We invite you to read the YMCA Retirement Fund’s 2022 Annual Report

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Message from the Chair Message from the Interim President and CEO Report from the CIO
Annual Highlights Leadership Annual Report PDF

Message from the Chair

William D. Rueckert

As Board Chair of the YMCA Retirement Fund, it is my privilege to present the Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Report. As I look back at the year, one word comes to mind: milestones. This was a year filled with them—some happy, some sad, but all notable.

In celebration of the Fund’s 100th anniversary, we launched a new interactive webpage with retirement stories from Y staff and leaders all over the country, and we regularly communicated anniversary news to the Fund’s Plan Participants and Retirees. Our special logo says it all: Celebrating 100 years, Committed to the Future.

The Fund’s Support of YMCAs During the Pandemic

As the global pandemic went nonstop into its third year, the Fund’s team continued to do stellar work. Understanding and being sensitive to the massive challenges faced by YMCAs, the Fund maintained options on special contribution rates through the end of calendar year 2021. The goal was to give YMCAs the space to recover financially. Then, Fund staff provided continued support in early 2022 as Ys transitioned back to their historical contribution rates.

The resiliency of YMCAs has been nothing less than inspiring to the Fund’s board and staff, and we are proud to serve as a trusted partner in helping YMCA staff look forward to lifetime income in retirement.

Staff Recognition

In May 2022, Scott Dolfi announced his plans to retire as CEO of the Fund for personal and family reasons. His three years at the Fund were transformational. One of Scott’s great skills is talent management, and he built a very strong Executive Leadership Team. That team has a heightened focus on ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Fund for many generations to come. The Fund’s Chief Financial Officer, Michael Cefole, stepped in as interim CEO, and the board is doing a thorough search for Scott’s successor.

Trustee Service

During the year, three trustees transitioned off the Fund’s board: Barbara Bettin, Angela Brock Kyle, and Denise Day. Barb had served since 2015, Angela since 2016, and Denise since 2012.

All three showed deep dedication to the Fund, sharing their knowledge and wisdom unstintingly. They personified the best in nonprofit board leadership, volunteering their time and talent in ways that provided invaluable support to 100,000 Plan Participants and 16,000 Retirees.

Welcome New Trustee

This year, we welcomed Brian T. Pedersen to the board. He is Vice President & Actuary, Actuarial Enterprise Capabilities for Prudential, Hartford, CT, and Newark, NJ. His responsibilities include enabling agile and process improvement disciplines, developing modeling capabilities, and asset-liability management. Brain’s actuarial expertise has been a major addition to the board’s collective skillset.

Embarking on a Second Century of Service to the YMCA Movement

As we celebrate the Fund’s 100th anniversary, the Fund’s board is both energized and humbled by the challenge to deliver on the Fund’s mission: To empower YMCA employees to achieve economic security, enabling them to focus on strengthening communities through their work for the YMCA.

William D. Rueckert
Board Chair

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Message from the Interim President and CEO

Michael B. Cefole

The theme of this Annual Report is the theme of my message to 100,000 Plan Participants and 16,000 Retirees:

Celebrating 100 years, Committed to the Future.

July 1, 2022, marked the 100th anniversary of the YMCA Retirement Fund having started operations. Back then, retirement programs were rare. Social Security did not even exist.

Conceived in 1911, the Fund was incorporated in 1921 after a $4 million fundraising effort. Significant leadership of the campaign was provided by Dr. John R. Mott, a name that YMCA historians know well.

The original idea for the Fund was to create a program that would support, in retirement, the people who wake up every day and make the YMCA the special place that it is in their communities. That same motivation is what drives the entire staff of the Fund when we wake up every day.

My colleagues and I are proud that the Fund has helped set the YMCA Movement apart from other nonprofit community service organizations in the United States. There are very few nonprofits that have a single-focus program providing income for life in retirement.

Long-Term Metrics

The Summary Financial Data & Participant Statistics in this Annual Report presents key measures of the Fund’s work in both investment management and benefits administration. Our ultimate goal is to provide lifetime income in retirement to those who have dedicated service through their work at the YMCA. We look well beyond one-year measures, as longer-term metrics are more applicable to the Fund’s very long-term endeavor, evidenced by its 100-year history and commitment to continue providing benefits well into the next century.

Scott Dolfi

Three years ago, Scott Dolfi came to the Fund as the CEO and brought a unique blend of knowledge about pensions and insurance, combined with a passion for helping the people who help others. In a very short period of time, he analyzed the Fund, and helped the board and staff recognize what we needed to do to tighten our focus on long-term initiatives to make the Fund even stronger.

Scott also had a remarkable ability to take a complicated situation, simplify it, and articulate the essence of what needed to be done. In the process he made it memorable. Here is an example:

Our goal at the Fund is to pay the best retirement income possible while ensuring we are here to deliver on the promises we make to future generations of YMCA staff.

Introducing Myself

I came to the Fund two years ago as a result of my strong belief in the importance of providing financial security in retirement through lifetime income, a lifelong affiliation with YMCAs, and the attraction of an organization (the Fund) whose mission is clearly aimed at both.

I’m proud to have worked with Scott, and humbled by the trust the board displayed in asking me to serve as Interim CEO. My background in leading retirement plans and annuity businesses with a focus on providing past, current, and future generations security and peace of mind in retirement, has served me well as the Fund’s CFO, and in my current role as well. Please reach out during this season of transition if there is anything I or the Fund’s team can do to support you and your YMCA.

6 Strategic Priorities

The Fund’s long-term strategic plan articulates six Priorities which provide the framework for annual objectives. What follows are our key achievements during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022.

1. Evolve the Plan
An important part of managing the risks associated with our Plan is to continually evaluate the performance of the Plan’s portfolio and participant demographics so that assets will be invested, and plan features designed, to deliver lifetime income to our retirees. We have evolved our modeling capabilities so that we can remain laser-focused on the results.

The Fund has been here for 100 years; along the way adjustments have been made to plan design and to asset allocation in order to ensure the strength of the Fund for the long-term future. That same long-term focus drives us today.

2. Protect and Grow Assets
The Fund manages a diverse portfolio totaling $9 billion. In the past year, work was begun to adjust the asset allocation to continue to balance the rate/return tradeoffs necessary to provide competitive benefits in a safe and secure manner. We continued developing talent and selectively hired to enhance our ability to manage the Fund over the long-term. The Report from the CIO in this Annual Report delves deeper into the Fund’s short- and long-term investment results, set within the context of our external environment.

3. Modernize Technology
With technology changing virtually at the speed of light, the Fund has undertaken a major effort aimed at transformation for the present and the future. We modernized our Data Center and strengthened cyber security protection. We also undertook a total redesign of Annual Benefit Statements, which took the work of specialists in literally all departments at the Fund.

4. Enhance Education, Communication, and Engagement
Our Education and Communications are focused on enhancing the engagement of the Fund with YMCA staff. Highlights include the launch of a new Learning Center, redesign of virtual courses, development of a Communications Guide for YMCA Human Resource professionals, and the kick-off of a CEO Advisory Cabinet. We also celebrated the Fund’s 100 Year Anniversary.

5. Enhance Human Capital
Talent Management was deep and broad during the year, with 20 new Fund staff hired and quite a few promoted. The average tenure of Fund staff is about 10 years, representing a strong base of knowledge. The Board of Trustees affirmed 9 areas of collective expertise needed and 7 behaviors to build a strong board culture. This provides the framework for future recruitment to the board.

6. Strengthen Foundation and Operational Processes
While the Fund as an organization is relatively small (about 110 staff), we take pride in using management techniques usually reserved for much larger organizations. In the past year we initiated process and system improvements, operationalized a Compliance framework, and refined and simplified our approach to Enterprise Risk Management.

Savings for Life – Looking Forward

The Fund is proud and confident to be embarking on its second century of service to the YMCA Movement. Safety and security will always remain core to our work. Back to that simple phrase: Our goal at the Fund is to pay the best retirement income possible while ensuring we are here to deliver on the promises we make to future generations of YMCA staff.

Mike Cefole
Interim President and CEO
Chief Financial Officer

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Report from the CIO

Hunter S. Reisner


Over 2,500 years ago, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “Change is the only constant in life.” We sure have been living in a time of great, frequent and seemingly constant change. Just as the worst global pandemic in over a century seemed to be slowly subsiding, late 2021 and early 2022 saw global markets move from one crisis and shock to another – continued Covid resurgence with the Omicron variant, war in Europe with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, worsening geopolitical tensions (particularly U.S.-China), accelerating inflation, unrelenting internal strife in the U.S., and now fears of a recession, all against the backdrop of a deteriorating climate crisis.

It seemed as if it might not have to be this way, and indeed our July-to-June fiscal year began on a hopeful note. As of June 30, 2021, the Fund had experienced one of its best 12-month periods of growth in decades, as equity and bond prices in many parts of the world rallied to record highs from the depths of the pandemic-induced economic curtailment. But Fiscal Year 2022 became a tale of two halves.

  • In the first half, the U.S. stock market, led by growth and technology stocks, continued its upward march and reached new all-time highs. However, signs of trouble for financial assets began to emerge, as inflation exceeded expectations worldwide owing to strong economic activity, soaring commodity prices, supply chain bottlenecks, and the massive fiscal and monetary stimulus previously pumped into economies worldwide during the heights of the pandemic and beyond.
  • Things came to a head in our fiscal year’s second half, as Russia invaded Ukraine, inflation reached multi-decade highs, and global central banks reacted to inflationary conditions by removing all stimulus and becoming more restrictive. With aggressive interest rate hikes underway and rising price pressures, global stocks and bonds declined in tandem, hurting most institutional portfolios, including the Fund’s.

The Fund’s results reflected this market turbulence, with the portfolio advancing over 7% in the first half, but then giving up nearly half of its gains to finish the fiscal year ahead by 4% as of June 30, 2022. Notably, the Fund’s 4% return was positive and thus well ahead of the slightly negative returns of our composite benchmark. More importantly, the Fund’s longer-term 5- and 10-year returns have also exceeded our composite benchmark. This demonstrates the benefit of the Fund’s well-diversified global portfolio that includes private equities, real assets, and diversifying strategies including hedge funds in addition to the more traditional public stocks and bonds.

Given the Fund’s long time horizon and mission to serve multiple generations of participants, we do not focus on any one year’s returns. More relevant are the Fund’s longer-term results, with an average annual 10-year return of just under 9% and 5-year return of over 9%. Each of these measures exceed: (a) our composite benchmark, (b) a portfolio mix of public stocks and bonds by a substantial amount, and (c) the risk-free rate by an even larger amount. Further, it is quite strong for a globally diversified pool of assets during a period of historically low interest rates.

Market and Macroeconomic Outlook

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,”

— Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

While Covid brought tremendous hardship to YMCAs, the U.S., and the world, many people’s lives were saved by human ingenuity – exemplified most powerfully by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s novel mRNA vaccines developed with stunning speed to 90%+ effectiveness.

Aside from science, government stimulus also played an enormous role in buttressing many individuals and nearly all financial markets. World governments and central banks injected huge amounts of fiscal and monetary stimulus into economies. This helped to fuel a powerful extension of the bull market that continued from the second quarter of 2020 through December 2021.

It certainly was the best of times for financial assets! U.S. equities delivered a nearly 30% gain in 2021, thereby doubling over the trailing three-year period. Strong economic activity and earnings helped stoke asset prices, with public and private technology companies in particular rising to levels not seen since the dot-com era at the start of this century.

However, amidst this euphoria, inflation was beginning to rear its head, driven by supply issues and strong consumer demand. After many years of muted consumer price increases, by the last quarter of 2021 the U.S. Consumer Price Index was rising at its fastest pace since 1982 – and it has continued thus far in 2022. Other major economies experienced the same phenomenon. Industrial metals such as copper, zinc, and aluminum saw rapid gains. In addition, other challenges were beginning to manifest themselves, including rising geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe.

In February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, marking the first land war in Europe since World War II and a watershed moment in major-power relations. The war, and the Western world’s measures to contain Russia’s aggression, introduced new uncertainties and challenges for financial markets, including an extra boost to inflation, food and commodity shortages, and further strains to U.S.-China relations.

As inflation repeatedly exceeded expectations in 2022, the Fed turned increasingly restrictive, including increasing interest rates and beginning to sell the securities it had been purchasing to stimulate the economy since the Great Financial Crisis and through the pandemic. With surging inflation and escalating expectations of monetary tightening, stock and bond markets both fell precipitously. By June 2022, equity markets in developed and emerging countries alike had descended into so-called bear market territory (defined as a 20% decline). U.S. bonds similarly ended June with historic drawdowns, leaving investors few places to hide. Oil & gas prices, on the other hand, soared to multi-year highs.

The market and growth outlooks continue to face many uncertainties, including a potential near-term recession as central banks raise interest rates, supply chain issues associated with China’s zero-Covid policies, and the war in Ukraine. Accordingly, the Fund’s investment team is working diligently to ensure the portfolio is as well diversified as possible and thus resilient to multiple potential economic environments. We are diversified across most dimensions, including asset class exposures, sectors, managers, and currencies. However, we do retain a heavy exposure to equity and credit markets broadly.

Fund Performance

As mentioned, the Fund returned +4% in the one-year period ending June 30, 2022. The Fund’s positive return was driven primarily by its Natural Resources (up +52%), Real Estate (up +38%), and Private Equity (up +32%) investments, while Public Equity (down -22%) and Rates (down -6%) exposures unsurprisingly were the main detractors given the market dynamics described above. The magnitude of many of these returns is notably large. An important contributor to the Fund’s success in Fiscal Year 2022 was our intentional under-weights to Public Equity and Credit and over-weights to Natural Resources and Private Equity.

Concluding Remarks

The Fund’s financial performance has been strong and consistent in recent years as well as over the longer term. Consistent performance is essential for a retirement plan that is designed to provide lifetime income for retirees. Accordingly, diversification and the resilience needed to weather a wide variety of economic environments are key tenets of the Fund’s investment program. Similarly, the fortitude and experience to find highly compelling investments across a broad range of asset classes globally, are essential if the Fund is to fulfill its mission of providing economic security. The Fund’s Management and staff have delivered lifetime income for 100 years, and we take immense pride and care in our mission for the next century and beyond.

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Annual Highlights


Fiscal years ending June 30


Total Fund Return


Strong returns compared to benchmark

*Weighted blend of asset class benchmarks reflecting the YMCA Retirement Fund’s long-term investment strategy.


Funding Level


Consistent funding level over time


Plan Contributions


Contributions rebounded from COVID-19


People Served


Though COVID-19 impacted Plan participation


If you would like a copy of the audited financial statements or actuary’s valuation report, please contact the Fund’s Customer Service Department by calling 800-RET-YMCA (800-738-9622), Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm Eastern.

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Board of Trustees

William D. Rueckert, Chair
President, Oyster Management Group, LLC, Southport, CT

Denise L. Day*, Vice Chair
President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Brandywine, West Chester, PA

Mark Baumgartner
Chief Investment Officer, Carnegie Corporation of New York, New York, NY

Barbara A. Bettin*
President and CEO, YMCA of Lincoln, NE

Angela Brock-Kyle*
Founder and CEO of B.O.A.R.D.S., Larchmont, NY

Scott C. Evans
Retired Deputy Comptroller and CIO for the NYC Office of the Comptroller, New York, NY

Patricia Haverland
Retired Vice President and CIO for Siemens, North America Pensions, Madison, NJ

Stephen A. Ives
President, Cheyenne Petroleum Company, Oklahoma City, OK

Jurij Z. Kushner
Retired Vice President and Corporate Controller, Bausch & Lomb, Fairport, NY

Robert T. Lutts*
Founder, President and Chief Investment Officer, Cabot Wealth Management, Inc., Salem, MA

Christine C. Marcks
Retired President and CEO, Prudential Retirement, New Castle, NH

David M. Martin
President, Foster Holdings, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA

Sandra J. Morander
President and CEO, YMCA of Greater San Antonio, TX

Brian T. Pedersen
VP & Actuary, Actuarial Enterprise Capabilities Prudential, Hartford, CT

W. Kelvin Walker
Chief Executive Officer, Dallas Citizens Council, Dallas, TX

Joseph R. Weist
Chief Financial Officer, Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA

*Ended board service during FY 22


Retiree Liaison

Reid S. Thebault
Retired CEO, YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit, MI


Senior Leadership

Michael B. Cefole
Interim President and CEO
Chief Financial Officer

Matt Blanchette
Vice President – Actuary

Marcela Deitrich
Senior Vice President
Customer Service & Operations

Elizabeth Delgado
Vice President
Human Resources

Suleyman Gokcan
Director of Investment Risk

Kerri R. Hayes
Assistant General Counsel

James G. Kirschner
Chief Strategy Officer

Elizabeth A. Kurilla
Vice President
Internal Audit

Patrick Lachanski
Vice President
Financial Planning & Analysis

Joseph Maksoud
Sr. Director of Infrastructure

John Quiñones
General Counsel

Hunter S. Reisner
Chief Investment Officer

Gerard Rescigno
Chief Information Officer

Mark Sinni
Senior Portfolio Manager

Derrick Stewart
Senior Vice President
Education & Communication

Lisa Worthy
Senior Vice President




Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler LLP



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JP Morgan Chase

Information Technology
Rapid 7

Cambridge Associates

Total & Permanent Disability Claims Administrator
Lincoln Life Assurance Company of Boston

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