Penny & Bill George and the George Family Foundation make lead gift to multi-year $29 million campaign

Minneapolis, MN (Oct. 4, 2022) — The YMCA of the North, the second-largest YMCA system in the country, is the recipient of an $8 million gift from Penny & Bill George and the George Family Foundation to expand the Y’s innovative George Wellbeing initiative.

“Over the last four years, we have been working on how to best build on our strong legacy of community engagement and individual health to serve the public with an experience that integrates the whole person — mind, body, and spirit,” said Glen Gunderson, president of the YMCA of the North. “This generosity from Penny, Bill, and the George Family Foundation is the lead gift for a multi-year $29 million fundraising campaign to dramatically expand the already-successful George Wellbeing program to incorporate whole-person health and wellbeing into all of the YMCA of the North’s offerings moving forward.”

George Wellbeing is a deeply equity-focused initiative that aspires to bridge the gap between conventional healthcare and accessible practices, supporting individuals and communities whose needs are not fully met by currently available institutions. 

“The dominant healthcare model in Minnesota and nationwide is a ‘sick care system’ that does not support whole-person health, resulting in growing health inequities among communities that do not possess the wealth, health, or racial equity needed to fit within the existing model,” said Sally St. John, vice president of whole-person wellbeing at the Y of the North.

With a robust mix of in-person, digital, and hybrid experiences — and with health and wellbeing coaching at the core of the experience — George Wellbeing supports and enriches five key dimensions of health and wellbeing:

  • CONNECT: practitioners, instructors, community, partnerships, relationships 
  • NOURISH: nutrition, supplements, botanicals, hydration, nature 
  • MOVE: fitness, physical activity, outdoors
  • REFLECT: mindfulness, mental/emotional health 
  • RESTORE: whole-person healing modalities, rest, sleep 

Practices and programs include acupuncture, chiropractic, nutrition and gardening, health coaching, massage therapy, mental health therapy, mindfulness, and physical therapy.

“The YMCA of the North’s George Wellbeing initiative is extraordinary,” said Penny and Bill George, co-chairs and founders of the George Family Foundation. “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.”

For more information on George Wellbeing services offered through YMCA of the North, visit

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