A Branch Built on Equality.
From Separation to Integration
In 1917, five YMCA leaders made a historic decision for their time—they would combine the separate Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Filipino YMCA associations into a new single building where all would be welcomed. The branch they founded was the Nu‘uanu YMCA. It was recognized as a landmark achievement for racial integration throughout the YMCAs in the United States.
The Boys Built A New Fort
Nu‘uanu YMCA’s original work focused on boys who lived in the surrounding “rough neighborhoods.” In July 1937, many of those boys had become successful young businessmen. They realized their beloved Y was now too small to house programs for both youth and adults, so they formed a “Committee of 100” to make their own space. They raised $120,000 to construct a second Y building adjacent to the original and dubbed it the Nu’uanu Adult Branch.
Diversity Gets a New Home
As membership outgrew the branch and development swept across downtown, the Y moved across the street. On October 27, 1963, the new $1.3 million Nu‘uanu YMCA became the flagship branch of the YMCA of Honolulu. The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Youth Center Division building was added on May 26, 1994. Today, the thriving Nu‘uanu YMCA continues to serve the mixed plate of races, income levels and evolving needs of its community.