Diversity and Inclusion at the YMCA

A group of people smiling for a selfie

The mission of the YMCA has always been to be a welcoming place For All - regardless of race, gender, religion, and ability, everyone is welcome at the Y. Dallas YMCA leaders entered 2019 with a renewed passion for Diversity and Inclusion, and decided to begin from within by educating and empowering YMCA employees. 

The Dallas Y was officially designated as a Global Center of Excellence in January of 2019 by YMCA of the USA. That is the name given to Y's that have satisfied the requirements of YUSA's Diversity Inclusion and Global (DIG) network. Dallas was number 84 in a network of over 2500 YMCA's and associations. 

Additionally, the Dallas Y was recognized for leadership development for progress made in innovation and leadership. Two main initiatives have contibuted to this progress: the Y's Dimensions of Diversity training and the introduction of Employee Resource Groups. 

Dimensions of Diversity:

This training was introduced to help employees better understand how to lead with inclusion and work effectively with people of different backgrounds, experiences, opinions, and perceptions. Throughout the course, participants recognize their own dimensions of diversity, recognize dimensions of diversity in others, and learn how to demonstrate diverse and inclusive behaviors in their communities. 

As of 11/4, nearly 200 full-time staff members have completed the Dimensions of Diversity training, which is 72% of full-time staff. With two more trainings scheduled before year's end, the Y hopes to meet their goal of 90% of full-time staff trained by 12/31. 

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs):

These employee-led groups provide a space for all staff (full- and part-time) to network, mentor one another, share knowledge and experiences, participate in personal and professional development, enhance leadership skills, inform strategic decisions, and provide consultation when needed. The goal of these groups is to build meaningful staff connections through shared experience, as well as create allies. 

On 11/15, the Y launched three ERGs: 

  • DREAM: African American Employee Resources Group
  • Campeones Unidos: Hispanic/Latino Employee Resource Group
  • Women Empowered (WE): Women's Employee Resource Group

In 2020, the Y will launch three more ERGs:

  • Emerging Leaders (for staff under 30)
  • Asian/Pacific Islander
  • LGBTQ

The Dallas Y has made great strides in Diversity and Inclusion, and recognizes the long road ahead to create a welcoming and inclusive environment. The Y continues to strive toward the goal of truly being For All, recognizing that we are all better together. 

Authored by: aalbitz