YMCA Solidarity Fund supports 27 National YMCAs in the time of Covid

Date: 01 October 2020

The YMCA Solidarity Fund was established in April 2020 with an ambitious goal: to offer institutional support to national YMCAs who are struggling due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Six months later, we are happy to report that 27 National Movements around the world are now being supported by the Fund, with over $460,000 approved for distribution. Those grants are estimated to be helping to sustain about 380 YMCA jobs.

How the money is being spent: read our article Going through the pandemic with solidarity and resilience

The Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected YMCAs around the world.  Many have had their operating models severely disrupted by the restrictions which have been imposed worldwide in order to help curb the spread of the virus. As such, the Executive Committee of the World YMCA approved the launch of the YMCA Solidarity Fund as an emergency initiative to offer much-needed support to struggling YMCAs which would either be at risk of closing or of laying off their staff.  Inevitably, this would mean reducing their capacity to serve their communities in times of need.

YMCA Romania

Recognising that institutional grants are rarely accessible in most countries around the world – since most funders focus on specific projects and initiatives – the World YMCA has specifically offered the funding to cover staff salaries, rent and essential administrative costs. This has provided a safety net which could prove to be critical for many national YMCAs.

Considering the complexity of launching a funding programme for the Movement in times of crisis, the World YMCA adopted a rigorous and transparent process which involved an evaluation of each application by three assessors, a consolidated evaluation with the Area Alliances of YMCAs, and a final decision by the Solidarity Fund Committee after considering all these elements. This led to detailed analysis of each application, and the selection of the grants which would provide support where it was most needed.

The YMCA Solidarity Fund was made possible by generous donations and contributions from individual donors, companies, national and local YMCAs of $386,000, to which the World YMCA added $200,000 from its reserves and its  Secours Spéciaux Fund. To date, $460,000 have been approved for disbursement following two Calls for Applications, with subsequent Calls to be made in the months to come as we monitor the status of the pandemic.

Carlos Sanvee, Secretary General of the World YMCA, said: “Yet again, I am proud of the collective spirit shown by the global YMCA community in the face of real challenge. What counts is our unshaking commitment to the service we offer to young people and to wider communities.  We have rallied round those who were struggling, and will continue to do so.”

We thank all those who have contributed to the Fund so far, and we wish the best of luck to our grantees who are working hard every day to offer critical support to their communities in the face of the serious consequences of the pandemic.

You can make a donation to the Fund and help national YMCAs continue their essential mission for supporting young people, families and communities.