Annual Reports

2020 Annual Report
Message from the CEO
AR 2020 Annual Highlights image 

June 30, 2020 marked the end of my first year as CEO of the Fund. Soon after I started, I dove in the deep end at the YMCA General Assembly in Anaheim, learning all that I could about the people and the rich history of the YMCA in America and worldwide. It is humbling to know that thousands of current and former YMCA staff depend on the Fund for their financial future in retirement.

For me it comes down to this: The Fund’s role is to provide financial security in retirement to YMCA people who help make their communities stronger. That’s exactly what I expected when I joined the Fund.

COVID-19 and the Fund

What I did not expect after six months on the job was the COVID-19 global pandemic. Almost without warning, the world changed. We are now living in unprecedented times while facing economic uncertainty. This is the most devastating public health emergency in my lifetime, and we are all affected. Relatives and neighbors have gotten the virus, and we’ve lost some of the best people we knew.

Most YMCAs had to close their facilities in the interest of social distancing. In the process, since revenues virtually disappeared, YMCAs had to scramble to reduce costs. Even though the Fund’s staff is working remotely and not in our New York City office, we continue to do all that we can to support YMCAs and their staff.

Help for YMCAs

One way the Fund helped YMCAs was by offering a temporarily reduced contribution rate to their employees’ accounts at the Fund. Early on, the Fund’s YMCA Relations team provided 1:1 consultations with YMCA executives to understand the best way the Fund could offer help. One of the outcomes of those conversations was offering the ability for YMCAs to make a temporary move to a 1% contribution rate.

The Customer Service team has fielded calls from Participants who were either concerned about the safety of their accounts or making inquiries about the availability of their retirement savings to meet immediate cash needs. And some Retirees called, looking for reassurance that their monthly annuity payment would be deposited in their bank account on the first of the month, as usual. Those annuity payments were ready on time, every month, as they always have been.

The Health of the Fund

The Annual Highlights page presents key measures of the Fund’s work, in both investment management and benefits administration. We served over 770 YMCAs and more than 100,000 individuals, including nearly 15,000 retirees and beneficiaries who are receiving lifetime income. This is the essence of our work, and the retirement benefit is especially important after a career of service.

Overall, our investment performance (net of fees) reflected no growth for the twelve months July 2019 – June 2020. As a pension fund, we focus on long-term returns, and that is achieved through the combined performance over several individual years. The Fund’s Investment team has been monitoring, analyzing and reacting to the market turmoil. Please read Hunter Reisner’s Report from the CIO for his expert commentary about both the short-term and the very strong long-term investment performance of the Fund.

At the end of every fiscal year, our actuaries prepare a valuation of our liabilities. This year, the combination of increased liabilities and no growth in assets led to a drop in our funding level (assets as a percentage of liabilities), which is just one short-term measure of the health of a pension fund. More important is our long-term outlook and overall risk management, as we are committed to protecting our participants from investment risk while providing lifetime income in retirement.

As we manage through the long-term sustainability and benefits of the Fund, we take into account a number of long-term macro factors:

  • Historically low interest rates, which reduces the interest income we earn on our bond investments and increases the value of the income received in retirement

  • Equity market volatility, which increases the cost of protecting account balances from downside investment risk

  • People are living longer, which creates even more value in the lifetime income that we offer

On a shorter-term basis, we consider:

  • The reductions in contributions to the Fund by the YMCAs and individual staff

  • Increased withdrawals as a result of the difficult economic conditions causing a strain on YMCA staff

Looking Forward

As the new CEO of the Fund, I was excited to take on the Board’s direction to engage in a year-long strategic review. This resulted in a new strategic plan, approved by the board in May 2020, designed to make the Fund and its offerings sustainable and relevant for decades to come.

As a pension fund our goal is to provide a safe and secure way for YMCA staff to save now, so they may look forward to lifetime income in the future when they retire. When I started at the Fund I made a pledge: We will:

  • Always offer the best benefit possible

  • Never jeopardize the sustainability of the Fund for future generations

  • Make it as easy as possible to do business with the Fund

Despite an unprecedented 12 month period, we continue to deliver on this pledge.

My wish to all of my YMCA colleagues is continued good health.

Stay safe.

Scott Dolfi
President and CEO

About Scott

Scott Dolfi became the Fund’s sixth president and CEO in June 2019. Prior to joining the Fund, he worked for Guardian Life Insurance Company of America as chief operating officer. Before that, he worked for General Electric for 18 years. During this time, he spent eight years in London as the CEO of GE Life, a pension and annuity company.

Scott holds an MS in industrial and management engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a BS in engineering and management from Clarkson University.