Help Us Build Brighter Futures

A multi-ethnic group of four children, 5 to 7 years old, playing together on a playground during school recess. They are sitting side by side on two slides, looking at the camera. They are all wearing masks, back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic, trying to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

By Eric K. Mann, President and CEO, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast – The events that have unfolded over this past year have dramatically impacted the world, our community, our families and our Y. We couldn’t have imagined how much things would change and how important our Y’s work would be to our community.

When the devastating effects of COVID-19 swept across the country and landed on our doorsteps, we worked tirelessly to find new ways to keep our neighbors active, healthy and connected by:

  • Providing emergency child care services for hundreds of medical workers, first responders and essential employees
  • Making hundreds of well-check calls weekly to seniors
  • Offering complimentary virtual group exercise classes and academic services
  • Distributing food and supplies to the most vulnerable

The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought to the forefront the disparities within our health system that people and communities of color face. As an organization committed to health equity, Ys are now serving as key leaders and partners in ensuring equitable access to the vaccine.

We continue to work every day to create understanding among people of diverse backgrounds and provide necessary resources that ensure all people, no matter who they are or where they come from, have the opportunity to reach their full potential with dignity.

We’re so thankful for our generous donors, volunteers, members and partners who believe the Y is a positive force in this community and have invested their time, talent and treasure to help us build a brighter future.

The need on the First Coast is still great, and the challenges we are facing won’t disappear overnight. With so much work still to be done, we are asking for your help.

A gift to the Y helps the First Coast Y – and everyone in the communities we serve – shine. Here’s what you can help make possible with your support:

  • You nurture kids with safe places to learn, play and thrive.
  • You empower teens with character building activities, college and career readiness, leadership skills and positive guidance.
  • You save lives through swim lessons and prevention programs that help people fight disease and live a healthier life.
  • You keep seniors young with fitness programs that connect them to others, strengthen their bodies and keep their minds sharp.
  • You help others. Every dollar donated has an immediate impact locally.


Throughout our 112-year history on the First Coast, never has it been more apparent that the Y is not a building. We’re people – from all backgrounds – who want to improve our lives, nurture our families and strengthen our community, together.

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