Health Forward Foundation Awards $120,000 Grant to YMCA of Greater Kansas City

YMCA of Greater Kansas City recently received a grant for $120,000 from the Health Forward Foundation, Healthy Communities to support staffing, research and data collection, convening multi-sector partners, the creation of customized technology platforms, and demonstration pilots.

The Y will engage multiple stakeholders to discuss transforming traditional corporate wellness programs/models to appeal to an increasingly diverse business sector, with a special focus on workers most likely to be un- or underinsured. The Y will seek understanding about the impact of social determinants in planning and implementation of such offerings and test effective strategies for integrating technology into these new models.

“If you build it, they will come” does not always ring true. The Y recently broke ground on a 60,000 square foot facility that will be located adjacent to this rapidly growing business corridor. Many workers will enjoy the idea and privilege of working out over lunch on their company-provided Y membership. It is seen as a benefit. However, 18.5% of the workforce stands to be alienated without the time, resources, or reasoning to walk through the doors of this new Y facility. Downtown companies are challenging the Y to consider a new model of corporate wellness that appeals to the service sectors of their workforce who are not necessarily used to prioritizing personal preventative health. The Y is piloting the use of technology platforms and community-based programming outside the walls of traditional Y facilities to meet people where they are and offer programs and services, using a social-ecological approach to behavior change, that are accessible regardless of one’s ability to enter a Y building.

Founded in 1860 as the seventh Y in North America, the YMCA of Greater Kansas City has over 158 years of experience in meeting the holistic needs of residents of all ages.  Since its inception, the Y has been more than simply a place to exercise. The Y empowers people of all ages to live healthier lives throughout their entire lifespan and does so in an environment that fosters social support. The Y is committed to making membership and all programs and services accessible to low-income individuals through financial assistance policies. The Y’s mission: Founded on Christian principles, [The Y] is a charitable organization with an inclusive environment committed to enriching the quality of family, spiritual, social, mental, and physical well-being.