Kevin Washington Becomes First Black CEO of National YMCA

Kevin Washington Becomes First Black CEO of National YMCA

The Philadelphia native has been working at the worldwide organization since 1978, most recently as the first Black chief of the Greater Boston YMCA.

Published November 13, 2014

(Photo: Courtesy of YMCA of Greater Boston)

Kevin Washington, the first African-American chief of the Greater Boston YMCA, has been tapped to run the organization’s national office starting next February, the Boston Globe recently reported.

This promotion marks yet another “first” achievement for the Y leader, as he becomes the first African-American to hold the position.

“Kevin brings deep and varied YMCA experience and a strong record of accomplishment on behalf of communities to this position — one he has been building toward his entire career,” said the organization in a statement. "He is an exceptional cause-driven leader who is committed to Y-USA’s strategic direction and will add to the Y’s momentum as a national charity.”

Known for his unconventional methods and strategic mindset, Washington has risen through the ranks of the YMCA since becoming a youth director at a Pennsylvania chapter in 1978.

His many career highlights thus far include nearly doubling the membership of the Greater Boston Y to more than 40,000 households and forging a common identity among what were 13 turf-conscious branches, the Globe reported.

A Y-lifer, Washington also credits the worldwide organization for much of his academic and professional success, having avoided the fatal encounters to which many children in his rough neighborhood succumbed.

“I tell everyone the YMCA found me at the age of 10 at the William S. Pierce elementary school,” the Philadelphia native told the Globe. “The Y can be a bridge from adolescence to adulthood. It was for me.”

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Written by Patrice Peck

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