December 09, 2016

Through the generosity of Dr. Phillips Charities, the YMCA is expanding its mission to improve the lives of all in Central Florida.

Orlando, FL, December 9, 2016  – The YMCA of Central Florida today announced the unveiling of the newly transformed Dr. P. Phillips YMCA, which is providing a new model for how other Ys, locally and nationally, will empower people to lead healthier, more balanced lives.

Funded through the generosity of Dr. Phillips Charities and community donors, the $11 million transformation supports the Y’s strategic plan to impact the lives of 600,000 Central Floridians through a focus on Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility.

Through purposeful design, innovative technology and mission-based partnerships, the new Dr. P. Phillips YMCA is focused on providing everything people need to get healthy – and stay healthy – all in one location. Examples of this transformation include the latest in connected fitness technology with TechnoGym and MyWellness cloud, a tech-infused Child Development Center to promote active learning and health, a new farm-to-table, mission-based healthy eating café, a Y Teaching Kitchen for cooking education, an Orlando Health Concierge Desk/rehabilitation center, and new exercise studios, including the largest group exercise room in Orlando.

In keeping with the Y’s Spirit, Mind and Body approach to good health, Y members will also have access to an onsite chaplain, community gathering areas to connect with neighbors, evidence-based programs to prevent and recover from chronic disease, and opportunities to give back and make a difference.

As the preferred health care partner for the Dr. P. Phillips YMCA and four other area Ys, Orlando Health has expanded its presence. Through the Orlando Health Concierge Desk, Y members can schedule physician appointments, clinical rehabilitation services, health screenings and education classes.

At more than 85,000 sq. ft., the newly transformed Y has significantly expanded its size and capacity to better serve the Dr. Phillips community. The two-year transformation was funded through a $9 million gift from Dr. Phillips Charities and more than $2 million raised through the community and volunteers.

Turning the Tide on Chronic Disease
According to Dan Wilcox, YMCA of Central Florida President and CEO, the newly transformed Y will enable the organization to serve more people, in more ways than ever before. It will also challenge the community to think about preventative health and wellness – and the YMCA – in entirely new ways.

“With chronic disease so prevalent yet preventable, the Y is on a mission to help people adopt healthier, more balanced lifestyles,” Wilcox said. “At the new Dr. P. Phillips YMCA, you’ll see this commitment reflected in every program, resource and personalized interaction between Y staff and members.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all Americans suffer from at least one chronic condition, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease and stroke. Nationally, chronic disease accounts for 7-in-10 deaths, as well as 86% of total health care spending.

In response, the Y of Central Florida has been forging new health care partnerships, launching preventative health pilots, and transforming its facilities to inspire people to take charge of their health rather than dealing with costly and debilitating conditions in the future.

Axum Market Café
With food a major part of adopting healthier lifestyles, the Y has also partnered with Renaut van der Riet, founder of Axum Coffee and lead pastor of Mosaic Church, to open a new Axum Market Café in the Dr. P. Phillips Y.

The café is open to the public and features farm-to-table meals, fresh-pressed juices, healthy snacks, artisanal coffees and more.  For added convenience, Y members and others can order healthy selections via the Axum Market Café mobile app, drive by and pick them up, or enjoy on the Y’s new covered outdoor patio or within the lobby dining area.

With a shared commitment to serve, 100% of the café’s net profits are benefitting local and global initiatives around social justice, food, clean water and family health. “Axum Market Café is about more than enjoying delicious, healthful food,” van der Riet said. “It’s also a place where people can join around a cause, a purpose, a way to improve their lives and the lives of others.”

As the Y of Central Florida strives to educate people about the benefits of healthy eating, it is one of only a few Ys in the nation to have a fulltime chef and nutritionist on staff. In this capacity, Gary Appelsies, the YMCA’s Director of Healthy Eating, worked with Axum staff to develop the café’s menus.

“Food is a proven way to help the body heal, maintain a healthy weight and avoid chronic disease,” Appelsies said. “And now at the Dr. P. Phillips Y, we are providing fresh, seasonal food that tastes great, is affordable and convenient.”

Through the Y Teaching Kitchen, Appelsies and other area chefs are also showing Y members how to prepare healthier meals at home. Classes are geared to everyone from families and “foodies,” to those with special dietary needs or organizations seeking to improve worksite wellness.

John Cardone, YMCA Senior Vice President of Health Strategies and Business Development, said the Y of Central Florida is in a unique position to convene partners who share the Y’s commitment to Healthy Living. To date, the association is collaborating with Orlando Health, Florida Hospital, the West Orange Health Care District, Sodexo, United Health Foundation and others on a variety of preventative health pilots and initiatives.

“It’s all about impact and helping people lead healthier, stronger lives within and beyond the four walls of the YMCA,” said Cardone. “When you think about the legacy of Dr. Phillips Charities and our mission alignment at the Dr. P. Phillips Y with Orlando Health and Axum Market Café, we’re on the cusp of creating something great.”

Legacy of Dr. Phillips Charities
The relationship between the Y of Central Florida and Dr. Phillips Charities began in 1983 when The Dr. P. Phillips Foundation provided the donation of land and funding to create the Dr. P. Phillips Y, which opened in 1985. Over the years, Dr. Phillips Charities has generously funded capital improvements at numerous other YMCA family centers, including “Outreach” Ys that serve Pine Hills, South Orlando, Kissimmee and other striving communities. Since 1999, Dr. Phillips Charities has also funded Safe Start, the YMCA’s signature water survival program, which has helped more than 17,500 children avoid the tragedy of childhood drowning.

Over the past 30-plus years, Dr. Phillips Charities has donated more than $43.6 million to the YMCA of Central Florida. No other Y in the nation has received this type of sustaining support. It has enabled the Y to grow, innovate and serve the growing needs of hundreds of thousands of Central Floridians each year.

About YMCA of Central Florida
For over 130 years, the YMCA of Central Florida has focused on strengthening communities through Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. Operating 27 YMCA Family Centers across Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Brevard, Lake and Marion counties, the Y is on a mission to improve the lives of all in Central Florida by connecting individuals, families and communities with opportunities based on Christian values that strengthen Spirit, Mind and Body.  As one of the area’s largest non-profits, the Y serves over 400,000 Central Floridians per year and employs 1,800 Y staff who join together with thousands of donors, volunteers and advocates to empower our community for good. To join the cause or learn more, visit ymcacentralflorida.com.   

About Dr. Phillips Charities
The Dr. Phillips name has been a major economic and philanthropic presence in the Central Florida community since the turn of the 20th century. Dr. Phillips Charities honors the legacy of the Phillips family and its support of organizations that live up to the motto “to help others help themselves.” The organization has been a leader in shaping the nonprofit sector by designing innovative programs to solve community problems, investing in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment and granting funds to expand services to meet the needs of a growing central Florida population. Dr. Phillips Charities has an ongoing commitment to support organizations in the Dr. Phillips community located in southwest Orange County where the Phillips family had substantial investments during their life time. Income produced from a portfolio of rental properties and other investments funds Dr. Phillips Charities’ grantmaking.

###