The YMCA of the USA, in collaboration with the Kautz Family YMCA Archives at the University of Minnesota Libraries, invites proposals for fellows conducting research that aligns with the Young Men’s Christian Association’s [YMCA] strategic and organizational goals.


Fellows must extensively use archival materials from the Kautz Family YMCA Archives. On-site research is welcomed but not required. Up to six fellowships will be awarded, each providing an award of $10,000 (taxable).

Research Areas

  • Multicultural Leadership Development:
    • As an American institution, the history of the YMCA mirrors that of the nation. It includes salient examples worth admiring and aspiring towards and cautionary episodes that warrant critical examination. Successful applications for this theme will want to explore how the YMCA at the international, national and local levels has influenced and contributed to developing leaders of color. This may include investigating the impact of non-white leaders and communities on shaping the YMCA, emphasizing the dynamics that cultivate excellent leaders and their broader impact beyond the YMCA, identifying and analyzing historical barriers to inclusion, and proposing strategies for creating a more equitable and inclusive environment within the organization.
  • Public Health:
    • While today, perhaps most recognized for its wellness offerings, the YMCA has a rich history of promoting the health of communities. Successful applicants for this topic are encouraged to think broadly about what is and is not public health. Examples include, how has concern for the health of individuals and communities informed the YMCA’s trajectory? What are the processes for both innovation and successful implementation? And critically what competencies are needed at the organizational and individual levels to deliver public health initiatives?
  • Mental Health
    • Founded in 1844 as a community for young Christian men, one may argue that the YMCA’s original concern was emotional well-being. Successful applicants will interrogate organizational history, seeking narratives that underscore or possibly reframe how mental health has and has not been a concern in YMCA programs, initiatives, and culture. As an organization founded on Christian principles, other areas of interest include the intersection of religion, mental health, and community, as well as the promotion and impacts of normative identities.

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