Don Anderson spent much of his career revitalizing and strengthening YMCAs and the communities they serve. His first YMCA experience, however, goes back to his youth where he attended the Hi-Y club at North Hollywood High school and worked as a camp counselor. Upon graduating from college, aware of the increased fighting in Vietnam and a desire to work for the YMCA in the future, Anderson enlisted in the Air Force Officer Training School to become a Personnel Officer. During his service in the Philippines, he had a fortuitous opportunity to reconnect with the National General Secretary of the YMCA of the Philippines whom he had known from the Los Angeles YMCA. Together they worked to establish a YMCA on Mactan Island in the Philippines.
Once discharged from the Air Force Don returned to the Los Angeles YMCA to work as a Program Director focusing on YMCA youth programs. In 1970, he moved to Seattle where Mr. Anderson was offered his first opportunity to turn around a struggling operation. Tasked with revamping a camp program, his leadership and foresight to integrate YMCA values curriculum into the program brought in record numbers of campers and led the way for a substantial fundraising effort to enhance and enlarge the campgrounds and facilities. Success led to his promotion to Vice President for Financial Development with the YMCA of Greater Seattle.
In 1982 Mr. Anderson was asked to go to Berkeley California to lead a similar turnaround effort. Within the first few years membership had quadrupled, and in 1989 he was once again asked to apply for a leadership position, this time with the Honolulu YMCA. This time Mr. Anderson was selected for both his business acumen and cultural competency. Mr. Anderson greatly expanded the reach, impact, and international significance of the YMCA of Honolulu during his tenure; he retired in 2004.
Community and Board Service
In addition to his YMCA career, Mr. Anderson has remained active in communities by serving the World Fellowship of YMCA Retirees, Chairman; Honolulu Rotary Foundation, President; Hawaiian Malacological Society, President; World Alliance of YMCAs Secours Speciaux Committee, member; Evergreen Section of the American Camping Association, President; Bay Area Cluster of YMCAs, President; and the Montgomery Archaeological Society, President. Notably, since the late 1990s Mr. Anderson has organized and led numerous humanitarian projects in the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar; engaging over 500 young adults in the process.
Mr. Anderson received a bachelor of arts degree in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of California Los Angeles (1963). Anderson attended the United States Air Force Officer Training School in 1963 becoming a Commissioned Officer and after five years with the USAF was discharged at the rank of Captain.
‟You know, they’re doing good stuff, having fun.”
‟Y and Youth Work became partners with parents…”
‟…we began to work with the United Way…”
‟…what I get out of it is absolutely fantastic.”
Assistant Program Director, East Valley YMCA, North Hollywood, CA
Program Director, East Valley YMCA, North Hollywood, CA
Associate Metropolitan Exec. for Camping and Youth Work, YMCA of Greater Seattle, WA
Vice President for Financial Development, YMCA of Greater Seattle, WA
President and CEO, Berkeley-Albany YMCA, CA
President and CEO, YMCA of Honolulu, HI