Empowering Communities: The Impact of Supporting Anthony Wayne YMCA

Empowering Communities: The Impact of Supporting Anthony Wayne YMCA

Updated: 03.26.24

In a world where many often experience financial barriers, finding ways to support one another becomes vital. Crystal Tollstam, the Executive Director of the Anthony Wayne YMCA, captures the essence of community support in her words: “The YMCA’s yearly fundraiser is crucial for helping people in need in our community.” These words resonate deeply, reflecting the mission of the YMCA to provide inclusive opportunities for all, regardless of financial constraints.


At the heart of the YMCA’s mission is the belief that everyone deserves access to programs that promote health and well-being. Thanks to generous donations, the Anthony Wayne YMCA is able to provide memberships and free programming, ensuring that individuals and families from all walks of life can participate. This inclusivity not only fosters physical health but also nurtures a sense of belonging and community spirit.

For Juliana and Josie Gillen, members of the Anthony Wayne YMCA, the impact of this community support is profound. They share, “The YMCA has been a staple in our lives… the level of comfortability is unmatched.” This sentiment echoes the sentiment of many who find solace and encouragement within the YMCA’s welcoming environment. Beyond just a gym, it becomes a place where relationships flourish and personal growth is nurtured.

Rob and Nicole Kemmer’s testimonial further underscores the transformative power of the Anthony Wayne YMCA. They express gratitude for the holistic shifts they’ve experienced, from physical health to emotional well-being. Their story is a testament to the YMCA’s commitment to the wellness of mind, body, and spirit, recognizing that true health encompasses more than just physical fitness.

Supporting the Anthony Wayne YMCA isn’t just about funding a facility; it’s about investing in the health and vitality of our community. It’s about ensuring that everyone, regardless of background or circumstance, has the opportunity to thrive. By contributing to the YMCA’s yearly fundraiser, individuals are not only supporting their own health journey but also extending a hand to those who may need it most.

The Anthony Wayne YMCA stands as a place where barriers are broken down, friendships are forged, and lives are transformed. Together, let’s continue to support the Anthony Wayne YMCA and build healthier, more vibrant communities for all.

Press Release: West Toledo YMCA Teen Achievers to Host YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit Teen Achievers during UT ‘Rockets Get Involved Tour’

Toledo, OH – The West Toledo YMCA Teen Achievers will host an event on March 27th, welcoming the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit Teen Achievers at The University of Toledo for a day of fun, learning, and mentorship.  

The YMCA Teen Achiever program aims to support teenagers in meeting higher academic and career goals, nurturing their minds, character, work ethic, and emphasizing the value of education.  

Currently, the YMCA of Greater Toledo has 40 teens participating in the Teen Achievers program.  In 2023, the program included 11 seniors, all of whom successfully graduated from high school.  

The YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit has 15 teenagers currently participating in their YMCA Teen Achievers program.  Following their engagement in the Rockets Get Involved Tour, these teens will embark on additional college tours across Ohio.  

The Rockets Get Involved Tour is guided by members of the historically Black Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and other University of Toledo student organizations.  During the March 27th event, participants will discuss the various involvement opportunities available at the University of Toledo.  

The West Toledo YMCA will open its doors to these Teen Achiever participants at 2pm on March 27th.  Teens can engage in open swim and basketball.  They will then gather to officially launch the Rockets Get Involved Tour, followed by a social and networking session.  

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About the YMCA of Greater Toledo Teen Achievers 

Y Achievers is tailored for individuals aged 14-18. It emphasizes high school completion, career readiness, and preparing youth for post-high school life. The program includes homework help, leadership training, career exploration, college/trades preparation, community service projects, work readiness, and life skills development.

Contact:  Shonna Moon, [email protected], 419.205.0777

YMCA Voted Best Place to Swim

Recently crowned the “best place to swim” by Toledo City Paper, the YMCA’s aquatic facilities have become the go-to destination for individuals and families seeking fitness, fun, and expert swim instruction.

With a staggering array of eight pools at its disposal—six indoor and two outdoor—the YMCA of Greater Toledo offers a swimming experience like no other in the area. Whether you’re looking to perfect your breaststroke, enjoy a refreshing dip on a sunny day, take swim lessons or engage in exhilarating group exercises like aqua jog and aqua zumba, there’s something for everyone within the YMCA’s aquatic realm.

The YMCA of Greater Toledo is more than just a place to swim—it’s a community hub where friendships are forged, goals are achieved, and memories are made. Lap swimming enthusiasts can challenge themselves in a welcoming atmosphere, while aspiring athletes can hone their skills through swim team practices and meets.

At its core, the YMCA is dedicated to promoting health and well-being for all. By providing access to safe and inclusive pools for exercise, recreation, and socialization, the YMCA of Greater Toledo is fulfilling its mission to empower individuals and strengthen the fabric of the community.

So whether you’re seeking a place to perfect your backstroke, bond with family and friends, or simply unwind after a long day, look no further than the YMCA of Greater Toledo. Come join us and discover why we’ve been voted the best place to swim—because at the Y, the water’s always fine!

YMCA staff pictured at Best of Toledo party
From left: Casey Holck,COO; Kathy LaFountain, West Toledo Aquatics Director; LuAnn Bauer, Francis Family Aquatics Director; Brad Toft, CEO

Find Your Joy, Find Your Y at Healthy Kids Day!

The YMCA of Greater Toledo is hosting the Y’s annual Healthy Kids Day® in April and May.

April 20 | 11:00 am to 2:00 pm | Wayman Palmer YMCA 

April 20 | 1 to 4:00 pm | YMCA Storer Camps 

April 30 | 5:30 to 7:30 pm | Eastern Community YMCA 

May 04 | 10:30 am to 12:30 pm | West Toledo YMCA

These free, annual events will feature a variety of family-friendly activities to encourage healthy kids, healthy families, and a healthy start to the summer season.

Kicking Summer Off Right

In celebration of this annual kick-off to summer, we are sharing a list of five activities that we encourage you to introduce to your kids. The goal is to have them try something new by promoting various opportunities to get involved in active play. Hopefully, this will inspire a lifetime love of physical and mental activity! Share these activities with your children and inspire them to “find their fun” by discovering an activity they love!

Find Your Curiosity with Summer Specialty Camps  The YMCA offers a variety of specialty camps that help inspire wonder about the world around us. Guiding children to find their CURIOSITY is key to helping them reach their full potential. Click here to learn more about YMCA Specialty Camps.

Find Your Adventure with Y Summer Camp Summer is a time for kids to explore new things and expand the limits of their imagination. At YMCA of Greater Toledo, every day is a new adventure! Whether experiencing the wonder of YMCA Storer Camps, or having a blast with new friends at summer day camp, many children and teens find their ADVENTURE with the Y. Learn more about all the Y has to offer this summer.

Find Your Voice with Y Teen Programs We believe young people have the power to change the world. Our Y Achievers teen program is designed to help young people develop the skills and confidence they need to lead positive change in the greater Toledo area and beyond. Visit the Achievers webpage to learn more about Y teen programs.

Find Your Swimming Skills with Y Swim Lessons Each year the Y teaches hundreds of children to swim. This helps them find their CONFIDENCE, teaches a lifelong skill and introduces them to safety around water. Visit our swim lessons page to learn more about Y swim lessons.

Find your Passion with Y Sports Youth sports are just the start of something bigger– , aside from teaching fundamental skills, they also teach the value of teamwork, help fuel determination, and build character. At the YMCA of Greater Toledo we have more than 30 sports programs to choose from, including leagues, teams and clinics. The Y wants to help keep children active while igniting their PASSION for something greater. Explore youth sports today. https://www.ymcatoledo.org/sports-2/

For more information on Healthy Kids Day, follow us on Facebook! 

The City of Toledo and the YMCA of Greater Toledo successfully acquire New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC)

Toledo, OH –The City of Toledo and the YMCA of Greater Toledo have successfully acquired New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) financing that will contribute to the capital stack for the new Wayman D. Palmer YMCA and Inez Nash Park project. 

The YMCA collaborated with River Ridge Capital Advisors to secure funding, recognizing the competitive nature of the New Markets Tax Credit process.  The YMCA of Greater Toledo was awarded the NMTCs in 2023. 

The New Markets Tax Credits will generate a net investment of approximately $3.4 million into the project.  This form of financing will lead to a direct reduction of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds previously earmarked by the City of Toledo for this project.  The NMTC’s investment will also allow for construction of additional project features including an outdoor splash pad and enhancements to the Inez Nash Park. 

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said, “This is a great day for Toledo, our ability to secure NMTC’s for this exciting project, will allow us to invest previously allocated funds in other underserved areas of our city and also allow for some additional or enhanced project features, thanks to the NMTC investors and project team that made this possible.”  

The tax credit allocations were received from two Community Development Entities (CDE’s):

  • IFF, headquartered in Chicago with eight regional offices across the Midwest – including two in Ohio, is a mission-driven Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that champions nonprofits across the Midwest to shape more equitable and vibrant communities through community-centered lending, development, and real estate consulting
  • Building American CDE, Inc. located in Washington D.C., is a subsidiary of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, an impact investment industry leader

CDE’s seek high-impact projects that resonate with their mission and cater to the needs of underserved communities. 

“The Wayman D. Palmer YMCA facility is going to be a tremendous community asset in Toledo that will help improve community health and provide a high-quality space for crucial early childhood education services and comprehensive youth programing that prepares young people to positively contribute to their communities,” said Chris Uhl, IFF’s executive director for the eastern region.  “IFF is proud to support this project with federal and state New Markets Tax Credits, and we look forward to seeing the many ways this project positively impacts the community in the years ahead.” 

 “Through community engagement, youth programs, wellness initiatives, and a commitment to inclusivity, the YMCA of Greater Toledo exemplifies the strength of collective dedication and the power of community-driven change,” said Harpreet Peleg, CEO of Building America CDE. 

Capital One, N.A. served as the Federal tax credit investor.

“We are incredibly proud to partner with the YMCA on this important expansion project, which will serve many important functions in the Toledo community,” John Chamberlain, senior director of tax credit finance at Capital One, said.  “The mission of the YMCA is to build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all, and we can’t think of a more important focus for this previously underserved community.” 

The Wayman D. Palmer branch presently serves as a hub for community engagement, community food pantry, Y Achievers for youth ages 14-18, and is a safe space for youth to converse after school and during the summer.  Additionally, the branch offers free group exercise classes, youth sports programs, pickleball, a modern fitness center and gymnasium for its members. 

The updated facility will feature,  

  • Indoor pool
    • Providing swim lessons and water activities for all ages
  • State-of-the-art fitness center
  • Updated gymnasium
    • Providing youth & adults programs, sports, fitness and arts
  • Community gathering spaces
  • Toledo Public Schools will provide Early Childhood Education
    • 6 weeks to 5 years of age
    • 4 classrooms with a capacity of 52 children
  • T.A.C.K.L.E Program (school-based behavioral mental health)

“The collaboration with the City of Toledo, Illinois Finance Fund, Building American CDE, Inc., and Capital One, N.A. extends beyond the mere construction of a new building. The true essence of these partnerships is reflected in the activities conducted within the facility and the beneficial impact that the Wayman D. Palmer YMCA will have on the individuals we aim to support,” said YMCA of Greater Toledo President/CEO Brad Toft

The new Wayman D. Palmer YMCA will reside on Bancroft between Cherry and Franklin and is expected to be up and running by 2025. 

The YMCA of Greater Toledo is made up of 11 facilities including 10 branches plus Storer Camps locations, each tailored to address the unique requirements of its surrounding community. The new Wayman D. Palmer YMCA marks the beginning of a series of developments within the YMCA of Greater Toledo. Future endeavors will center on enhancing the offerings at the Sylvania YMCA/JCC, Wolf Creek YMCA, and Eastern Community YMCA.

About the YMCA of Greater Toledo

The YMCA of Greater Toledo embodies inclusivity, uniting individuals of all genders and ages through a collective dedication to empowering children, advocating for wellness, and cultivating a community-minded ethos.  For further information, please visit ymcatoledo.org

Y Achievers is tailored for individuals aged 14-18. It emphasizes high school completion, career readiness, and preparing youth for post-high school life. The program includes homework help, leadership training, career exploration, college/trades preparation, community service projects, work readiness, and life skills development.


March 07, 2024

Contact:  Shonna Moon, [email protected], 419.205.0777

Annual Campaign Watch: Wolf Creek YMCA


This year’s Annual Campaign theme is  “Y for You. Y For All,”.  Annual Campaign impact goes beyond traditional membership fees, driving essential programs and activities that support youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.

41.2% of the 12,114 members at the Wolf Creek Y receive financial assistance. The Annual Campaign makes this possible, empowering the Y to be a force for positive change in the community. Let’s explore how your contribution to the Annual Campaign can make a significant impact on the lives of individuals and families at the Wolf Creek YMCA.

“The Y gives me a chance to exercise, and it also gives me a great sense of community.” - Bob Lineen

The Wolf Creek YMCA goes beyond traditional fitness programs, offering a diverse range of activities to cater to the varied interests and needs of our members. From pickleball to arts & humanities, and water exercise classes, the Y becomes a hub for active engagement. Bob Lineen, a member, expresses, “The Y gives me a chance to exercise, and it also gives me a great sense of community.” Your support directly contributes to fostering a healthy and connected community.

Youth Programming

Youth empowerment lies at the core of our mission, and the numbers speak volumes. In 2023, more than 3,000 youth participated in various programs, including sports like soccer,  swim and piano lessons. These initiatives not only provide children with self-confidence but also instill a sense of belonging and deliver various physical health benefits.

Personal Training Success Story

The impact of the Wolf Creek YMCA extends beyond the physical activities offered. Personal training testimonies, like that of an 83-year-old member, showcase the life-changing outcomes made possible by your support. “Thanks to personal training with Terri for the past 4 years, I am able to do things most 83-year-olds are not able to do,” shares the member. The Y has become a source of strength, allowing individuals to maintain an active lifestyle and enjoy an exceptional quality of life.

Your Support Matters

The Wolf Creek YMCA Annual Campaign is not just about raising funds; it’s about creating a positive ripple effect that transforms lives. Your support directly contributes to the success stories, statistics, and testimonials that make our community stronger, healthier, and more connected. Join us in giving to the Wolf Creek YMCA’s Annual Campaign, and let’s continue making a difference together. 



In the heart of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan, the YMCA of Greater Toledo has been a pillar of community strength for 160 years. The YMCA of Greater Toledo, with a $26 million budget, operates more than 30 family wellness, child care, and camp facilities across five counties. In 2023 alone, the Y recorded 1.4 million visits and served 75,223 members.

This year’s Annual Campaign theme is  “Y for You. Y For All,”.  Annual Campaign impact goes beyond traditional membership fees, driving essential programs and activities that support youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. This campaign empowers the Y to be a force for positive change in the community. Let’s explore how your contribution to the Annual Campaign can make a significant impact on the lives of individuals and families throughout the region.

Making a Difference Beyond Membership Fees

While YMCA membership fees sustain the Y as a community gathering place, it is the Annual Campaign that propels the institution to make a lasting impact. The campaign funds critical programs such as child care, YMCA Storer Camps, Y Achievers, and much more. These initiatives go beyond health and wellness activities, making the YMCA accessible to everyone in the community.

Areas of Impact

The Annual Campaign focuses on three core areas of impact: Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility. By contributing to this campaign, you’re directly supporting initiatives that aim to empower individuals and families.

  1. Youth Development: The Y nurtures over 1,000 kids weekly through various classes, ensuring that 75% of Y kids in Pre-K are fully prepared to enter kindergarten. Summer Day Camps, attended by 700 kids per week from June to August, provide enriching experiences for children.

  2. Healthy Living: The Y is committed to the health and well-being of its community. Over 800 individuals per quarter participate in accredited Chronic Disease programs, addressing issues such as diabetes, blood pressure, heart health, and healthy lifestyles.

  3. Social Responsibility: The Y actively engages in social responsibility by offering financial assistance to 37% of its members. Additionally, it collaborates with 500 area Partner Agencies to create positive change in communities.

We Need Your Support

Your support of the YMCA of Greater Toledo’s Annual Campaign is an investment in the well-being and success of your community. By contributing, you become part of a collective effort to empower youth, build healthier families, and foster inclusive communities. The Y’s commitment to accessibility, diversity, and community impact makes it a beacon of positive change in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. Donate today for a better us.

Building Brighter Futures: The Rewards of Joining the YMCA Child Care Team

In the world of community service, the YMCA stands as a pillar of support, offering a wide range of programs and services that cater to the diverse needs of its members. At the heart of this mission are the dedicated individuals working tirelessly in child care, embodying the YMCA’s commitment to fostering holistic development in individuals of all ages. However, like many organizations, the YMCA is currently facing a critical challenge – a shortage of qualified staff. We want to discuss the importance of hiring staff in child care, the benefits of working for the YMCA, and the profound impact that staff can make on members and the community.

The Importance of Hiring in Child Care 

Child care is more than supervision; it’s an opportunity to instill a love of learning, provide quality care, and shape the future of our community. Without a dedicated and qualified staff, the YMCA cannot adequately serve its members, leaving a void in the community’s access to essential services.

Challenges in Hiring

 As a non-profit organization, the YMCA faces challenges in competing with the compensation offered by for-profit companies that provide similar services. The struggle to attract qualified staff, particularly in child care, poses a significant hurdle to the YMCA’s mission of community empowerment.

Benefits of working for the YMCA

 The YMCA remains an attractive employer for individuals seeking not just a job but a purpose-driven career. Employees at the YMCA become part of a community-focused organization that values personal and professional growth. Free YMCA membership, a flexible work environment, and the chance to contribute meaningfully to community well-being are just a few of the perks that make working for the YMCA a fulfilling experience.

The Impact of Staff on Members and the Community 

Qualified and dedicated staff in child care can have a profound impact on the members they serve and the community at large. While fostering a love of learning in children to promoting health, staff play a pivotal role in shaping positive experiences and building lasting connections within the community.

In the face of hiring challenges, and recognizing the crucial role they play in building a healthier and more connected community, the YMCA calls on passionate individuals to join its childcare team. The rewards of working for the YMCA extend beyond compensation, offering employees a chance to contribute meaningfully to the lives of others while enjoying the benefits of personal and professional growth. As we navigate these challenging times, the YMCA remains steadfast in its commitment to empowering individuals and communities, and it is the dedicated staff who will continue to make a lasting impact on the hearts and minds of those they serve.

The Impact of Sharing Your Y Story

At the YMCA, we’re more than just a gym or a fitness center. We’re a community where individuals of all ages and backgrounds can come together to grow, learn, and support one another. One of the most powerful ways we do this is by sharing our Y stories with each other.

Your Y story is a unique reflection of how the YMCA has impacted your life. Maybe you found your passion for healthy living through a fitness program, or maybe you met your best friend in a group exercise class. Perhaps you enrolled your child in our Child Care program and saw them develop new skills and relationships.

Whatever your Y story may be, we believe that it deserves to be heard. By sharing your story, you’re not only honoring your own journey, but you’re also inspiring others to discover the benefits of the YMCA community.

We’re inviting members, staff, and volunteers to share their Y stories with us through text, photo, or video. Additionally,  those who submit a Y story on video, will be entered into a drawing for a YMCA gift card.

 Beyond the chance to win a prize, sharing your Y story is an opportunity to connect with others and contribute to the larger mission of the YMCA. By listening to each other’s stories, we’re reminded of the values that unite us: Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility.

Whether you’ve been a part of the YMCA community for years or are just starting to get involved, we want to hear from you. Your Y story is important, and we’re grateful for the chance to learn from and be inspired by your experiences.