The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago recently began a partnership with PiggyBack Network, a rideshare platform, in an effort to get more kids to day camp. The network is built on a closed-group community of parents to create a modern-day carpooling service.
The Y supports Chicago families in having access to the PiggyBack Network and recognizes the dual quests of eliminating transportation barriers blocking active families and unlocking the potential of future leaders. In its current phase, families of youth attending day camp at the Irving Park YMCA and Lake View YMCA can participate in the PiggyBack Network.
“The Y is so excited to finally be able to announce this partnership and to pilot the program,” said Dorri McWhorter, the president and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. “It’s been many months — and many conversations — in the making to get to this point. Safe, affordable, reliable transportation can be a challenge for families all year-round, and not just in Chicago. We really look forward to exploring how PiggyBack and the Y can continue to grow our partnership and our collective footprint to get all Chicago area youth from point A to point B safely, cost-effectively and on-demand.”
Ismael El-Amin, the co-founder and CEO of the PiggyBack Network, said his team learned the Y had experienced various ups and downs with regard to transporting youth and wanted to assist.
“We talked about the impact of the pandemic and how many of the YMCA locations were hosting parents working remotely and doubling as neighborhood daycares for families,” said El-Amin. “Over the next year, we enriched our relationships. Eventually, we agreed on the upcoming summer day camp partnership as an introduction of PiggyBack into Chicagoland parent communities.”
Rideshare Details and Benefits
Donald Scott II, the chief technology officer and COO of Piggyback, said his company’s individual passions align with providing all communities equitable access to opportunity, and their innovative spirits make the partnership between the YMCA and PiggyBack Network very exciting.
“We hope to remove some of the stress of the daily routine by introducing local neighbors who can share in the responsibility of getting the kids around town,” said Scott. “As we rideshare, the more opportunities are made available for the kids and the caregivers.”
El-Amin said through the partnership, Piggyback is working to be the flexible, affordable and safe option for community parents to be their solution to youth transportation. To them, the collaboration with the YMCA demonstrates their vision aligns with one of the most trusted youth organizations globally.
“What PiggyBack fosters that other methods lack is building a sense of partnership amongst the parents,” said El-Amin. “While driving our child’s friend, we are reinforcing the village mentality that I — as a parent — can impact the lives of other children and help our children grow up seeing this support system. Our culture has never been more connected via social media, but disconnected from real-life community.”
McWhorter said both the Y and rideshare platform work to meet the ever-evolving needs of communities, so the team up felt like a natural fit.
“In the short-term, we want to get as many youths to day camp as possible,” said McWhorter. “It can be a super enriching, life-changing experience — but only for those who can get there. Long-term, we want to reduce transportation barriers all the way to zero for families in the region and, ultimately, everywhere. Partnerships like the one with PiggyBack will empower us to get there.”
Partnership Advice and Tips
When it comes to creating ideal, beneficial partnerships with other entities, El-Amin said relationships between YMCA leaders and other entities should have a matched sense of innovation and drive.
“At the core of our partnership are the youth and parents who benefit from the spectrum of products and services offered by the YMCA,” said El-Amin. “Dorri is all about making her mark and improving every situation she steps into. Having her support with what we were trying to introduce was huge.”
Scott said the first step in a partnership should be to ensure the organizations have overlapping core values. “When looking for a mutually beneficial partnership, the measure of success should be: how are the two organizations elevating the lived experience of the communities we serve,” he added.
Additionally, McWhorter said a good collaboration is about having aligned goals. “Essentially, both of our organizations want to do everything we can to meet people where they are, or in the verbiage of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago’s mission, to strengthen community by connecting all people to their purpose, potential and to each other,” she said. “And if we need to employ innovative solutions to make that connection happen, then partnerships are the key. There’s a reason that ‘if you want to go far, go together’ is so widely quoted. It’s true.”
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