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Dorri McWhorter Named President and CEO of Chicago YMCA

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Following a nationwide search, the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago announced May 18 that it has named Dorri McWhorter as its next president and CEO.

As the first woman and Black executive to lead the organization, McWhorter brings more than 25 years of leadership including operational, financial and change management experience. She will join the YMCA in August after serving eight successful years as the CEO of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago.

“Dorri brings the ideal blend of nonprofit and business acumen to the YMCA, reflecting her deep understanding of, and experience in cultivating culture, driving equity, diversity and inclusion, building relationships, and collaborating with a variety of partners and stakeholders,” said Sharon R. Fairley, YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago who in January 2020 became the first Black woman to chair the Board of Managers in a statement. “Dorri’s passion for mission driven work and her visionary leadership are evidenced by her numerous accomplishments and outstanding stewardship of the YWCA. I look forward to partnering with Dorri and see a bright future based on the strategic innovation she will bring to the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago.”

During her tenure at the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, McWhorter jumpstarted the 145-year-old social service agency’s financial trajectory, increasing its annual operating budget from $10 million to $35 million, allowing it to broaden its reach and deepen its impact. She is credited for modernizing the organization with innovative new initiatives and services, introducing a successful online YWCA Chicago merchandise store, creating an online resource to help women maximize their physical, mental and financial health and wellness, and launching a mobile app to help improve access to the YWCA’s programs.

“At this pivotal time in America and in Chicago, I look forward to the opportunity to help drive change, collaboration and true inclusion at the helm of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago,” said McWhorter in a statement. “Building upon its rich legacy, like having sowed the seeds of Black History Month, the YMCA of Metro Chicago will continue to lead and light the way in tackling the issues standing in the way of joy, growth, opportunity and well-being for every family and child we serve. Together, we can imagine and build upon this unique place to drive belonging and physical and mental well-being when and where our friends and neighbors need it most.”

An eight-person search committee of business and civic leaders who serve as YMCA board members unanimously nominated McWhorter following a comprehensive national search that attracted exceptional candidates. The search committee worked in partnership with Koya Partners, the executive search firm with an exclusive focus on recruiting senior leaders to mission driven roles.

As the YMCA enters this next chapter, McWhorter will provide leadership and direction to sustain, build and fulfill the Y’s mission of strengthening youth, families and communities through academic readiness, character development, violence prevention, and fitness and healthy living.

McWhorter will take over from Richard Malone who stepped down from the role in November 2020. Board member James Hayes has served as interim CEO since then.

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Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is the assistant editor of Community Rec Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com.

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