Our History



The Litehouse Family YMCA celebrated its grand opening on September 12 in Lowell. The 17,000-square-foot space was purchased in 2019 and the community raised over $1.1 million to make the new location possible. New Veggie Vans are purchased to serve the Muskegon and Grand Rapids area communities with produce.


Cal Community Complex broke ground on October 27, 2021. In partnership with Caledonia Community Schools the new 47,000-square-foot community center is expected to be complete in the spring of 2024.


In Partnership with Kids Food Basket, the YMCA provided free meals to children and families in the community. We also began our “Healthy Outside” initiative, providing members with outdoor group exercise classes.


Spartan Stores YMCA officially changes their name to SpartanNash YMCA.


Our current President and CEO, Scott Lewis, joins the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids.


Ron Nelson announces his retirement after serving the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids for 28 years. Mary Free Bed YMCA officially opens on December 7. The 16,200-square-foot facility became the first facility in the world to be recognized with Universal Global Design certification. 


Visser Family YMCA expands offerings and remodels facility with 5 new family locker rooms, state-of-the-art Men’s and Women’s locker rooms and renovated pool area.


YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin celebrated its 100-Year Anniversary.


Spartan Stores YMCA opened in August in Wyoming, MI. The Veggie Van™ year-round mobile farmers market takes the road.


Construction began for the Spartan Stores YMCA (now SpartanNash YMCA), a $13 million, 96,000 sq. ft. facility located at 5722 Metro Way, Wyoming.


The $200,000 renovation to the Southeast Branch YMCA locker rooms was completed in September, 2009.


The $2.1 million, 12,000 sq. ft Phase II expansion of the Wolverine World Wide Family Branch YMCA includes a wellness area, gymnasium, 10 family locker rooms, and an educational classroom/program meeting space.


A $20 million capital campaign began for the new Southeast Family Branch YMCA to replace the current facility in Grand Rapids Township and build a new Spartan Stores Branch YMCA in Byron Center. 21.33 acres of property was purchased adjacent and west of the Wolverine World Wide Family YMCA to be used for outdoor sports fields and day camp. 1.8 acres of property was purchased north of YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin to be used for camp programs and staff housing.


Nutrition in Action (NIA) school based nutrition education programming begins.


The $29.3 million, 159,000 sq. ft. David D. Hunting Branch YMCA, located at 475 Lake Michigan Drive in Grand Rapids opened in July. The $8.4 million, 46,800 sq. ft. Wolverine Worldwide Family YMCA located at 6555 Jupiter Avenue in Belmont opened in October.


The Downtown and West Board of Managers merged to form the David D. Hunting Board of Managers. The Fit Zone opened. Continuous Quality Initiative was implemented.


Safety Around Water (SAW) programing begins.  SAW teaches life-saving and water safety skills for drowning prevention.


Visser Family YMCA opened Teen Center and Chapel. Heathy U programming begins.


New Lowell YMCA Community Wellness and Teen Centers open on January 1, 2001. New Southeast YMCA Teen Center opened June 12, 2001. LOOP after school programming begins.


Dedicated the “Skip Gates Memorial Chapel” Saturday, June 24, 2000 at Camp Manitou-Lin. Purchased land on the corner of Post Drive and Jupiter Avenue for the purpose of a new North Branch YMCA.


Purchased new Southwest facility, which was dedicated as the “Visser Family YMCA” on May 7, 2000.


Renovations of Camp Manitou-Lin are completed, highlighted by the dedication of the new Cheff Lodge, two new quad cabins and the Liesveld Pavilion. Downtown, West, and Southeast branches make significant facility improvements to enhance member services. Inner City Youth Baseball programming begins to teach fundamental skills and sportsmanship to youth.


Metropolitan YMCA begins Capital Campaign for expansions at Southeast, West and Camp Manitou-Lin.  South Branch headquarters move from Wyoming to Grandville and is renamed Southwest Branch. Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) programming begins through the Y.


Downtown, West, and Southeast Branches open “Kids Gym” facilities.


Downtown YMCA collaborates with the West Michigan Whitecaps to offer Inner City Baseball Program.


Lowell Branch opens two childcare facilities.


South Branch converts from a facility to a community-based operation. Shelter Plus Care, a special residence program for veterans, is established at the Downtown YMCA.


Generations Child Care Center opens in August in collaboration with Porter Hills Presbyterian Village. Ionia Program Center is recognized as the Ionia Country Branch YMCA. Mid City Adventure Club begins.


Downtown Branch YMCA Capital Campaign to name the new natatorium in honor of Paul G. Goebel, Sr., former mayor of Grand Rapids and President of the YMCA Board of Directors from 1937-1941. Corporate Sports Challenge begins.


Community raised $3.7 million to fund the purchase of 120 acres of land for resident Camp Manitou-Lin, and to fund the Central Branch renovation project: new swimming pool, gymnasium, locker rooms, running track, fitness equipment, child care center, activity center, and multi-purpose room.  Childcare and school age programs begin. Ionia Program Center established with the cooperation of the Ionia Public School District.


Instructional swimming pool added at South Branch facility. Central Branch added Nautilus Center and family locker rooms.


Community raised $2.5 million to fund the construction of the Southeast Branch, and to add locker rooms, racquetball courts, and exercise room, saunas and lobby area to the South Branch, and added racquetball courts, and a finished basement to the West Branch, additional cabins for Camp Manitou-Lin, and a newly renovated Youth Department for the Central Branch.  These expansions were completed in 1980.


Central Branch remodeled to expand recreational capacity. Outdoor education programming begins at YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin.


Organization of the Southeast Branch.


Community raised $736,000 for addition of gymnasium and locker rooms to the West Branch building and to construct the current South Branch.


Organizations of the Lowell Branch with the assistance of the King Memorial Fund. South Branch organized.


Community raised $425,000 for construction of the West Branch building.


Central Branch at 33 Library Street, NE was constructed at a time when the population of Grand Rapids was 112,000. (Total cost was $250,000.)


Property donated at Barlow Lake by the Liesveld Family. Site became YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin.


A $100,000 building is constructed. It included a gymnasium, swimming pool, track and library rooms. (Now the site of the Federal Square Building).


The first YMCA building is constructed with a few meeting rooms and study areas.


The Grand Rapids YMCA is organized by a small group of men meeting in the chapel of the First Park Congregational Church.


YMCA was founded in London, England.