Executive Committee meeting, October 2023

Date: 02 November 2023

The 2024 outline budget was approved and Vision 2030 progress was reviewed, during a hybrid 86th Meeting of the World YMCA Executive Committee on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th October 2023.

The President, the Deputy-President and the Treasurer joined World YMCA staff in Geneva, while some 20 Committee members joined online.

The Executive Committee welcomed US entrepreneur and philanthropist Jeannette Prenger as a new, ‘co-opted’, non-voting member, and bade farewell to Professor Chin-Seng Cheng, outgoing President of the Asia Pacific Alliance of YMCAs. Professor Cheng will be replaced by Rev Philip Thomas, a Bishop in the Syrian Orthodox Church in Malaysia.

Each day began with Devotions which set the work of World YMCA within the context of the global YMCA strategy that is YMCA Vision 2030.

On Saturday, Tim Roberts of YMCA Watford (UK) explored the way YMCAs bring light to the world, in the name of The Light of the World.

On Sunday, Emma Osmundsen, President of YMCA Europe, developed the theme: ‘You can blow out a candle, but not a fire’, encouraging the YMCA Movement to ‘ignite our Vision 2030 to the four corners of the world’ and telling the story of South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko.

The Meeting was also addressed by JUST Capital CEO Martin Whittaker on the importance of being an organisation grounded in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles. “In a world where trust is in short supply, you in the YMCA have a remarkable opportunity to leverage one of your most valuable assets – your trusted brand. People believe in you…. But that trust needs to be backed up by data and information. You can point with confidence to your North Star, Vision 2030.”

The meeting heard from World YMCA President Soheila Hayek, who announced the establishment of a task force to explore new funding and partnership opportunities. “I’ve seen remarkable strides in the implementation of our vision – more than I could have ever imagined”.

World YMCA Secretary General Carlos Sanvee laid out progress made in 2023 in the targeted two of four Vision 2030 Pillars (Meaningful Work, Sustainable Planet) and the targeted two of the four Movement Support functions (Strategic Alignment and Movement Support, and Resource Mobilization and Partnership).


“We began this process with no dedicated financial resource to make Vision 2030 happen, but we have started to raise the CHF 1.5 million we need over 18 months to make it fully operational", said Carlos Sanvee.

He drew a Biblical parallel with the story of The Feeding of the 5000 as to how we would do so, identifying two metaphorical fish and five metaphorical loaves as the precious commodities being sought out and gathered up – and offered for multiplication – by the YMCA Movement.

These fish and loaves are: its commitment to journeying together, its adopted approach of co-creation, its people, its way of working, its newly founded and longstanding relationships, its practice of sharing learning as it goes, and lastly its raw material: young people.

“This is what we offer to a Vision 2030-hungry YMCA”, he said.

The Meeting also received a report on the project ‘Exploring Christian identity, expression and narrative in the 21st Century global YMCA Movement – towards a unifying position’ at which – at a special online meeting on 14 October – the Committee had approved the launch of a worldwide ‘Conversation’ on the issue.

 Reports were presented by Sub-Committees, with highlights including:

  • Investment – the appointment of new bankers
  • Strategic Alignment – an update on the 2023-2026 Operational Plan (also addressed by the Secretary-General)
  • Governance & Movement Standards Committee – updates on advanced annual Membership requirements for National Movements and annual Governance ‘Health check’ appraisals
  • Resource development – a series of current funding proposals to benefit National Movements, for the Global Impact Fund, the four pillars of Vision 2030, and national projects to be supported by the recently-launched second phase of the Global Youth Mobilization
  • Finance – an overview of the likely year-end financial position, reflecting heavy up-front investment in putting in place structures and planning for Vision 2030
  • John R Mott Foundation – updates on properties held by World YMCA

Progress reports were also given on the YMCA Accelerator Summit planned for Mombasa in October 2024, and the 21st YMCA World Council in Toronto, Canada in July 2026.