JOIN the YMCA's Boys & Young Men of Color Strategy | YMCA DC

JOIN the YMCA’s Boys & Young Men of Color Strategy

Partner with YMCAs Across the Country to
Help Boys and Young Men of Color Achieve and Succeed.

“The Boys Aren’t Broken, The Systems Are” — Annenberg Institute

The Challenge

Historic and systemic inequities create enormous barriers to success for boys and young men of color, holding them back from achieving their full potential.  This hurts our communities, our economy, and our nation as a whole.

  • Boys of color are 2x as likely to grow up in poverty.
  • Schools with 90% or more students of color spend $733 less per student per year.
  • In 99% of U.S. neighborhoods, Black boys earn less in adulthood than white boys who grow up in families with comparable incomes.

The YMCA’s Solution

The YMCA’s Boys and Young Men of Color Strategy supports teens of color through programs proven to strengthen five pillars of success. Together with our partners, we’ve helped thousands of teens thrive in school, in the workforce, and in life.


• Impacts students’ educational drive
• Empowers participants to believe in their capabilities
• Prepares them with the skills to achieve academic success

College & Career Readiness

• Develops college- and career-ready young people
• Creates pipelines to connect participants with postsecondary education and meaningful jobs
• Provides work-based learning experiences, financial education, skills development, career/college planning, resource navigation

Character Development

• Creates experiences and environments that strengthen social-emotional competencies
• Supports character development across core Y values: honesty, caring, respect and responsibility

Belonging/Community Building

• Helps young people build healthy relationship with peers and adults
• Fosters positive cultural identity and self-identity
• Supports community connections and civic engagement Health & Well-Being
• Works with young people to develop healthy physical fitness and eating habits
• Focuses on healthy lifestyle changes that can prevent chronic conditions in adulthood (diabetes, heart disease, etc.)
• Combats food insecurity

Why Partner With the Y?

For more than 170 years, the YMCA has directly impacted the lives of boys and young men of color with academic, leadership, and character development programs.

The YMCA now has:   

  • 2,700 centers nationwide
  • 20,000 staff &
  • 500k volunteers

This makes the YMCA the largest community-serving nonprofit with boots on the ground in almost every city and town every day.

Vice President Harris addresses Boys and Young Men of Color Strategy Leaders

Our Partners

Our partners inspire and empower teens of color to achieve measurable progress toward their bold long-term goals for themselves, their careers, and their communities. 

To reach more boys and young men of color, the YMCA is seeking both local and national partnerships with:

  • Companies
  • Governmental groups
  • Schools, and
  • Nonprofit service providers

Learn how your organization can meaningfully invest in, advocate for, and engage with successful strategies and practices in communities of color.


The YMCA is currently on track to build pathways to success for 10,000 boys in 2025.  Join us to create impact in the communities you serve.

75% will have improved grades.

90% improve social-emotional health and well-being.

93% will have a post-high school plan.


To learn more about the Boys and Young Men of Color Strategy, and how you can help equip and empower thousands of young men to achieve more every day, please email Nekita Nesmith –