ATLANTA (December 5, 2016) – The YMCA of Metro Atlanta announced today that its central business offices will be moving to a brand new location on the Westside of Atlanta in 2018. Due to recent and unforeseen changes in the lease agreement for the present offices in the Robert W. Woodruff Volunteer Center, currently owned by United Way, the Y is faced with an exciting opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind Leadership and Learning Center (the Center) and to serve as a catalyst for community reinvestment on the Westside.
Read the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s coverage of the announcement.
The $20 million project, which will be located on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Vine City – just across from the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, will be funded utilizing public and private funds, something the Y has done successfully before on the Westside at the YMCA Dean Rusk Early Learning Center. Funding efforts are currently underway.
The Leadership and Learning Center will be much more than a headquarters for the Y. It will give the Y the opportunity to build on its deep work in early learning by establishing a new, model early learning center in the heart of the Atlanta Public School Douglass cluster. The site will include Head Start, state-funded Pre-K and traditional fee-for-service preschool all in one building. The Y will bring the nation’s leading research in language and literacy for Birth to Pre-K to practice through a partnership with the Rollins Center for Language & Literacy at the Atlanta Speech School. In addition, the design will be influenced by input from national early education thought-leaders at Yale and Harvard. Work done at the early learning center will be scaled nationally through the Cox Campus, the Rollins Center’s online learning platform featuring teachers from the YMCA.
The Center will also include a regional program training center serving more than 1,500 Y staff from throughout the Southeast annually. The Y will relocate 135 jobs to the new location and add 25 new jobs with the new early learning center. The building will include meeting and training space, which the Y will make available for use by other nonprofits and the community.
“I am thrilled that the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, the city’s oldest non-profit organization, is moving its new headquarters to the Westside,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “The YMCA has a tremendous legacy of investing in community building, and with its new Leadership and Learning Center, the organization is demonstrating its commitment to our city’s most challenged neighborhoods. I applaud the Y leadership for choosing to build on the grounds of the historic Morris Brown College campus, and for engaging deeply with the community to support lasting, positive change for its current and future residents.”
The Y has maintained a presence in Atlanta since 1858, making it the city’s oldest nonprofit organization. The organization’s work began during the industrial revolution, as young men moved away from their rural towns to new vocations in the big city. The Y became their home away from home, a wholesome place and surrogate family that worked to keep them on the right path. Since then, the Y has grown and changed along with Atlanta, making it unique among the city’s venerable institutions – an old organization, but always evolving to meet new and critical unmet community needs.
“Establishing the YMCA Leadership and Learning Center on the Westside, with our programs occurring in the building, gives us the opportunity to live with our mission every day,” said Ed Munster, CEO of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta. “Our Board of Directors and our staff are very excited to be part of this community investment in a transformative way.”
The footprint of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta is large – across 13 counties, stretching from Newnan in the south to Camp High Harbour at Lake Burton in the north, serving more than 250,000 members and program participants annually at 28 program locations. Though expansive in physical territory, the YMCA is not in the business of building Ys; it is in the business of building community.
“I am absolutely excited about the investment of the YMCA on the Westside,” said Councilman Ivory Young. “To have partners like the Y can’t be equaled. Considering new jobs, job training and a newly created YMCA early learning center will be part of the investment, there is so much to look forward to. The residents of District 3 welcome them with open arms. The Y for so many years served as a ‘tried and true’ partner. Their investment on the Westside sends a clear message of the stablishing affects other investments occurring on Atlanta’s Westside have had.”
With a proven track record of bringing people together, for different reasons and from different walks of life, the Y is now presented with the opportunity to replicate this success and bring such community building to Atlanta’s Westside. The YMCA uses its branches and programs as tools, sometimes serving as a change agent just by being present, and is always looking for ways to collaborate with others including more than 100 government, education, health care, and community service organizations to leverage its impact.
The YMCA of Metro Atlanta hopes to be in its new Leadership and Learning Center in the Summer of 2018 as they celebrate the 160th anniversary of the Y in Atlanta.
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To view the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s coverage of the announcement, click here.