YMCA of Austin Presents Community Partner, Volunteer Service Awards, Names New Board Officers


The YMCA of Austin announced this past Thursday its Community Partners of the Year and the recipients of its highest volunteer leadership awards at the Here for Good community celebration. Held at YMCA Camp Moody, the event served as the organization’s 68th annual meeting and its first in-person event since the pandemic began. The Y also named a new slate of officers to its Metropolitan Board of Directors.

The Moody Foundation and Brighter Bites were each named Community Partner of the Year for 2020. The Moody Foundation provided funding to support the Y’s delivery of child care to essential workers during the lockdown and modified summer day camp programs over the summer. Brighter Bites teamed with the Y to distribute nearly 17,000 20-pound boxes of produce at the East Communities and North Austin YMCAs.

Kate Henderson, President of Regional Hospitals and Strategic Community Partnerships at Ascension, received an honorary Will W. Miller Volunteer Leadership Awardcommemorating her service as Chair of the Y’s Metropolitan Board of Directors. In 2019, Henderson agreed to extend her term as Chair by one year in order to shepherd the Y’s successful merger with Extend-A-Care, creating the largest child care provider in Central Texas. As her term came to a close, the pandemic presented new challenges and prevented the Y from acknowledging her service in 2020. 

The recipients of the 2020 Will W. Miller Award are Dorothee Auldridge and Reagan Nash. Auldridge, a realtor with Keller Williams in Dripping Springs, assumed the role as Board Chair in May, 2020, and immediately began developing a strategy to enable the Austin Y to survive the shutdown. In July, when then-CEO James Finck announced his retirement, she began guiding the organization’s transition that culminated with the hiring of Kathy Kuras, who assumed the role as President & CEO in February, 2021.

Nash, who is Vice President–Wealth Management at UBS and a member of the Y’s Metro Board, led the organization’s COVID-19 Task Force that devised a financial plan to ride out the uncertainties presented by the pandemic. Through a combination of federal Payroll Protection Funds, expense reductions, reduced facility hours and streamlined services, the Y was able to withstand the loss of half of its members and suspension of its programming. As the community emerged from the pandemic and new federal stimulus funds emerged, Nash led development of a new plan that put the Y on a stable financial footing and enabled the organization to resume or expand programs to meet community needs.

The Will W. Miller Volunteer Leadership Award honors the legacy of one of the YMCA of Austin’s most dedicated volunteers. Will Miller epitomized YMCA volunteer spirit until he died suddenly in 1989 while jogging on the Town Lake hike and bike trail.

The YMCA also presented its slate of officers for the 2021-2022 year, including:

·         Chair – Dorothee Auldridge:  Realtor at Keller Williams

·         Vice Chair – Brian Haulotte: Vice President, Group Preconstruction Services Director, JE Dunn Construction

·         Treasurer – Sharmila Kassam:  FinTech Advisor

·         Secretary – Anamita Mukherjee: Director, Organizational Development at University Federal Credit Union

The YMCA presented several additional awards to recognize outstanding volunteers and staff members, including:

  • Gerald T. Olson Distinguished Service Award: Sam Greer, Member of the East Communities YMCA Board of Managers.
  • Emerging Leader of the Year: Isaac Lane-James, Youth Development Leader with the Extend-A-Care YMCA.

“Volunteer service and community partnerships are the lifeblood of the YMCA,” said Kathy Kuras, YMCA of Austin President & CEO. “We rely on the guidance of our volunteers to ensure that we’re addressing key community needs, and we value our partnerships to leverage our collective resources so we can benefit the greatest number of people.”

About the YMCA of Austin

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. Pre-pandemic, the YMCA of Austin served more than 100,000 members and an additional 30,000 program participants annually through nine branches in Travis, Hays and Bastrop Counties. We also provided afterschool child care at more than 100 licensed sites in four school districts as well as at four YMCA Learning Centers in affordable housing developments. More information is available at www.austinymca.org.

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