The Patchogue Family YMCA’s mission is to empower young people and communities worldwide to build a just, sustainable, equitable and inclusive world, where every person can thrive in body, mind and spirit.
When thinking about which causes to support, Folks Insurance Group President James Folks, Jr. knew that the agency should volunteer with a nonprofit that worked hard to provide a variety of positive changes throughout the Long Island area. The Patchogue branch of the YMCA fit that description perfectly, and it made extra sense since Folks was already the chairman of the board.
Programs inclusive of all people
The Patchogue Family YMCA provides a broad number of programs for all ages. Young children receive scholarship opportunities and the ability to attend camps that would normally be outside of their economic reach, while seniors are able to find friendship and bonding experience during fitness classes and health fairs. Additionally, cancer survivors can use the YMCA’s Livestrong Program to find emotional support through in-person groups as well as instructions on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise.
“Our members enjoy a heated indoor pool, full- and half-day early childhood classrooms, a state-of-the-art cardio and strength training center, an indoor rock-climbing wall and plenty of exercise studios.”
—John Borromeo, Executive Director of the Patchogue Family YMCA
Another major way that the YMCA contributes to people of all ages is through monthly food distribution events, intended for families who are experiencing food insecurity. Folks Insurance Group has been directly involved in many of these events. “It was eye-opening to become a part of feeding my neighbors and their families,” said Folks. “The appreciation and the gratitude on the recipients’ faces made me feel like I was the one being given valuable treasures.”
Fundraising events for good causes
As the chairman of the Patchogue Family YMCA, Folks meets regularly with the vice chairman and the executive director and also runs monthly board meetings where fundraising plans for the nonprofit are developed. These meetings give guidance to organizations like Folks Insurance Group toward how they can help assist the YMCA.
“The appreciation and the gratitude on the recipients’ faces made me feel like I was the one being given valuable treasures.”
—James Folks, Jr., President of Folks Insurance Group
In addition to contributing $2,500 to the nonprofit each year, the employees at Folks Insurance Group have built strong bonds thanks to events like the annual 5K race event, which directly helps support the food distribution and Livestrong programs. In April 2023, Folks was selected to be the honoree for the year’s race. For months, he reached out to friends, family and business relationships to garner sponsorship. But when the day finally came, the weather forecast was bleak, rainy and gray – and yet everyone from Folks Insurance Group showed up!
“The true magic of the experience was seeing my entire staff turn out in pouring, wind-driven rain to support the YMCA’s cause,” said Folks. “We bonded through ankle-deep puddles and goosebumps, ultimately breaking the record for money raised during this annual event, which came out to be over $50,000.”
Upkeep on a modern facility
The Patchogue Family YMCA is the newest addition to the YMCA of Long Island family, having recently celebrated its 13th year in the community. This YMCA is a 54,000-square-foot facility with modern amenities. But maintaining such a sizable establishment requires a lot of funding, especially with goals of expanding its pre-K programs and resurfacing the gymnasium floors.
“Our members enjoy a heated indoor pool, full- and half-day early childhood classrooms, a state-of-the-art cardio and strength training center, an indoor rock-climbing wall and plenty of exercise studios,” said John Borromeo, executive director of the Patchogue Family YMCA. “Additional funding helps us continue to renovate and reconfigure our facility, which allows us to provide the best possible experiences to all those who use it.”