Strengthening Our Community

Photo provided by YMCA of Greater Cincinnati

Everyone wants to make a positive impact in the community, but it can be overwhelming to select the right mechanism for change, with so many options available. The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati is a shining example of an organization with the ability to connect diverse populations to make a positive impact in the community. It does so by building relationships and forging partnerships to empower others to make a difference.  

 “Our partnerships help make our community stronger by creating a positive future for generations to come,” says YMCA of Greater Cincinnati president and chief executive officer Sandy Walker. “We know that lasting personal and social change comes about when we all work together. The Y is truly thankful for the many community and business partners that work with us each day to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has opportunities to learn, grow and thrive.” 

 Challenges like the academic achievement gap, childhood obesity and the diabetes epidemic are only some of the obstacles faced by the Greater Cincinnati community. The Y takes those challenges and flips them into opportunities for members, volunteers, staff and donors to work together for healthier, positive outcomes for all.  

 Bear Clifton, chief development officer of the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, coordinates philanthropic efforts, ensuring they are sustained through funding. “What makes my job rewarding is that I have the opportunity to see people at their best,” Clifton says. “Each day, I work with individuals, families and organizations who are making a difference in our community through philanthropy. Every day, the Y takes on the challenges that will shape our community’s future.”  

 Heritage Bank recently donated $100,000 to support the expansion at the R.C. Durr YMCA in Burlington, Kentucky. The branch’s new Welcome Center will be named in tribute to Heritage Bank’s generous donation. 

 “As the last truly locally owned-and-operated community bank in Northern Kentucky, Heritage Bank feels a deep responsibility to invest in an organization like the YMCA because of its extraordinary commitment to growing healthy, thriving individuals and families in the very community in which we operate,” says Chris Caddell, vice chairman of Heritage Bank. “At the end of the day, our priority as a company is people and strengthening their quality of life, which we feel aligns us succinctly with the YMCA and its daily mission.” 

 Heritage Bank’s donation helped bring the R.C. Durr YMCA one step closer to its $2.5 million renovation goal. The expansion will enable the facility to better serve current members and program participants, ensuring the Y continues to meet the needs of the community for years to come. The first phase of the expansion will be completed in 2017.  

 Another YMCA partnership is with the Clippard family. Their support began more than 20 years ago, when the Clippard Family YMCA branch opened in Colerain Township. “I thought it would be a wonderful facility for the community in Colerain Township where our business is located,” says Robert L. Clippard, vice president of Clippard Instrument Laboratory, Inc. “I sensed there was a lot of interest in the facility but they lacked the financial support to build.” 

 An initial pledge of $350,000 started the building process and the family has subsequently contributed to three major expansions. Today, the Clippard Family YMCA has features that include a large indoor water park and the Autism Learning Center. 

 “I think the success of the Clippard Family YMCA can be linked to community participation and the Y’s strong core of volunteers and people who are dedicated to getting things accomplished,” says Clippard.  

 Interested individuals and businesses can support the Y in countless ways, including volunteering, corporate giving, planned giving, cause shopping and more. 

 “To see real change in our community, it takes strategic partnership and intentional collaborations with individuals and organizations that bring different points of view and expertise to the table,” says Clifton.  

The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati welcomes conversations with any and all businesses and foundations that want to help make a real, positive impact on this community we call home. With 14 branch locations, and overnight camp (YMCA Camp Ernst) and operation of 80 before and after school sites and early learning centers, there is always a need to continue giving support to children, families and individuals across Greater Cincinnati.

 “When you give back to your community, whether you’re volunteering, making a donation or helping to guide an organization like the Y, not only is it great for the community, but it also helps create new opportunities and allows us to be a part of something greater than ourselves. That’s when the magic happens,” says Walker. 

For more information about donations and volunteer opportunities, contact YMCA of Greater Cincinnati at 513.362.YMCA or visit their website at