Free event celebrates $8 million gift to create George Wellbeing initiative and previews expansion of wellbeing offerings

Minneapolis, MN — The YMCA of the North, a leading nonprofit dedicated to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, and Penny and Bill George and the George Family Foundation, which works to foster wholeness in mind, body, spirit and community and support transformative programs serving the common good, celebrate the launch of George Wellbeing at the Y with a free community open house on Oct. 4 at the St. Paul Midway Y.

The $8 million gift to fund George Wellbeing — the lead gift for a $29 million fundraising campaign for the initiative — enables the YMCA of the North to incorporate whole-person health and wellbeing into all its programs and offerings moving forward.

This groundbreaking initiative to evolve the Y from “swim and gym” to a powerful, equity-focused community leader in whole-person health and wellbeing is rooted in the belief that wellbeing should and can be accessible to all in the community. The Y of the North is a trusted, community-based organization and the second-largest Y system in the country.

George Wellbeing

George Wellbeing aspires to bridge the gap between conventional healthcare and accessible wellness practices, supporting individuals and communities whose needs are not fully met by currently available institutions.

The initiative will offer whole-person health and wellbeing services and access both digitally and in person. Participants and customers will be empowered to connect with George Wellbeing from wherever they feel most comfortable (e.g., home, work, or a YMCA facility or camp). The digital platform will offer informative wellbeing content and resources, complemented by a trained team of providers who will deliver a client-centered and personalized approach to whole-person wellbeing.

“Over the last four years, we have been testing the idea of expanding our strong legacy of gym and swim membership experience towards an experience that integrates the whole person — spirit, mind, body, environment and community,” said Glen Gunderson, president of the YMCA of the North. “Our innovative wellbeing concept was started with the incredible wisdom and generous ongoing support of Penny and Bill George through the initial creation of the George Wellbeing program and is now growing across our Y to meet the increased needs of our community to offer self-care and community-care for all.”

“The YMCA of the North’s George Wellbeing initiative is extraordinary,” said Penny and Bill George. “Their visionary work will have a profound impact here in Minnesota, and has the potential to serve as a national model for accessible, life-changing whole-person health and wellbeing for millions of people across the country. This is the only way to reverse declining health trends and reign in ever-increasing costs.”

Sally St. John, vice president of whole-person wellbeing at the YMCA of the North, explains that, based on the whole-person health and wellbeing vision of the YMCA and Penny and Bill George, the community is invited to journey through experiences curated into five dimensions of wellbeing:

Nourish – food, farming, botanicals, hydration

Move – fitness, physical activity, personal training, outdoor activity

Reflect – mindfulness, spirituality, mental/emotional health, nature

Connect – community, relationships, coaching, adventure, civics, volunteering

Restore – integrative healing bodywork (massage, acupuncture, Reiki), rest, sleep

YMCA Whole Person Wellbeing Open House: An Initiative of George Wellbeing

The open house offers the opportunity to learn more about how all ages can engage and enrich their lives through innovative George Wellbeing offerings.

All are invited to participate or simply observe.

Participants can learn about wellbeing activities such as:

  • Teatime (Nourish)
  • Health Coaching (Connect)
  • Virtual Wellbeing Demo, Wellbeing Assessments, Customers Sharing Their Experiences (Reflect)
  • Mindful Movement/Yoga Activities (Move)
  • Personal Training/Fitness Membership (Move)
  • Reiki Sound Bath (Restore)
  • Group Acupuncture (Restore)
  • Gardening (Nourish)
  • Y Adventure (Connect)
  • ForeverWell (Connect)

YMCA of the North and George Family Foundation

YMCA Whole Person Wellbeing Open House: An Initiative of George Wellbeing

St. Paul Midway YMCA at 1761 University Ave. W. in St. Paul, MN 55104

Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

For more information on the open house and to register, visit More information on George Wellbeing services is available at

About the George Family Foundation

Founded by Penny and Bill George in 1994, the mission of the George Family Foundation is to foster wholeness in mind, body, spirit, and community by developing authentic leaders and supporting transformative programs serving the common good. Their focus areas are whole-person health and wellbeing, authentic leadership, spirituality and mindfulness, youth development, the environment, and community. Learn more about the Foundation at

About the YMCA of the North

The YMCA of the North is a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Established 166 years ago, the Ys provide life-strengthening services across the greater Twin Cities metro region, southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin communities. The 29 Y locations and program sites, eight overnight camps, 10 day camps, and more than 90 child care sites engage more than 370,000 men, women and children of all ages, incomes and backgrounds. To learn more about the Y’s mission and work, visit