The 30th annual YMCA MAYOR'S THANKSGIVING CELEBRATION brought together friends old and new to give thanks and to kick off the holiday season. While the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced our community's ability to gather in person, the virtual approach to this year's celebration allowed many to witness the event from near and far.

Enjoy these updates, performances and presentations and please learn more about the movement that is the YMCA of Greater Louisville by visiting YMCAlouisville.org

Featured presenters and performers from this year's celebration:

2020 EMCEE & Master of Ceremony

Dawne Gee

Dawne is a native of Louisville and has been an award-winning broadcasting professional for close to 26 years with WAVE 3.

She is a constant catalyst for community and the power of pulling together. Some of her recent work includes creating cookbooks focused on food security, one of the social determinants of health. Her boundless optimism for our region and for others is an inspiration and a blessing in the lives of everyone she reaches.

2020 Invocation

Richard Chandler

Richard is an outstanding young man with deep roots in the YMCA.

A senior at Wagner high school, Richard is a Whitney M. Young Scholar, the president of The KAPPA League and a 2020 recipient of the YMCA Youth Character Award, watch his profile video here:

2020 YMCA Report

Howard Holloman Jr.

Howard serves as the Chair of the YMCA of Greater Louisville Board of Directors. For over 20 years, he has served as a devoted volunteer with the YMCA Black Achievers program, including as a mentor in the Business and Communications Cluster.

Howard is the Senior Manager of Customer Fulfillment at GE Appliances.

2020 Community Report

Mayor Greg Fischer

Greg Fischer was elected Louisville’s 50th mayor in 2010 — and was sworn in for a third four-year term on January 5, 2019. Since taking office he has committed himself and his administration to the pillars of compassion, health and lifelong learning.

Mayor Fischer is determined to work with America’s mayors to set a bold agenda that promotes equity and opportunity for all as the nation’s cities work to rebuild their economies in the wake of COVID-19 and renewed calls for racial justice.

Mayor Fischer is a national award-winning entrepreneur who started and invested in dozens of businesses, including SerVend International and Iceberg Ventures, a private investment firm. He also co-founded bCatalyst, the first business accelerator in Louisville.

2020 Keynote Presenter

Harry Pickens

An award-winning performing artist, educator, composer, author and activist, Harry is truly a modern-day Renaissance man.

His career as a pianist has taken him around the world, featuring collaborative performances with many of the brightest stars in jazz, including Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Henderson, and James Moody.

Pickens is a recipient of the Kentucky Governor’s Award for The Arts In Education, the state’s highest honor in the creative and performing arts as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Fund for the Arts.

2020 Featured Performer

Merryll Loy

As a Junior at YPAS, Merryll Loy brought down the house at the 2013 YMCA Mayor's Community Thanksgiving Breakfast with her soulful rendition of Leonard Cohen's Halleluiah.

She is currently part of the amazing Southeast Christian Awaken Worship ministry here in Louisville.

2020 Featured Performer

Taylor Barton

Joining Merryll Loy this year is another amazing musician from Southeast Christian Awaken Worship ministry.

Taylor's beautiful guitar playing and and vocal harmonies were a wonderful addition to this year's Thanksgiving Celebration. Find out more about the amazing impact these young musicians are having on our community here.

The 2020 Spirit of Louisville Award


The YMCA Spirit of Louisville Award is presented, as warranted, by the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Greater Louisville on behalf of the community to an individual or organization who have served the community in multiple roles for many years through voluntary leadership, reflect the basic values of Honesty, Caring, Respect, and Responsibility for all individuals without regard to race, gender, religion, income, ability or nationality, and through attitudes and actions, fosters a positive community spirit for all the citizens of the Greater Louisville community.

This year’s recipient, the 19th in the awards’ history is Dawne Gee, who exemplifies all of these characteristics exquisitely.

Thanks for visiting our 2020 Mayor's Community Thanksgiving Celebration site. If you would like more information regarding atending, sponsoring or supporting this annual event, please contact Cindy Nordhoff at 502-587-9622.

Now more than ever, supporting the YMCA creates real, lasting impact in our community!

When you donate to the Y, you join an organization that offers more health, more hope and more opportunity to children, to teens, to adults and to families.

This year's program and site is part of Bisig Impact Group's Social Justice program. To find out more or to access communication and outreach resources without cost, please visit bisig.com