The Story of our Founding
In 1844, industrialized London was a place of great turmoil and despair. For the young men who migrated to the city from rural areas to find jobs, London offered a bleak landscape of tenement housing and dangerous influences.
Twenty-two-year-old George Williams, a farmer-turned-department store worker, was troubled by what he saw. He joined 11 friends to organize the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), a refuge of Bible study and prayer for young men seeking escape from the hazards of life on the streets.
Although an association of young men meeting around a common purpose was nothing new, the Y offered something unique for its time. The organization’s drive to meet social need in the community was compelling, and its openness to members crossed the rigid lines separating English social classes.
Years later, retired Boston sea captain Thomas Valentine Sullivan, working as a marine missionary, noticed a similar need to create a safe “home away from home” for sailors and merchants. Inspired by the stories of the Y in England, he led the formation of the first U.S. YMCA at the Old South Church in Boston on December 29, 1851.
A timeline of the YMCA’s history is downloadable here.
Our Y’s History
The early history of the YMCA of Muncie tells a story of perseverance. It was once written in a local history document that “any worthwhile organization always has men of vision and people who are ever ready to sacrifice and pioneer for the good of all.”
The first meeting of members of the community to organize the Muncie YMCA took place on July 13, 1875. On October 11, 1881, the Association rented a large storeroom at the northwest corner of Walnut and Charles streets, where various meetings and social events took place. The State Convention took place in Muncie during that time. In late 1893, a business depression, together with a smallpox outbreak, resulted in a delay of further growth of the YMCA.
Another State Convention took place in Muncie in 1905, and in 1911, two Muncie businessmen, brothers F. C. and E. B. Ball, offered a financial gift to assist with the purchase of a building, provided that the citizens of Muncie raise additional funds.
By July 3, 1911, the challenge had been met, and the citizens of Muncie raised a total of $109,000 for the building fund. On Friday, May 30, 1913 the first cornerstone was laid at the corner of Adams and Jefferson Streets. The erection of which was made possible by the munificent gift of $150,000 by the Ball Brothers and the generous contributions of $100,000 by citizens of Muncie.
The need for additional space soon became evident. In 1971, under the leadership of President J. Robert MacMillan a building committee was commission by the board of directors to plan and oversee the construction of a new building. On Sunday, November 2, 1975 the new Muncie YMCA at 500 S. Mulberry Street was dedicated.
Today the YMCA of Muncie has grown to serve over 4,000 households with 5 locations. The YMCA of Muncie has an excellent track record of providing quality mission driven programs that enrich the lives of all people in spirit, mind and body.
To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body FOR ALL.
Who We Are
The Y is a powerful association of men, women, and children of all ages and from all walks of life joined together by a shared passion: to strengthen the foundations of community. Anchored in more than 10,000 neighborhoods around the country, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. As a leading nonprofit with a strong, meaningful brand, we must present ourselves consistently as a unified cause with shared values and a common voice.
The Y’s promise, to strengthen the foundations of community, is our cause.
Our core values are woven into everything we do.
- Caring: Show a sincere concern for others
- Honesty: Be truthful in what you say and do
- Respect: Follow the golden rule
- Responsibility: Be accountable for your promises and actions