In the Business of Giving Hope

Some days, hope seems to be in short supply. Just don’t tell that to YMCA Executive Director Andrew Hoffman. 

Early in his career, Hoffman recognized a need to invest in the careers of his YMCA colleagues. Moved by stories from peers who needed but couldn’t afford continuing education, Hoffman, along with his wife, Laura Hannah, launched the YMCA of the North Employee Education Endowment Fund.

“It was a financial sacrifice to an extent,” Hoffman mused, “But we kept envisioning all the future benefits if we’d invest in fellow team members now.”

The fund got its start back in 2012 as Hoffman was just completing his master’s degree while working at the Y. In the years since, he’s reached out to dozens of friends and family to support the fund and worked to provide colleagues the option to contribute through payroll deduction.

Why? Hoffman believes in the power of the Y to bring people together, and most important, to create a sense of hope for a better future.

The 30 Y employees who have since received scholarships from the endowment fund couldn’t agree more.

Hoffman, who leads the Douglas Dayton YMCA and The Marsh, in Minnetonka, has found plenty of hope during his tenure by witnessing hundreds of students learn the value of compromise and collaboration in Youth in Government, seniors working diligently on their health and wellness, and too many families to count depending on the Y to care for their children during the workday. None of this is possible without investing in the teams who make it all happen.

“I’ve been very blessed to work at an organization that values its employees,” Hoffman said. “Everyone can provide hope in some way, but it has to be a priority to do so. I want to take action now and make a difference.”