Thursday, June 18, 2020

Hello All,

As I take this opportunity to share with you our 2019 Annual Report showcasing the great impact you helped us achieve over the past year in Tampa Bay… I can’t help but see all the critical work that’s still necessary in our community. The past few weeks have been challenging for many as we have watched frustration, grief and outrage grow into various displays of action in our communities and throughout the country - some positive, some negative. 

At the YMCA, our mission is to put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body FOR ALL. We are tolerant, we are loving and we deeply believe in embracing the best in humanity. In times like these, we pray for peace and reconciliation… and more importantly, we pray for change. 

As thousands continue to participate in demonstrations across our country to protest systemic racism and police violence, it’s important to engage in community dialogue. It certainly isn’t easy. Even conversations with friends and family can be difficult. They have the ability to expose our own vulnerabilities and they are deeply emotional. However, as difficult as these conversations may be, we need to understand that it is so important to not look away. Instead, we need to embrace these uncomfortable conversations so that they may encourage meaningful change. 

At the Y, we see this as an important time to commit to building a more equitable community where ALL of our neighbors feel safe and secure and where EVERYONE can reach their full potential with dignity. As we embrace this call to action, we also embrace the responsibility to combat systemic issues such as racism and bigotry that tend to fuel injustice and inequity. 

Our team is engaging in a lot of dialogue and listening… in order to gain perspective as to what this means for our Y and what opportunities lie before us as we tirelessly strive to be an organization of greater impact. To encourage collective healing and growth, we are creating safe spaces for staff, members and supporters to share personal reflections and ideas. Through this sharing, our hope, as an association, is to do an even better job of reflecting our core values.

At the Y, we love everyone. We embrace that which makes us all different and there is absolutely no place for hate in our organization. We promise to do our part to ensure the YMCA remains a place where our community can thrive, together.

With appreciation,

Matt Mitchell 
President & CEO