all abilities, and delivering programs targeting specific groups or neighbourhoods without cost to participants.

How is the YMCA funded?

Funding for YMCAs in Canada comes from a variety of sources, specific to each Member Association. This can include:

  • Program fees generated through programs such as child care, health and fitness memberships and other programs
  • Donations
  • Funding and grants to provide services on behalf of partners, including municipal, provincial and federal governments
  • Funds from the United Way
  • Sponsorships

Does my membership or program fee support the YMCA’s charitable initiatives?

Your membership or program fees pay for the operating costs associated with your YMCA program. As such, you help to cover operating costs in buildings that are also home to charitable initiatives. 

The YMCA also relies on generous supporters who provide donations to ensure we can open our doors to everyone in the community, regardless of their circumstances. So by choosing to be a Y member, you are part of something larger. However, there is a more impactful role you can play in supporting your community by choosing to become a Y donor. Visit our Donate page to learn more.

Is the YMCA a religious organization?

In Canada, the YMCA is a charity where everyone is welcome.

The YMCA came to Canada in 1851 as the Young Men’s Christian Association and over time our federation has evolved to serve all Canadians, including all religions, ages, and genders. Our roots are reflected in our values of inclusiveness, caring, respect, responsibility and honesty that guide us as we foster a sense of belonging for all.

Globally, there are many different ways that Christian ideals are expressed by YMCAs around the world, based on the communities they serve and the social contexts within which they work. 

What does “YMCA” stand for?

When first established, Y.M.C.A. was an acronym for Young Men’s Christian Association. While you will still find that some YMCAs around the world still use this full name, many, including all YMCAs in Canada, are known simply as the YMCA. This reflects our commitment to serving people of all ages, genders, backgrounds and abilities through all stages of life.

Can I use my Health, Fitness and Aquatics Membership at any YMCA?

Most YMCAs in Canada recognize and honour memberships from other YMCA Member Associations, so you can stay active when you’re away from home. Similarly, Canadian YMCA memberships are generally recognized and accepted by international Associations. There are some exceptions, so be sure to check with the YMCA you want to visit to confirm their policy prior to visiting.

Can I rent a YMCA facility?

Many YMCAs offer opportunities to rent their gymnasiums, swimming pools and community rooms when they are available. For information please contact your local YMCA directly.

We need a YMCA in my community, who decides where a Y is built?

New YMCAs are the culmination of many factors: a recognized community need, broad-based community support, available resources including community funding and suitable real estate, and the potential for forming space sharing agreements with community organizations. If your community is interested in learning more, please contact YMCA Canada.

I received an unexpected job offer via email from someone claiming to be from the YMCA. I didn’t apply for a job. Is this offer legitimate?

We are aware that from time to time fraudulent job offers are sent from email addresses that may resemble legitimate YMCA Associations in Canada. The job offers may look convincing; containing the YMCA logo, naming specific YMCA Associations, addresses and job offer information. The sender may say they work for, or are a representative of the YMCA. Typically, these offers are accompanied by a request for a fee to be paid or banking information to be provided.

YMCAs in Canada do not charge fees in the recruitment process. Job opportunities are posted on our websites and established print (newspapers and trade publications) and related-industry web listings. If you did not apply for a job and were not expecting a job offer, we caution you to thoroughly research the offer to determine if it is legitimate.