Wendy Dayton’s roots in community service go deep. As a child, she saw both of her parents volunteer their time to support the institutions that anchored their community. It felt natural for her to carry on that tradition. She brings what she learned to her philanthropic work—energy, hard work in the community, and a can-do spirit that moves the needle on causes she cares most about. Thankfully, much of her time is spent supporting the YMCA of the North.

After Wendy and her late husband, Doug Dayton, married, they maintained independent identities as philanthropists, but supported each other in pursuing their personal passions. Since Doug’s passing, Wendy has gotten more involved in the organizations closest to Doug’s heart and has committed herself to making sure that projects he cared about come to fruition. “It’s been a privilege for me to lift up Doug’s most important legacies,” Wendy said.

Together, YMCA CEO Glen Gunderson and Wendy conceived a plan to honor Doug’s 60+ years of volunteer service to the Y by naming the new downtown Minneapolis YMCA—a flagship for the Twin Cities and nationwide—the Douglas Dayton YMCA at Gaviidae. Wendy accepted the role of Honorary Campaign Chair and has been a hands-on, tireless worker in introducing the project to the community. She has invited family and friends to learn more about the Y’s work by attending events and has personally sought their financial support.

Wendy is a connector who leverages her network in service of causes she believes in. She offers her time to many state and national organizations. The Y is fortunate and grateful to have her volunteer leadership and personal gifts. For Wendy, giving back is a responsibility, but it is also a pleasure. “It makes me happy,” she said simply. “It keeps me moving forward.”