Valley of the Sun YMCA: Broad Reach with Diverse Programs

by RaeAnne Marsh

Nonprofits_YMCA_MiracleLeagueEstablished in 1892, the Valley of the Sun YMCA is the oldest human services nonprofit in Arizona, and George Scobas, president and CEO, notes it is also the largest provider and offers the most diverse services.

“There are three pillars we work with,” Scobas says. Youth development programs help children and teens realize their full potential through value-based programs designed to build skills, self-confidence and positive peer relationships. Healthy living programs and resources provide an opportunity for people in the community to achieve “some form of peak health and well-being.” And the social responsibility programs aim to create community, “helping kids and neighborhoods achieve their dreams.” Education, workforce development, cultural understanding, vocational rehabilitation and arts are just some of the areas the 26 service programs cover.

Collaborative partnerships is another strength. “As a nonprofit, we need to be good with collaboration and partnerships, because we can’t do it all ourselves,” Scobas says. He cites the partnership between the Lincoln Family YMCA and ASU as one of the Y’s most unique partnerships, connecting its building with the university’s downtown campus. “For universities, downtown campuses really grow if [students] feel like part of the downtown fabric.” The Y is also working with companies to design corporate wellness and membership programs.



  • Approximately 65 percent of the YMCA’s funding comes from membership and program fees. Funding also comes from government grants and other contributions.
  • Las Artes works with youths who have “one foot in jail,” says Scobas. “Arts gets kids excited about coming back for their GED.” And many continue their education.
  • Another program is a medical and dental clinic at the Chris-Town YMCA, reaching more than 6,000 children in that area who have no other medical or dental care. It impacts their schoolwork, too, Scobas notes, when they no longer have a constant toothache.
  • Youth in Government gives teens a chance to run the Capital and pass laws.
  • The Valley of the Sun YMCA was one of six Y’s in the country asked to work with the Center for Disease Control and United Healthcare to develop a type 2 diabetes program.

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