Together, the nation's 2,617 YMCAs (including the YMCA of Central Texas) make up the largest nonprofit community service organization in America, working to meet the health and human service needs of 20.2 million men, women and children in 10,000 communities in the United States. Ys are at the heart of community life across the country: 42 million families and 72 million households are located within three miles of a Y.
YMCA stands for Young Men's Christian Association, but don't misinterpret this to mean that Ys are only for "young, Christian men." From its start more than 150 years ago, when George Williams founded the Y as a substitute Bible study and prayer for life on the streets, the Y was unusual because it crossed the rigid lines that separated all the different churches and social classes in England during that period. This openness was a trait that would lead Ys to recognize their strength is in the people they bring together -- Ys are for all people of all faiths, races, ages, abilities and incomes. Y financial assistance policies also ensure that no one is turned away for reasons of inability to pay.