The Secours Speciaux Fund began in the 1950s, when YMCAs in Eastern Europe were forced to close in the wake of communist regimes.
Many staff and volunteers were left with little or no means with which to meet pressing personal and family needs.
The first initiatives were taken by Mrs. Anna Limbert, the wife of the then Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs (Paul Limbert).
Mrs. Limbert started an aid programme based on her personal commitment to assist YMCA people who had served the organization with dedication and sacrifice for many years.
Over the years the Fund has widened its scope to cover many emergencies such as medical crises, natural disasters, inadequate or no pension, problems created by political turmoil, and human rights violations. Please click here for examples of grants made.
Geographically it has expanded to cover all countries with a YMCA.
In recent years grants have been made to retired YMCA staff in nations such as India, Mexico, the Philippines, Nigeria, Burundi, Venezuela, Senegal, Togo, Ghana, Uruguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras, Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic.
Most recently, it has set up special covid-19 funding programmes to support retirees facing poverty and hospitalized staff, who are unable to pay their medical bills.