Volunteers & Philanthropy

Volunteer Made.

Propelled by Passion

The Y was founded, led and built by the generosity of volunteers at every stage— from London to Honolulu. The first YMCA of Honolulu “capital campaign” took place on September 15, 1881. The Y was 12 years old but lacked its own building. Founder Peter Jones threw out the first challenge—he’d donate $500 towards the purchase of property if at least two other members did the same. Within two minutes, members pledged $2,170. A committee was formed to raise the rest. One year later, the cornerstone was laid for YMCA of Honolulu’s first building.

Legacy of Service

The first Y’s Men’s Club in Hawai‘i was organized at the Nu‘uanu YMCA in 1926—four years after the first club was formed in Toledo, Ohio. The Y’s Men’s Club fostered fellowship and helped the Y in its mission of building character in youth and in addressing the critical needs of the time. Y's Men's Clubs continue their legacy of service today as Y Service and Y's Men's and Women's Clubs. 

More Than a Promise

Today, the YMCA of Honolulu’s “More than a Promise” $15 million Capital Campaign is more than 50% complete and will support renovations to aging cabins at Camp H.R. Erdman, replace a trailer with a permanent building and activity courts at the YMCA Wai‘anae Program Center, and renovate Nu‘uanu YMCA so it can better serve its changing community.

1928 Boys’ Club volunteer leaders. Beginning in the 1920s, Y Men’s Club members helped recruit and train volunteer leaders for YMCA Boys’ Clubs, which served underserved youth throughout O‘ahu.

Honolulu District Y’s Service Club members at a Camp H.R.  Erdman cabin painting project. Today, Hawaii’s nine Y’s Service Clubs in support of the YMCA, raise funds, bring hope to those in need, serve as mentors to youth, and help restore aging facilities and buildings.
1883 YMCA Honolulu volunteer working committee.

The Y had no paid staff. Volunteers visited patients at Queen’s Hospital, counseled prisoners, helped newcomers find employment and lodging, and provided character- building activities for boys and men.
"More Than a Promise" capital campaign artist renderings of renovated YMCA Wai‘anae Youth Center, Nu‘uanu YMCA, and Camp H.R. Erdman cabins.

Athletics & Well-Being ➔