YMCA of Greater Erie

Click here for a list of donors giving $100 or more to the 2017 campaign.

You know the challenges that we face in Erie.  People of all ages and backgrounds are struggling to reach their full potential.  More and more children face seemingly insurmountable learning gaps.  Families find it difficult to spend quality time together. People are not connected to their neighbors and face time happens through a phone. And, instead of seeing the income gap shrink, it seems all we do is watch it grow.

But, when challenges arise, the Y – and donors like you – steps in.  Everything the Y does, is in service of making us – as individuals and our community better.

Our Y sits at the forefront of several key issues facing the Erie community including:

  • Safe Spaces: Drowning Prevention/Learn to Swim, After School Enrichment, Teen Center, Diabetes Camp
  • Health: Wellness for Veterans, Senior Activities Outreach, Family Strengthening
  • Learning: High school graduation rates, Early Learning Readiness, Literacy, Autism Camp
  • Meals for Kids: Food + Fun Bus, Healthy Eating Standards, Summer Foods

From safe spaces to academic achievement, when you donate to the Y, you’re giving those in need opportunity to thrive.

“Because I Give, the Y can do great things for the entire community.”

For Safe Spaces


All kids and teens need a safe and productive environment to both release energy and discover their potential.  The Y is Erie’s community space, providing programs to help youth learn, grow and thrive.

He says he has nothing good in his life – except this piano at the Downtown Y. He doesn’t really know how to play, but is determined to teach himself. He says that with each stroke of the keys, he forgets the taunting kids and how he feels inside.

We believe that if you give teens something to do, a place to go, a purpose -they are capable of amazing things.

  • Drowning is still the second leading cause of accidental death in kids under 14.  We provide community based learn to swim programs.
  • 18% of kids in PA are responsible for taking care of themselves afterschool.  We provide scholarships for low-income kids wanting to attend afterschool enrichment programs.
  • Only about ½ of youth are exposed to the 40 Developmental Assets which help prepare them for life and avoid risky and unhealthy behaviors.  We provide community based programming that offers mentorship, creative space, academic enrichment, positive values and conflict resolution.
  • Kids with diabetes often feel excluded from their favorite activities including birthday parties, holidays and sleepovers.  We provide scholarships for youth to attend Diabetes Camp at YMCA Camp Fitch – an inclusive camp with support staff which helps them feel included with their peers.

Read Alex Staley’s Story

For Learning

babies hands on top of mums hands

Research shows that many youth from underserved and low-income families need extra support in reaching their potential.  They often start kindergarten underprepared and fall behind their peers as they progress through school.  That “gap”, known as the achievement gap, presents not just immediate hurdles for these students, but also long term challenges for us all.

She and her children made the difficult decision to leave Nepal to Erie via a refugee camp.  But, they never looked back.  She wants her children to have more.

We believe all children are capable of greatness and, if given a chance can realize their dreams.

  • 40% of Erie’s kids are unprepared for Kindergarten.  We provide scholarships for low-income kids to attend high quality preschool at little or no cost and a community based program to help caregivers at home.
  • 4 out of 5 inmates in Erie are high school drop outs. We provide community based tutoring, job readiness and post-secondary programs for teens.
  • 30% of third-graders in Erie score unproficient in 3rd grade reading.We provide learning programs which lay the foundation for reading readiness through daily reading and language based skills including vocabulary, letter and sound identification.

Read Aisha’s Story

For Meals for Kids

Piece of bread in hands

The Y is committed to keeping kids nourished all year long.  More than 16 million children and teens under 18 live with food insecurity, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  And, when the school day ends, many of these youth are at risk of going hungry.

Unlike most kids, he was not excited for summer.  Sure, he likes playing outside and hanging out with his friends.  But, summertime for is also a time for uncertainty and hunger.

We believe that if you give kids a place to go where they can be safe, where they can fill up on the good stuff -they are capable of amazing things.

Many Erie kids are worried about where their next meal will come from – and access to healthy food – any food – is a concern for them.  We provide a mobile meals site for kids – YMCA Food + Fun bus – serving healthy meals right in neighborhoods.

  • 30% of Erie’s kids are overweight or obese.  We commit to limiting processed foods and increasing fresh fruit and vegetables in our meals through our program and community based meals sites.
  • Erie County has 10 food deserts – areas where access to healthy food is a concern for kids.  We provide a mobile meals site for kids – YMCA Food + Fun bus – serving meals right in neighborhoods.

Read about the Food + Fun bus

For Health

The American Flag

The Y aims to improve our community’s health and well-being by providing programs and activities that promote wellness, reduce the risk for disease and help others reclaim their health.

Matt was in excellent physical and mental shape when he joined the Army.  But, a 2010 deployment to Afghanistan, returned Matt back to his family with issues with his hips, neck and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. 

We believe that we can help people overcome what seem to be insurmountable obstacles through programs and activities for all that promote wellness, reclaim their health, and strengthen relationships.

  • More than 5,000 Veterans in Erie County are currently treated for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrom.  We provide free wellness programs and Y membership for Veterans to help them deal with anxiety and return back to society.
  • 15% of Erie County’s population is over age 65.  We provide community based programs for seniors to help them keep active, prevent illness and stay connected with others.
  • 25% of families spend less time together and 43% don’t eat family dinner.  We provide community based programs that strengthen family bonds.

Read Matt’s story

Read Tracy’s Story


Video Stories of Impact

The player below will guide you through several stories of how our Y has impacted the community of Greater Erie. You can choose to play all or select the story you’d like to see from the menu in the top left corner of the player.


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