Community Science is leading a research study to better understand and articulate YMCAs’ contribution to building and sustaining community strength, particularly in low-income communities and communities of color. We recruited 10 YMCAs involved in cause-driven community collaborations and selected one collaboration each to be the focus of the study. Through site visits, interviews with YMCA partners, and analysis of collaboration members’ social networks, we have been exploring the depth of local collaborations, the community needs being addressed, and the extent to which the YMCAs are helping community members have fair and just opportunities to reach their full potential. This work will assist Y-USA and YMCAs in refining and enhancing their community strategies.
We collaborated with Y-USA staff to develop a research-backed Theory of Change for Y-USA. We conducted a literature review to define characteristics of a strong community and then worked with Y-USA staff to document the ways that YMCA programs and advocacy can contribute to community strength. 00565