“The Y keeps evolving, pivoting and doing the important work that needs to be done to advance our community. Today with the glaring disparities of income, race and gender, we have to work to change the inequity. That’s why I am dedicated to this work today, and why I will continue to support the Y long into the future.”
Kathryn Mitchell Ramstad has a crystal clear memory of her first experience with the YMCA. It was the 1990s, and she was the Vice President of Food Service for the PepsiCo Twin Cities operations. PepsiCo and the YMCA were in conversation about a vending contract, and Kathryn quickly realized that this wasn’t a typical soft drink deal.
“I was so impressed with how professional the Y staff was, and how mission driven,” she said. While making smart business decisions, the Y was putting the health and wellness of children, families and communities first. A deal was struck, and the new vending machines were filled with healthy choices.
In 1998, when Kathryn was tapped to become Managing Director of the professional search firm Russell Reynolds Associates, she received another invitation. She was invited to serve on the General Board of Directors of the YMCA.
Some 22 years later, Kathryn has served on countless YMCA planning and policy committees and also chaired the YMCA General Board of Directors. She was deeply involved when the YMCAs of Metropolitan Minneapolis and Greater Saint Paul merged. In addition, she volunteered on highly successful YMCA capital campaigns, and currently serves on the Y’s Forward For All Comprehensive Campaign Committee.
Kathryn’s husband, retired 18-year Minnesota Third District Congressman Jim Ramstad, has been a champion and supporter of Kathryn’s involvement in the Y. He too, is deeply committed to public service and giving back in many ways.
“The Y keeps evolving, pivoting and doing the important work that needs to be done to advance our community,” Kathryn said. “Today, with the glaring disparities of income, race and gender, we have to work to change this inequity. The Y does so much with youth and family services, housing, the Beacons program, and its many other community programs. We want to be part of the solution.”
Recently, Kathryn added the YMCA as a beneficiary of her will as a way to continue her support of the Y long into the future.
“I grew up in the small community in South Dakota, and as a family giving back was expected,” Kathryn said. “When I was a young professional, I could give of my time and talent. Now I can give of my treasure as well.
“I always go back to Luke 12:48, ‘For those to whom much is given much is required.’”