Dear Friends,

I am honored to be introducing my first annual report as President and CEO.

The last year at McGaw has been a year of transition. Since assuming this role in April 2018, I have appointed five new members to McGaw’s Core Team. This combination of senior leadership brings a renewed focus on the fundamental elements of our mission—youth development, healthy living and social responsibility—delivered in fresh ways with higher expectations for impact.

High expectations means a more intentional strategy of serving the youth in our community. This past year, we refreshed our youth program offerings. Project SOAR and Y-Achievers have come to an end. However, mentoring, academic support, character development and out-of-school enrichment opportunities— all signatures of the McGaw YMCA—have been integrated across our spectrum of programming. The intention of this strategic approach is to support participant retention over time, so we see more measurable program outcomes for all ages.

With that same intention, we are continuing to serve the adult members of our community in impactful and meaningful ways. We have been life-long partners in health and wellness at many stages in life. We are a place to invest time and expertise as volunteers, a home for adult men, and a partner in creating community through access and equity for all.

As you read through this annual report, you will see a snapshot of the big vision that provides personal transformations. I ask that you view this printed report as an initial invitation to visit our new digital edition at www.mcgawymca.org/AR2018, where we share more of Ciara, Jasira, Nolan and Kenny’s stories.

McGaw has been honored to be the place where all of Evanston can come and feel welcome when they are not at home, work or school. Our commitment to community is stronger than ever. Thank you for reflecting on these successes and looking to the future with us.


This year, we have continued to innovate and strengthen our partnerships. By joining forces with other organizations, we can best serve our community. Over that past year we’ve worked collaboratively with organizations to ensure our community has access to important community resources. Some of these partners include:

• Childcare Network of Evanston

• City of Evanston

• Cradle to Career

• Connections for the Homeless

• Evanston/Skokie School District 65

• Evanston Township High School District 202

• Family Action Network

• Family Focus

• MetroSquash

• Northwestern University

• Y.O.U.


With some facilities dating back to the 1920s, McGaw is continuing the master planning work initiated in 2016 by strategically investing in our facilities on an annual and long-term basis. Each year we make updates to the Children’s Center, including a recent renovation of its Tot Lot, and this past year, Camp Echo began a multi-year fundraising initiative to update its physical structures. Our longstanding Men’s Residence program will also be starting a fundraising effort to update our historic building for current and future tenants.


The McGaw Y celebrates 133 years in November 2018 and we are already making plans for the next century and beyond. Planning for the future is possible because of the sustaining support of the Aiken-Talley Society (ATS), a community of loyal donors who have given consistently for ten or more years, made a gift to the endowment, or included McGaw in their estate planning. This year, the most significant addition to the ATS was a $2 million endowment gift from The Davee Foundation, which will benefit fee assistance for both the Men’s Residence and Camp Echo. This generous gift will help provide financial assistance in perpetuity.

staying in touch

McGaw is about access, equity and meeting our community where they are—even when it comes to technology. In early 2019, we will launch a new website that is both user-friendly and mobile-compatible. This new level of functionality will make for easier registration, offer ADA accessibility, and integrate our social media channels. We are eager to host you in person, and also connect with you online.

We nurture the potential of every child. See how our positive work has impacted Ciara and Jasira, two MetaMedia makers. Click below to read their story of friendship, learning and empowerment.


At the Children’s Center, we are a leading provider of year-round, high-quality education for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), we nurture development through age-appropriate curriculum and play-based learning. We give school-age kids support when they need it—after school and over the summer—closing the learning gap for more than 200 youth. We reach across Evanston, serving youth at our main campus on Maple, Head Start and School’s Out at the Foster Family Focus building, and several additional sites during summer.


MetaMedia, our free maker space for middle school students, has mentors who inspire youth to explore creativity through the digital arts and concepts based on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). This year, hundreds of youth developed skills for success in life right here at the McGaw Y. Our commitment to youth in Evanston is a key component of our mission. We have been consistent in offering programs designed to positively affect young people through hands-on learning, social-emotional connection, and mentorship—these are the building blocks for gaining confidence, staying motivated and overcoming obstacles.


Our free maker space for middle school students continues its partnership with Northwestern University. This safe, inspiring learning space brings together traditional artisans and technical creators to explore STEM concepts and express themselves in the digital arts. During the school year, we also piloted four new programs:

Science Club In partnership with Science in Society, 16 students worked with a Northwestern mentor to experiment and present science projects to their peers and judges in three separate science fairs.

MetaMakes Over the course of eight weeks, 52 youths gained exposure to thematic STEAM-based exploration and creation.

MetaExplorers During summer break, 32 makers explored different avenues of STEAM and problem solving.

Digital Divas This 16-week program supported 24 girls in the development of STEM identities. Participants worked face-to-face and online to design, create and re-imagine everyday artifacts and activities.

This summer, we offered the third annual MetaMedia Summer Experience (MSX), a free program designed to engage youth in entrepreneurship, invention and STEM. MSX strategically targeted 25 students to explore, build and brand their own inventions focused on environmentalism and sustainability. They then presented their projects to a panel of judges.


Summer means exploration at the McGaw Y. All our camps offer everyone the opportunity to discover new activities, develop new friendships, and make lasting memories. Camp Echo is an overnight immersion experience that instills in youth a connection to community and the environment around us, while building independence and self-assurance. This year, thanks to $1.9 million raised as part of its ongoing gift initiative, new cabins were built to serve even more campers. The Children’s Center day camps enrolled over a thousand children, ages 5–12 from every neighborhood in Evanston, who enjoyed themed activities in science, nature, art, and of course, swimming.

We welcome and encourage all interests, ages and abilities. Learn how Nolan, along with support and encouragement from the McGaw community, lost over 200 pounds.


Lifelong swimming begins at McGaw. Starting with the youngest swimmers all the way through adults, we nurture a love of the water. Aquatics is integrated in early childhood and after school programming at the Children’s Center and during summer 2018, we provided grant-funded swim lessons to over 100 youth in our community. Taking confidence in the water to another level, our 230 MYST swimmers won the 2018 Chicago YMCA District Swim Meet. Our pools are the place to be for all ages and abilities, facilitating a community of safe, strong swimmers.


Our Wellness Center continues to offer members broad access to the best in fitness. From our state-of-the art cardio equipment, cycling studio and heated pools, to our expanded range of high-quality group classes, there is something for everyone here. All ages can improve their health with affordable access to expert personal trainers and specialized massage therapists who promote well-being of mind, body and spirit. The McGaw Y is proud to be a supportive, comfortable and non-judgmental environment for fitness.


The McGaw Y athletic philosophy is based on the YMCA’s seven pillars of play: Safety First, Everyone Plays, Fair Play, Positive Competition, Family Involvement, Sport for All, and Sport for Fun. For youth, we focus on building basic skills, teaching good technique, and emphasizing our core values of respect, caring, honesty and responsibility. Our adult sports leagues provide an opportunity engage in an active community, thereby promoting a healthy lifestyle.

We model acceptance, compassion and equity for all. Discover how Men’s Residence staff helped Kenny navigate a path to restored eyesight and a new, unexpected quality of life.

access & equity for all

When we welcome members to the McGaw Y, they become part of our family. Here at McGaw, members can improve their health and well-being to bring meaningful change into their lives. Our programming is designed to support, encourage and uplift participants of all ages and backgrounds. We’re proud of our commitment to serve this diverse group of people, offering the Membership for All rate system based on household income and family size.


The need for affordable housing has been constant, but how we approach it has evolved. McGaw is providing more than just a safe environment for men, we are meeting their social, emotional and life-skills needs to support a better quality of life. Here, they feel a sense of security, belonging, a connection to community. Essentially, we allow our residents to create a home. It is this holistic intention that makes McGaw singular in its approach and a leader in providing a life-changing affordable housing experience in Evanston.


Volunteers make the McGaw Y a trusted pillar of this community. We truly value the gift of time that so many people give—as mentors, swim instructors, coaches, program advisors, front desk staff, and more. We empower our volunteers to make a difference by providing opportunities to serve on committees, help Camp Echo, participate in events, and support fundraising at the McGaw Y and around Evanston.


Our impact is growing as we continue to help those who need it most. As shown in our financials, our overall revenue for FY18 is up from the past two years. Thanks to the support of this community, together we are making a noticeable difference.


When you give to the McGaw Y, not only are you elevating our mission and values, you are providing opportunity and access for the entire community. This year’s expansion of our most loyal and long-term donor group, the Aiken-Tally Society, allows the impact of such generosity to continue well into the future.


Our financial statement for the 12 months that ended June 30, 2018 shows a significant improvement over the prior two years.

Leveraging the expertise of YUSA and our Business and Finance committee members, we engaged in a robust cost study during Fiscal Year 2018. During that time, we made notable improvements in the efficiency of operations at the Children’s Center, which had been operating at a deficit. We also made enhancements in programming at the Children’s Center, Camp Echo, and our Health and Wellness Center, which drove increased volume to our facilities. McGaw eliminated several no-fee programs which were not supported by grant funding. Through these efforts we were able to increase operating revenue while maintaining a flat cost structure year-over-year.

McGaw YMCA has changed its fiscal operating calendar to end in August 2018 to correspond with the camp season. Our organization can plan operations more effectively when our residential and day camp season does not cross multiple fiscal years. Our external auditors will provide a complete audit report of the 14 months from June 2017 to August 2018. The final audit report will be approved by the board on December 4, 2018 and updated on the digital version of the annual report.

For Fiscal Year 2019, the board has approved an operating budget which includes containing the cost controls implemented this year and increasing the number of individuals served in our community.

Thank you for continuing to support the McGaw Y. We are utilizing your generous gifts to create a better future for our community.

Dear Friends,

What a fantastic, fulfilling year we’ve had! The Board of Directors is so proud of this association for its life-changing work.

We are grateful for you, our community members, for your continued loyalty and generosity. Without your support we could not have made such a strong impact here in Evanston.

Each year I look forward to our annual fundraiser as a way to celebrate our incredible McGaw community. This past year, the event’s format was completely reimagined to bring everyone together in a distinctive cocktail party setting. A sense of warmth and connection were felt by all—it was a true celebration of our mission. Please save the date for the next one on January 26, 2019 when the Sebring-Lewis Center will again be transformed to raise dollars for the full spectrum of McGaw programs.

This year marks my third as your Board Chair, and it has been a remarkable journey serving in this role. I have been fortunate to watch some changes take place, enhancing our efforts, and I’ve seen new collaborations with like-minded organizations expand our reach and scope of programming. Together, with you, our future looks stronger than ever.

I believe in our commitment to community and our ongoing commitment to equity, access and inclusion. The work of the McGaw Y inspires everyone to embrace these values and, like a spark that ignites light, we are brightening the lives of so many people. Here, we are the catalyst for positivity.

Thank you for viewing our Annual Report. Click below to show your appreciation, and feel free to pass this along to a friend to share our story.

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