With over 14,000 locations worldwide, the Y is one of the largest non-profit organizations in the world.

It began in 1844 when George Williams and 11 others gathered to address the spiritual and practical needs of other young men relocating to London during the Industrial Revolution. They met for prayer, Bible study and outreach—they called this group the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).

These 12 individuals committed their lives to sharing the hope of Christ with others. Seven years after it was founded, the YMCA movement arrived in Boston and quickly spread throughout America. In Minnesota, the Y was founded in St. Paul in 1856 and in Minneapolis 10 years later.

Dive into the full story of the key moments that started the YMCA.