Updated: YMCA Picks New CEO

September 30, 2014       Patrick Sullivan      

YMCA of the USA has selected Kevin Washington, current president and CEO of YMCA of Greater Boston, as the new national chief executive. He will take the helm on Feb. 1, 2015.

Washington replaces Neil Nicoll, who announced in June that he would step down. Nicoll will stay with the organization as president emeritus.

“I’m just proud to be a member involved in the YMCA,” said Washington. “It’s been a lifelong journey for me and I’m pleased to have this opportunity to continue the great work of this organization.”

YMCA of Greater Boston is one of the 12 largest Y’s in the country, with total assets of $110.1 million, according to the organization’s 2013 federal Form 990. At $6.2 billion in revenue, The Y was ranked number one on the NPT 2013 Top 100.

According to the website of the YMCA of Greater Boston, Washington is the 12th president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the YMCA of Greater Boston, America’s first YMCA. As president of the Greater Boston Y, Washington launched a new strategic planning process, reduced membership fees to provide greater access to Y services, increased diversity and engagement among the board of directors to better reflect the Greater Boston community, and implemented a childhood education quality initiative to benefit the thousands of children and families the Y serves throughout Eastern Massachusetts.

“The Y strengthens 10,000 communities across the country, thanks to leaders like Neil Nicoll and Kevin Washington who understand the social issues challenging our nation and how the Y can help address them,” said Christine Marcks, chair of the YMCA of the USA Board of Directors, via a statement. “Kevin brings deep and varied YMCA experience and a strong record of accomplishment on behalf of communities to this position — one he has been building toward his entire career. He is an exceptional cause-driven leader who is committed to Y-USA’s strategic direction and will add to the Y’s momentum as a national charity.”

Washington said he would focus on ensuring the national organization’s strategic plan will continue to be implemented. “I’ll want to continue to make the impact we want, carrying out the very participatory plan that Neil has put in place,” he said. Washington expects his biggest challenges will be around heading a large, federated organization.

“It’s a federated organization, not one where the national organization can dictate,” he said. “We have to work collaboratively, and that’s always a challenge.”

Prior to joining the Y of Greater Boston in 2010, Washington served as the President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Hartford for 10 years. Under his leadership in Hartford, the Y invested more than $60 million to expand and develop eight facilities and camps. He also grew the Greater Hartford Y Board by 40 new volunteers.

Nicoll started at the YMCA in 1968 as program director at the Howard County branch of the YMCA of Greater Baltimore. Before joining Y-USA, he spent 14 years as president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Seattle. He also led the YMCA of Greater Worcester, Mass., for 12 years, the Prince Georges County branch of the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. for six years, and the Dorchester branch of the YMCA of Greater Boston for three years.

Nicoll was selected to The NonProfit Times’ Power & Influence Top 50 in each of the past four years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Mass., and a master’s degree from Springfield College.