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April 20, 2023

Where Does $100 to the YMCA Go (2021)?

by Anne Paddock

If you donated $100 to the YMCA in 2021, how was that $100 spent? The answer depends on whether the donation was made to one of the local chapters (there are about 2,700 in the US) or to the YMCA of the USA (which is legally known as the National Council of YMCA’s of the USA) and is the parent organization in the US (that seeks to strengthen local YMCA”s through grants and program support) or the World Alliance of the YMCA (the parent organization of the 119 countries in the world that have YMCA’s), based in Geneva, Switzerland.  For the purposes of this post, let’s assume the donation was made to the YMCA of the USA (because each of those local chapters is a separate 501 (c) 3 that files its own IRS Form 990 so the answer could have 2,700 different answers).

The short answer is that $30 out of every $100 was spent on staff and organization expenses while $35 out of every $100 was spent on grants and fees for services that primarily supported program services.  The remaining $35 out of every $100 was put in the general fund (think savings account).

The YMCA of the USA is overseen by 28 independent voting members of its governing body.  12 of the 28 (43%) are female while 16 of the 28 (57%) are male (note:  The Form 990 does not report gender; determinations were made based on name and google searches and are presented to show if the board is diversified).

In 2021, the YMCA of the USA reported total revenue of $145 million (compared to $118 million in 2020 and  $137 million in 2019).   Most revenue came from four sources:

  • $66 million (46% of revenue):  Contributions, Gifts, and Non-Government Grants
  • $62 million (43% of revenue):  Programs (Social Responsibility, Youth Development, Healthy Living)
  • $11  million (8% of revenue):  Government Grants
  • $ 5   million (3% of revenue):  Investment/Gains

What is most striking about the above information, is that the YMCA relied more on contributions, gifts, and grants in 2021 than on program revenue.

Expenses totaled $94 million (not including $2 million in depreciation) – $50 million less than total revenue received in 2021  or 65% of revenue – and can be categorized as follows:

  • $28 million (19% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $27 million (19% of revenue):  Fees for Services (primarily training partners and program assistance)
  • $23 million (16% of revenue):  Grants
  • $ 9  million (6% of revenue):  Office-Related Expenses
  • $ 4  million (3% of revenue):  Advertising and Promotion
  • $ 2 million (1% of revenue):  Other (organization dues, interest, etc)
  • $ 1 million (1% of revenue):  Travel and Conferences

Using the above information, every $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100:  Revenue

-$ 19:  Compensation

-$  6:  Office-Related Expenses

-$  1:  Travel and Conferences

-$  3:  Advertising and Promotion

-$  1:  Other Expenses

-$ 30:  Subtotal Expenses

  $ 70:  Revenue Remaining

-$ 19:  Fees for Services

-$ 16:  Grants

-$ 35: Subtotal: Fees for Services and Grants

 $ 35:  Revenue Remaining:  To General Fund

The largest expense is for compensation for the 194 employees (compared to 310 employees in 2020) who received $28 million, which equates to an average compensation of $144,000.  However, only 91 employees received more than $100,000 with the most highly compensated employee reported to be Kevin Washington, President and CEO who received $855,104 in compensation in 2021.

Fees for services from outside vendors was the second largest expense at $27 million – most of which was spent on service training partners and tech assistance for various programs.

The third largest expense is grants:  $23 million in grants (compared to $49 million in 2020) or 16% of revenue, was awarded in grants in 2021:  $21 million domestically and $2 million overseas.  Grants were primarily provided to YMCA”s or affiliated members of the World Alliance of the YMCA. 383 grants greater than $5,000 were awarded to YMCA’s in the US, primarily for program support.

The YMCA of the USA had $186 million in net assets at the end of 2021 (compared to $130 million at the beginning of the year) primarily because the organization cut expenses (primarily staff) and spent $50 million less than the organization raised and had $10 million in unrealized gains on investments that were partially offset by a $4 million loss on a sublease.

In summary, the YMCA of the USA experienced a $20 million surge in revenue in 2021 after a $20 million drop in revenue in 2020 due to Covid.  Staff cuts were made (there were 194 employees in 2021 compared to 310 employees in 2020 and 407 employees in 2019) although average compensation increased (from $113,000 to $144,000) because compensation costs did not decrease as much as staff cuts (compensation decreased from $46 million in 2019 to $37 million in 2020 to $28 million in 2021).

$44 million (or $30 out of every $100) was spent on compensation for employees, office-related expenses, travel and conferences, advertising, and other expenses; while $50 million (or $35 out of every $100) was spent on grants and fees for services (primarily training partners and program assistance).  It is important to point out the total number of grants stayed about the same in 2020 and 2021 (at abut 400), the total grant revenue decreased from $49 million in 2020 to $23 million in 2021.

The YMCA of the USA spent $65 for eery $100 received which amounted to spending $50 million less than the organization received.  The allocation of these funds to the general fund resulted in a significant increase in the fund balance, which had nearly $200 million at year-end).

To read the IRS Form 990 (2021), click here.

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