Health Care Organizations Partner to Launch New Ys

Foundation YMCA of Wilson middle schoolers at the Y-GIG afterschool program

Community health partnerships are the cornerstone of two new North Carolina YMCAs: the Foundation YMCA of Wilson and the new Phifer Family YMCA in Morganton.

In both communities, health care leaders value the Y’s role in improving community health and providing programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. 

Foundation YMCA of Wilson

In 2018, the Healthcare Foundation of Wilson approved a $25 million grant for the Wilson Family YMCA to design, build and sustain a Middle School After School program, with a new YMCA facility serving as a shared space for middle school youth to discover their strengths, explore their passions, and help their young minds grow with a focus on health and wellness. The program is called Y-GIG and draws students from all eight middle schools in Wilson County as well as homeschooled students. 

The new multi-level 72,000 square-foot Foundation YMCA of Wilson opened on October 29; it’s a safe place for middle school youth to learn and grow, and for all community members to improve their health and well-being. 

The Healthcare Foundation, now housed on the third floor of the Y, is investing in health outcomes to benefit youth, who are the future of the Wilson community. The Middle School After School program goals align with the Foundation’s funding areas, which include obesity reduction through healthy eating and active living, adolescent pregnancy education and prevention, alcohol and substance abuse awareness and learning, and sexually transmitted disease prevention. 

“Together, the Foundation YMCA and the Healthcare Foundation of Wilson are building a brighter future for children in Wilson County,” said YMCA CEO Kathryn Davis. “The Y is extremely grateful to the Healthcare Foundation of Wilson for their vision, their trust and the generous strategic grant that built the beautiful YMCA and funded Y-GIG.”

Phifer Family YMCA

Out towards the western part of the state, YMCA of Catawba Valley and UNC Health Blue Ridge partnered to transform UNC’s Phifer Wellness Center to the Phifer Family YMCA on November 1st. Together YNC Health Blue Ridge and the Y are working to advance wellness by preventing disease, promoting wellness and improving the quality of life for families across the region.  

UNC Health Blue Ridge remains the exclusive healthcare partner for the Phifer Family Y. “There are tremendous opportunities for collaboration between the two not-for-profit organizations, with the YMCA and UNC Health Blue Ridge working together to address everything from childhood obesity to cancer survivorship,” said Jon Mercer, COO of UNC Health Blue Ridge. “This partnership is another important step that reflects our commitment to be solely focused on our local communities and patients by enhancing, growing and securing access to superior health and wellness right here at home.”

Phifer Family YMCA exterior building image

The Y has been providing services in Burke County for the past five years, including summer camp, swim lessons in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, and afterschool programming in 11 elementary schools during the last two years, with the Y serving nearly 600 children. 

“With this partnership, we now are able to serve the entire community through the Y facility,” said Nat Auten, CEO of the Catawba Valley YMCA. “UNC Health Blue Ridge and our YMCA share a passion for serving others and a commitment to wellness. We are committed to giving young people the resources to reach their potential, providing individuals with the access and support to lead healthy lives and connecting neighbors to evidence-based health programs as we work together for the health of the communities we serve.”