Shane Ruffin is the CEO of the YMCA of Calhoun County. Having worked for the YMCA since college, Ruffin understands the importance of reinvesting time and money into the community. The YMCA is currently in the middle of its annual fundraising campaign.
What is your professional background?
I went to Middle Tennessee State University and studied rec administration with a health minor. I started interning with the Nashville YMCA in college, and when I graduated, I started working there. I moved to Los Angeles in 2004 to work for the YMCA out there.
Why did you decide to go from Nashville to Los Angeles?
We have a strong upward mobility program at the YMCA where we grow our own talent. Rarely do we hire from the outside. I went to the YMCA in Los Angeles because they run it like a Fortune 500 company. They are good; they literally wrote the book on how fundraising for the YMCA should be done. I went out there to learn from them. I had a great time, and I learned a lot. From Los Angeles I went to Cincinnati and ran a couple of branches out there. After that I went to Dallas, Texas, then Saint Simons Island, Ga., before coming to Anniston.
Why did you move from Saint Simons Island to Anniston?
I liked what I saw when I came up for the interview. It has been a little over three years since I got here. It has been fun. We have done a ton of work together in the last three years — great board, great staff.
What is a typical work week like for you?
The great thing about this work is that there is nothing typical. We are moving our Oxford branch to a new location — the old Seales Golf store. Yesterday, I was out there with a paintbrush, putting epoxy paint on the floor and sprinkling in sprinkles to make it non-slip. Today, I was at the county school board office talking about our afterschool program, and this afternoon I will be back at the office to write a few grants. Tomorrow, I am back on manual labor at Oxford.
What is the YMCA?
Big pieces of our mission are childcare, health and fitness, and senior health and fitness. We have 600 Silver Sneakers units; insurance companies figured out that a Y pass is cheaper than a bypass.
Why should someone donate to the YMCA?
So much of what you donate will go back to the actual need and mission.
Where do the donations go?
Every penny of contributed revenues stays in the county, in our building. We pay 1.75 percent of our earned revenues, not contributed revenues, to the main office in Chicago for support.
Our afterschool program is only $35 a week — about $6 a day. You cannot get a teenager to look at their phone for less than $10 an hour. The kids are fed, and they do their homework. If you are a single mother with a couple of kids, that is $70 a week, $240 a month, and some people just cannot afford that. Anything we do at the YMCA is subject to financial assistance, so the only way you cannot be involved is if you do not want to be involved. United Way helps us with that as well.
If you earn a decent living and can afford the full rate for your family, we expect you to pay that. But if you cannot afford it, then we base the price on your income and expenses.
Last year, we awarded $204,000 in scholarships to the YMCA; we give away $66,000 in just after-school scholarships. We are always there for whomever needs it.
Are there any special joining rates available now?
There are no discounted rates now, but we are having an open house at both locations on March 10, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. If you join that day, there is no joining fee, and the rest of March is free.
Why should someone choose the Y over another facility?
We are a mission-driven nonprofit 501c3 that reinvests in the community.
Do you have any tips for keeping New Year’s resolutions?
Start slow. You did not get out of shape overnight, you are not going to get into shape overnight. Start slow and be consistent.
Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.