The YMCA of Central Ohio is an integral part of Columbus’s history. For more than 160 years, our passionate staff and exemplary partners have been making change possible for all those who need us. The Eldon & Elsie Ward Family YMCA is our most influential location, built on the legacy of one of America’s first YMCA’s to serve people of color. Today, it is a vibrant hub of activity and services to uplift the Near East Side community. And yet, after all this time, we must still fight to overcome growing disparities in Columbus’s most prominent Black neighborhood.

This is our Legacy. To recognize the needs of our neighbors, then provide them. To find the gaps between what our community has and what it deserves, then fill them. To dream of a stronger community for all, then realize it. Each year, we celebrate this legacy of service.

The YMCA’s Presence in Columbus’s Near East Side


Our Next Generation of Changemakers