The YMCA is a charity that provides health, education and social services. It contributes to the mix of public, private, and charitable programs and facilities available to Canadians. As well, the YMCA has always been there to catch people who "fall between the cracks" of public systems and the marketplace.

YMCA programs are responses to community needs. That is why a YMCA can look very different from community to community, country to country, and generation to generation. As needs change, so does the YMCA's program offerings.

Few people can cite all the things the YMCA does or has done. What they have come to know is that:

  • the YMCA is there for everyone through every stage of life and its ups and downs.
  • YMCA programs get results.
  • any program created or adapted by the YMCA carries its charitable purpose and values.
  • a board of community-minded citizens oversees how the YMCA's assets are used to advance its mission.

A YMCA and its programs promote:

  • a global perspective – awareness of our interdependence and a desire to work for justice and peace
  • holistic health – understanding that health is more than the absence of illness, that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
  • philanthropy and volunteerism – ways to serve oneself and others, to participate in building a better community for everyone
  • values – caring, honest, respectful, and responsible behaviour

Why would we invest so much time and effort securing donations to build our Health, Fitness and Aquatics centres and then finding and training the fully-qualified staff and volunteers needed for such a massive and ongoing endeavor from which we do not make any profit?

Because the YMCA was created to help everyone reach their full potential mentally, emotionally and physically (the gym part).  Our mandate to create life-enhancing opportunities for the growth and development of all people speaks to the mind's right to imagine, the body's right to move and the spirit's right to believe in itself.  We believe that fulfilling your potential is everyone's right, every person's advantage and everybody's secret weapon.

The YMCA is a legally registered charity, including our gyms, and no one is turned away for the inability to pay.  Please do not hesitate to ask at Member Services if you need financial assistance to access any of our facilities (including our 49 Child Cares or to send a kid to one of our Day Camps).

We've been an entirely independent Edmonton charity for 109 years, including our Health, Fitness & Aquatics Centres, Summer Camps and Day Camps, Child Care Centres, Community Program Centres, Housing Centres and Service and Programs Centres.  All Northern Alberta donations stay in Northern Alberta.

We are a legally registered independent charity and we believe in equality of opportunity for all members of the community - regardless of age, race, sex, religion or economic circumstance.  Through YMCA Financial Assistance (formerly the Opportunity Fund), our membership and program experience is available to low-income individuals and families in need.  Drop in and ask how to get started!  If you know anyone who could benefit from this program, please let them know.

As a charity, the YMCA has long been dedicated to promoting the health of our communities by fostering the health of every Canadian. To realize this goal, we rely on the generous support of donors like you, who share our commitment to assisting children, youth, families and newcomers from coast-to-coast.

Our YMCA is funded through donations and the following programs and campaigns:

The YMCA Strong Kids Campaign

The YMCA ensures that no one is turned away because of inability to pay.  The Strong Kids Campaign is the major annual fund-raising campaign of the YMCA.  Funds raised in the campaign help over 10,000 people access YMCA programs and membership every year – 22% of YMCA members are supported through gifts to the Strong Kids Campaign. 

The Edmonton YMCA Foundation

The Edmonton YMCA Foundation was formed on January 4, 1991 for the purpose of holding and investing endowment funds for the YMCA, and for investing earnings on those funds in YMCA programs, services and facilities. The Foundation supports current YMCA programs and is creating a legacy to ensure that the Y will continue to build strong kids, strong families and strong communities for generations to come.

The YMCA Heritage Club

The YMCA Heritage Club recognizes and honours those who have included the YMCA in their estate plans in one or more of the following ways:

  • making an outright gift of money or assets
  • creating a Charitable Trust to benefit the YMCA
  • naming the YMCA as a beneficiary of a Life Insurance Policy
  • naming the YMCA to receive a bequest in a will

Heritage Club members plan their gifts to create endowment funds at either The Edmonton YMCA Foundation or the Edmonton Community Foundation. Gifts to endowment funds are not spent. They are invested in perpetuity, and only a portion of the investment income is used to fund YMCA programs each year.

One of our greatest aspirations in life is to leave a mark – to make a difference. Through your care and commitment, you can help ensure that the YMCA has a secure future and the YMCA programs continue to address the most urgent needs in our community. Through The Edmonton YMCA Foundation's Heritage Club, you'll be a community builder and your contribution will be respected and recognized for years to come.

Upon making your gift, you become a member of the Edmonton YMCA Heritage Club. We will make a point of informing you annually about the good work made possible by your generous contribution.

Financial Assistance is available through the Opportunity Fund. Eligibility for the Opportunity Fund is determined by family income and size. The YMCA uses the Government of Alberta Core Need Income Thresholds (CNIT) Table to help determine eligibility. The Table identifies a range of low-income levels from individuals to 1 or 2 adults with multiple children.

You may also be eligible to apply for the YMCA Opportunity Fund if you have unique or special circumstances and/or are unable to provide proof of income. If this is your situation:

  • Any individual who is unable to pay the full membership or program fee in Northern Alberta
  • Our international YMCA partners in Colombia and Ukraine
  • All community and housing programs participants
  • Individuals and families needing emergency and short-term accommodations
  • Parents needing emergency child care

you may be eligible for the Opportunity Fund!

No. As a YMCA member your fees pay for the operating costs associated with Health, Fitness and Aquatics cetnres and programs. The YMCA is a registered charity, and while 1 in 5 members are supported through financial assistance, those assisted memberships come from separate fundraising efforts called the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign.  Opportunity Fund members are supported entirely by personal and business donations to the Strong Kids campaign, your health and fitness centre membership fees do not subsidize memberships for others.

Yes! All YMCAs in Canada recognize and honour memberships from other Associations, so you can be sure of your welcome whether you're travelling for work or leisure. Similarly, Canadian YMCA memberships are generally recognized and accepted by international Associations. There are some exceptions, so be sure to check with the YMCA you want to visit to confirm their policy.

Yes! Our centres offer gymnasiums, swimming pools, indoor playgrounds and community rooms that can be rented when they are available. Different centres have different availability, so please contact the specific centre you would like to rent at.

Centres also host children’s birthday parties that include access to a private room, pool, gym or indoor playground depending on your needs. For information and pricing, please contact the centre directly.