YMCA of Greater Brandywine Celebrates 130th Anniversary with Renaming of the Brandywine YMCA

YGBW staff, board members, donors and special guests gathered at the Arches in Coatesville on March 7 to celebrate the organization’s 130-year anniversary and to announce the renaming of the Brandywine YMCA back to its original name – the Coatesville YMCA.

Brandywine YMCA to become Coatesville YMCA with a Strengthened Focus on Serving the Community

Coatesville, PA – The YMCA of Greater Brandywine (YGBW) recently celebrated 130 years since the opening of the Coatesville YMCA, the organization’s first location in Chester County. The Coatesville YMCA officially opened its doors on February 27, 1894 and was located in downtown Coatesville.

To mark this momentous occasion YGBW immediate past Board Chair, Donna Urian, announced the renaming of the Brandywine Branch to the Coatesville Branch at YGBW’s birthday party held March 7 at the Arches in Coatesville. The renaming serves as both a celebration of the anniversary and a rededication to the Coatesville community.

“There seems no better time to announce this renaming,” shared Bertram L. Lawson, II, President and CEO. “As we celebrate the anniversary of the Coatesville YMCA and YGBW, we are reminded of our purpose and our mission. A foundational pillar of the YMCA is youth development and I’m proud to share that we are planning significant investments to expand and enhance our youth programming – especially for those between the ages of 12 – 21.”

130 Years of Community-Backed Support
In addition to announcing the branch’s name change on March 7, YGBW staff, board members, donors and special guests gathered to honor the organization’s history in the community. When the Coatesville YMCA opened in 1894, it was after a successful community fundraising effort led by the Huston family.

At the event, Lawson recognized Dr. Charles Huston and the Huston family for their determination and perseverance in making the YMCA become a reality in Chester County. This recognition was accepted by Rob Huston.

Today, YGBW continues to rely on generous support from the community to ensure that vital Y services are available to all members of the community – regardless of income. It is apt that YGBW's birthday party also served as a kick-off to the organization's annual campaign. Executive Directors from branches across the association spoke about the positive impact made by donors and community partners.

“The Y is a shining example of community support and what it means to be a good neighbor,” commented Mary Curcio, Vice President of Philanthropy. “One member gives to our annual campaign so that another neighbor can afford swim lessons for their child. That child may grow up to be a lifeguard and continue to pay our mission forward. It’s a beautiful cycle of kindness that I’m lucky to be a part of.”

“And the support goes beyond neighbors lending a hand to each other,” she continued. “We are fortunate to receive support from many local organizations who sponsor our events and donate to enable our mission. I’m grateful for the generosity of the Arches, Doe Run Catering and The Stem's End for helping us bring to life our birthday party. Our community is one that supports each other.”

To invest in your community, visit https://ymcagbw.org/donatenow.

Continuing to Invest in Community
When the Coatesville Y first opened its doors in 1894, local newspapers spoke of the importance of community resources and constructive outlets for the young men who traveled to Coatesville for work. As one shared, “If Coatesville takes care of her young men now, in the days to come her young men will take care of Coatesville.”

Much has changed in Chester County in 130 years, but the YMCA's commitment to serving the community remains steadfast.

YGBW has a wide reach in the county, serving more than 60,000 people through membership and more than 4,500 children and their families through childcare services. Yet, there is more work to be done to ensure that services and offerings are available throughout the County.

“Equitable communities are strong communities. As we seek to fulfill our mission of strengthening the Chester County community, we are dedicated to expanding access to programming and services,” shares Jessica Rigo, Executive Director of the Coatesville Branch. “My team has been working with community leaders to ensure that we’re helping to extend access to those who couldn’t make it to our physical branch. We look forward to expanding that work this year.”

Investing in Youth Development
In 2024, the YMCA will kick off an investment of 1.4 million dollars to develop programming and services for youth. The investment began with the hiring of Jazmyn Hudson, a Chester County native and the organization’s Senior Association Director of Teen Development.

“This investment in the development of teen programming is crucial to the health of our community,” Hudson shared earlier this year. “I continue to read headlines about the hardships facing youth and families nationwide and right here at home. I’m proud that our investment will be part of the solution.”

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, there are nearly 70,000 youth between the ages of 12 and 21 in the region, making up nearly 13 percent of the Chester County population.

“We’re prepared to invest time and resources to meet the growing needs of youth between the ages of 12 and 21,” said Heather W. Wilson, Chief Strategy and Growth Officer. “It’s a big undertaking, and I can’t think of a better person to lead it than Jazmyn. She will lead our organization, community, and youth in the best direction possible.”

To learn more about the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, please visit ymcagbw.org.

Category: Press