It was in London on June 6, 1844, when Sir George Williams founded this organization. In the years since its inception, it has become global, based in Geneva, Switzerland and serving 120 countries. It may be the only nonprofit in the United States recognized by a single letter. The Y. The amazing work being done by the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA is why we have a particular affinity for the group. Their slogan, “Together, we make possible happen,” belies the fact they often seem to make the impossible happen, too.
Impacting Los Angeles
The YMCA of Los Angeles has been making a positive impact on Los Angeles County for more than a century. There are 26 branches of the YMCA, stretching from Antelope Valley to San Pedro. Membership is open to everyone, including families who need financial assistance. We tend to think of the Y as weight rooms, basketball courts, and swimming pools. While sports are a big part of the picture, it’s not the whole picture. The Y works with more than 200 community partners, including schools, hospitals, clinics and other civic organizations. In addition to sports, they prioritize food insecurity, education and healthy living.
You might be surprised to learn in 2021, the Weingart East LA YMCA delivered 2 ½ million pounds of nourishing food to children and families confronting hunger in Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles. More than a quarter of a million meals were provided to children, teens and seniors.
The Y addressed the pandemic. They provided no-cost learning recovery support for 450 kids. All age groups received access to safe, stable broadband at the Y, as well as free, wireless hotspots. Back-to-school supplies were made available.
In addition to helping alleviate some of the educational issues caused by COVID-19, the Y provided 1,000 vaccines at pop-up events, and more than 3,000 tests. Blood drives benefited more than 600 people. Rent relief went to over a thousand families facing housing insecurity. A pet pantry and veterinary services benefited over 10,000 family pets.
A culture free of bias and injustice
Today’s Y consists of people from every background. They’re committed to an environment that fosters dignity, respect, fairness and an appreciation of diversity. They believe everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, regardless of ability, age, cultural background, disability, ethnicity, faith, gender, gender identity, ideology, immigrant status, income, race, sex or sexual orientation. The DEI culture embraced at our Credit Union is echoed in the YMCA’s affirmation of social justice.
The SCE Credit Union connection
The long-running relationship between SCE Credit Union and the Weingart East LA YMCA has never been stronger. Pascual Garrido, the Credit Union’s L.A.-based Director of Legislative and Community Affairs, has served on the Y’s Board of Directors for nearly 15 years.
Brenda Hernandez, Executive Director of the Weingart YMCA, says the Credit Union is always there for them. “SCE Credit Union can be counted on to support our initiatives. They donated dollars and helped fundraise for last year’s Thanksgiving Turkey giveaway. They helped us during our toy drive event, raising money and collecting toys. About 10,000 toys were distributed,” Hernandez says.
Hernandez is hopeful that in a post-pandemic environment, SCE Credit Union can help with financial literacy education. “We have teens who need to learn the basics. That was put on hold, but we’ve picked up that conversation again,” she says.
“SCE Credit Union is a wonderful partner to have. They help us help the community,” Hernandez adds.
Support and solutions
The Y has shown itself to be flexible, able to pivot in response to the needs of the communities it serves. They’re committed to the creation of equity in marginalized communities, a dedication we’re proud to support and one we share.
Learn more at ymcala.org