Young people are our future. And we believe that the most powerful way to elevate young people is to work with others, who share our commitment to empowering them to be problem-solvers and change-makers in their communities and in the world.
By working together, we are able to leverage the strengths of our extraordinary partners – their networks, their knowledge, their resources or otherwise – to achieve more with and for young people.
At the World Alliance of YMCAs, we are building partnerships with international organizations, corporations, foundations, philanthropists, research institutes, youth groups and others working internationally to empower young people to realise their potential.
Ways to partner with us
You can choose to support a specific programme, country, or emergency appeal by making a financial donation or by donating products or professional expertise. See our Donate page for more information.
Y’s Men International serves the worldwide YMCA and the communities in which it is present through financial and in-kind donations.
Sponsorships from the Y’s Men international have been dedicated to empowering young people through YMCAs around the world, including scholarships, leadership development, travel stipends to join international YMCA conferences, and to provide institutional grants to YMCAs struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The YMCA is proud to have multi-year agreements in place with organizations with whom we work together to tackle some of the greatest challenges that young people face today, in the areas of health, employment, environment, and civic engagement.
Basketball began at a YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA over 130 years ago. In 1891, Physical Education teacher James Naismith was challenged to come up with an indoor winter game. He hung two peach baskets about 10 feet off the ground – and the rest is history. The partnership between World YMCA and the FIBA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) embraces this shared history and each organisation’s passion for enabling young people to realise their potential.
The initial collaboration focuses on two areas: the shared cultural heritage and developing a youth empowerment program through leveraging the power of basketball and interactive curricula on sustainable development themes, leadership, mentorship, and design thinking to empower young people to initiate a positive change within their communities.
The FIBA Foundation’s Basketball For Good program uses the power of basketball to empower young people to initiate positive changes in their communities and is a perfect fit with YMCA’s youth leadership and youth-led solutions approaches and extensive basketball programs.
Look for ongoing updates on both organisations’ websites and social media.
WWF International is an independent conservation organization active in nearly 100 countries. It is working to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and wildlife. World YMCA and WWF International are partnering to engage young people in sustainable development through community programming, education, advocacy and campaigns in the areas of conservation, biodiversity, and the New Deal for Nature and People.
We have worked together in initiatives such as Earth Hour, biodiversity, and the YMCA Youth Led Solutions Initiative on Climate Action.
MIT SOLVE ED is an educational and innovation initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It equips young people with the knowledge, tools, and resources to practise problem identification and solution design. Solv[ED]’s approach prioritizes experiential learning, accessibility, and community-building among young problem-solvers.
Through our partnership, young people from YMCAs around the world have access to year-round programming, including learning sessions, workshops, micro-grants, open innovation challenges, prizes, and an open-access online course.
INTERSPORT Switzerland is the largest association of sports retailers in Switzerland. For over 50 years INTERSPORT has stood for advice and service, sports expertise, and customer proximity.
This partnership between the World YMCA and INTERPORTS supports YMCA programs focused on sports and young people.
Goodwall is a professional development network, created primarily for students, entrepreneurs, and young professionals. It allows members to connect over shared interests, present themselves to universities and employers, and discover opportunities from scholarships to jobs.
Through our partnership, we are accelerating youth employment by connecting young people with employers and job opportunities as part of Goodwall’s #BetterTogether initiative.
Partnerships for Young People
We work in a variety of ways – both with peer organizations operating globally and with our YMCA associations – to bring more power to young people in communities to reach their potential and create a better future for all.
The YMCA is a proud member of the ‘Big Six’, which are the largest youth organizations in the world: the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), the World Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (‘The Award’).
Together, the Big Six advocate for a better world for young people. They join forces in communities around the world to engage young people from across our organizations to be leaders and change makers in their communities.
Read the policy recommendations which the Big Six launched in December 2020 to advocate for young people in a post pandemic world.
The Global Youth Mobilization was established in December 2020 as a movement of young people taking action to improve their lives now and in a post-COVID-19 world.
Supported by the world’s largest global youth organizations (the Big Six), the World Health Organization and the United Nations Foundation, the Global Youth Mobilization aims to address the negative impact of the pandemic on young people and support them to build back better.
This ground-breaking initiative is investing in and scaling-up youth-led solutions and youth engagement, directing support towards a generation of young people severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Watch the video about the YMCA’s engagement in the GYM initiative and follow our work. In May 2021, the World YMCA worked with 18 YMCAs around the world to launch a series of youth led initiatives funded thanks to GYM.
Advocacy and Partnerships
The World YMCA makes sure the voices of young people are heard at the highest policy levels with international organizations and decision-makers. In communities around the world, YMCAs are committed to providing safe supportive spaces in which dialogue and engagement on youth advocacy challenges can take place.
Decent Jobs for Youth is the global initiative of the International Labour Organization on youth employment, under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
As a partner, the YMCA is able to bring the voice of young people from the YMCA Movement to this global forum on youth employment.
Concordia is a member-based organization dedicated to fostering, elevating, and sustaining cross-sector partnerships for social impact.
Through its advocacy partnership with Concordia, World YMCA is proud to provide greater visibility to the important work of youth change makers. For example, we’ve joined forces to support young people to be seen as problem solvers in the world.
The World YMCA regularly works with like-minded organizations to empower young people through events, campaigns, workshops, and conferences.
World YMCA is proud to bring the voice of young people to the United Nations through our observer status with the UN and as a member of ECOSOC. We collaborate with UN agencies such as UNICEF, UNESCO and WHO to engage young people to lead the charge for change on a range of issues that are pressing for them and for the world.
Read about the work of our UN Advocacy Group here and about our contributions to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
World YMCA works closely with the UN Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, through its ongoing collaboration to empower young people to create the conditions that allow them to reach and unleash their full potential.
In October 2020, the Youth Envoy joined YMCA’s Youth Led Solutions Summit on Climate action for a live Q & A.
The World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is the premier global, CEO-led community of over 200 of the world’s leading sustainable businesses, which work collectively to accelerate the system transformations needed for a net zero, nature positive, and more equitable future.
The World YMCA is working with WBCSD as part of the organization’s Business Council to Tackle Inequality (BCTI), which is developing a business narrative and plan to support business address inequality and generate prosperity for all. World YMCA Secretary General Carlos Sanvee is a BCTI Commissioner, and senior members of the YMCA movement are contributing to working groups addressing issues such as business and human rights, diversity and inclusions, and the future of work, all through the lens of young people.
YMCA Youth Led Solutions Initiative
The Youth Led Solutions Initiative collaborates with like-minded organizations to invest and scale-up youth-led solutions.
The World Alliance of YMCAs collaborates with ecumenical organizations throughout the world.
The World Council of Churches (WCC) brings together 349 churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing over 560 million Christians.
The World Alliance of YMCAs is a related member of the WCC and is represented at its Central Committee.
The World Alliance has a close relationship with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. A member of the Council is an observer of the World YMCA Executive Committee.
The World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) is a global federation of student Christian groups. WSCF is ecumenical, welcoming people from all Christian traditions and encouraging dialogue between students of different traditions.
The World Alliance of YMCAs and the WSCF have a shared history: John R. Mott was the inspiration behind the founding of both international ecumenical organizations. Today there is an ongoing dialogue between the YMCA and WSCF at international level and in some of the regions, and many members of the Student Christian Movements go on to become YMCA leaders.
We are deeply grateful to our partners for their commitment, support, and enthusiasm for working to empower young people – from childhood to young adulthood – with the support they need to reach their potential and create a better future for all.
Why partner with the World Alliance of YMCAs?
The YMCA is one of the largest youth-focused movements in the world, with 175 years of experience and tradition empowering young people.
- Founded in 1844, we operate in 12,000 communities in 120 countries with some 90,000 staff, and nearly a million volunteers. We estimate that we reach 64 million people a year, including 45 million young people.
- Our partners gain access to a global network of millions of young people in thousands of communities around the world, as well as the YMCA Movement’s extensive network of national, local, and regional offices and the YMCA’s trusted global brand.
YMCA associations are deeply rooted in their communities and empower even the most marginalised young people
- We have decades of experience leading, sustaining, and scaling initiatives that build the resilience of young people and empower them to lead the charge for change in their communities and in the world.
- Our programs reach into some of the smallest communities and touch the lives of the most marginalised young people.
The YMCA offers an unprecedented scale
- Our global and local reach enables us to implement and scale initiatives in multiple countries, regions, and communities and foster sharing and learning across borders and cultures, helping young people to develop a global mindset and helping our global partners achieve their goals across regions and continents.
We are committed to empowering young people to tackle today’s most pressing global challenges
- The efforts of the World Alliance of YMCAs focus on four of the most important issues facing young people today: employment, health, climate, and civic justice.
Your partnership with us will enable young leaders to develop solutions to critical global sustainable development challenges impacting their lives and their communities. YMCA recognises the importance of creating space for them to lead and be heard, to gain new insights, skills, networks and to work in teams to design and test new approaches.