The YMCA has been practicing "grassroots" before the concept was even a seed. And while it's now en vogue for businesses and consumers today to "act local" (and with good reason), the YMCA has been a cornerstone to community support and development since 1851. Now it's not often I come across companies and organization's older than Luckett & Farley's 1853 birth date, but they've obviously been doing something very special to be so successful. They've never lost site of their values and mission, which are highly relevant today.
Breaking Ground and Breaking Barriers
I was at the ground breaking ceremony for the new YMCA at Norton Commons in Louisville, Kentucky when I heard about some new local initiatives that fit brilliantly with the organization's goals for healthier communities. The YMCA Berrytown (another Luckett & Farley project) has begun selling local and organic food. Genius! Before, access to these healthy foods required neighborhood residents to travel several miles to a large supermarket. I hope to see the same program implemented at a new YMCA facility currently under design by Luckett & Farley on West Broadway in Louisville. The surrounding neighborhood is sprawling with fast food restaurants with little or no health food near by. Best of luck to this new initiative!
The mission of the YMCA is clear and timeless. How they adapt to trends and needs keeps the organization relevant. Their revitalized branding also speaks of a dynamic agency with all the vitality and vigor of a young, optimistic start-up company with their whole future ahead of them. They're ready to take on the world, (if they hadn't already), from your own backyard.
A Model to Follow
When the mission is clear, everyone can jump on board. Everyone can make decisions and plans to support the mission. How can you have a healthy community without access to healthy food? Decision: sell healthy food at the neighborhood Y. It's never been done, but why not? There's opportunity for every organization, no matter how young or old, to create a similar mission. Being concise will without being abstract will help it be adopted by employees. Then, with some listening and proactive problem-solving, everyone can take steps to achieving your company's mission.