Agency Q&A: YMCA of Greater Richmond

United Way works with 40+ local and regional nonprofit agencies to tackle each of our nine Steps to SuccessGet to know these agencies and learn about their partnership with United Way. We invited Betsy Peters, Senior Vice President of Youth Development at YMCA of Greater Richmond, to tell us about her work.
Tell us about your current role and your professional background.

I currently serve as Senior Vice President of Youth Development for the YMCA of Greater Richmond. In this role, I oversee strategic development and implementation of youth development initiatives for our organization. In my previous role, I served as Regional Vice President for the YMCA of the Triangle in Raleigh, N.C.

What is the YMCA of Greater Richmond’s mission?

To put Christian principles into practice that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

How does the YMCA of Greater Richmond support the Third Grade Reading component of United Way’s Steps to Success?

Like United Way, the Y understands the importance of getting children on the path to academic success early in life. Attending our after-school and summer day camp programs allow children to read 30 minutes every day which serves to improve vocabulary and reading comprehension. The coordinated programs are crucial during the school year and especially during the summer months when children are at a higher risk of falling behind in their studies. Data shows that reading daily can help prevent summer learning loss. All of our Y academic programs encourage children to be life-long learners.

What do you think is the biggest value United Way brings to this area?

I am very impressed at United Way’s ability to bring people and resources together for the greater good of the community.They strategically align with other nonprofits and organizations to define a mutual vision for success to benefit people from all walks of life.

How have youth-serving nonprofits in our region changed over the past 10 years?

I believe there is more collaboration amongst local nonprofits. We are coming to the table with an understanding of our organization’s specific skills, strengths and resources and how we can complement, not compete, to achieve a goal.

What project or initiative has you most excited for the future?

I am excited about Mayor Levar Stoney’s Out-of-School Time Initiative to help increase access to quality Out-of-School time opportunities. After-School Enrichment Programs, like the Y, allow children a safe place to spend time with positive role models while participating in a variety of activities that will increase their academic capacity and social engagement. Every child deserves the opportunity to discover who they are and what they can achieve.

More information: