The Illinois State Alliance of YMCAs brings together more than 800 YMCA program locations working in 120 communities and engaging almost 1 million Illinoisans to strengthen the foundations of community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

Our policy priorities support legislation, policy and systems changes for:


Nurture the potential of every child and teen

  • Improving access to and quality of child care and enrichment programming, especially through funding of the Child Care Assistance Program, After School programs, Teen REACH, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and the Early Childhood Block Grant.
  • Increasing funding and policy changes that address the student achievement gap, summer learning loss, remote learning and education quality, and licensing of effective operations to provide a safe environment for out of school time programs.
  • Changing policy and expanding funding that promotes community violence prevention, safe environments, trauma informed care and protection against abuse for children and youth.
  • Increasing access to water safety instruction to provide the life skill of swimming and prevent drowning.


Improve communities’ well-being

  • Encouraging programs that expand healthy living and address the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals and communities.
  • Increasing physical activity before, during and after school through investments in community infrastructure that promotes physical activity and funding for evidenced-based programs.
  • Expanding access to healthy foods especially in food insecure communities.
  • Transforming regulation and legislation that expands access to community-based chronic disease prevention programs through the Illinois health care system.


Giving back and providing support to our neighbors

  • Improving state policies and funding to address childhood hunger.
  • Supporting and promoting volunteerism and civic engagement of all citizens at local, state and national levels.
  • Preserving nonprofit tax exempt status in Illinois. To stay strong, effective and responsive to the needs of the local community, Illinois nonprofit organizations must be able to keep their nonprofit tax exemption and avoid additional fees on services, and access funds for capital development.
  • Ensuring access to and equality within YMCA programs for all.
  • Promoting access to digital services as a basic need to be available for all.