You can have the satisfaction of knowing you made a difference and used the Y to do that.

Julius Jones 1935-2018


Julius Jones had a legendary YMCA career, rising in the ranks from a Program Director at the Florida’s First Coast YMCA to CEO (for 23 years) of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh. During his career, his reputation for operational effectiveness led him to take on leadership roles of significant responsibility and, in the process, was able to impact communities through his guidance and wisdom.

Never one to walk away from a challenge, Mr. Jones tackled chronic societal issues such as gang violence, poverty, and racism by rallying the community to his side and raising significant sums of money to address these issues. Most notably, in the early 1990s, Mr. Jones spearheaded an anti-gang effort, which reduced the homicide rate in Pittsburgh from 156 deaths to 49 in one year. He was known as a person for getting things done.

In addition to his efforts to address domestic issues, Mr. Jones also directed his energies toward supporting the YMCA Movement in Africa. In addition to raising $5 million in conjunction with his peers, Mr. Jones also saw an opportunity to leverage the American YMCA Movement to raise the capacity of African YMCA leaders to serve their communities. He mentored hundreds of young African American YMCA professionals who are forever indebted to him. He persuaded Springfield College to design an accelerated degree program for ten YMCA executives from Africa. Mr. Jones was inducted into the National YMCA Hall of Fame at Springfield College in 2006.

Community and Board Service

Mr. Jones also served on the board of the YMCA Retirement Fund and chaired the World Urban Network. His YMCA and community activities include the YMCA of the USA's Public Policy, National Chair of the Association of YMCA Retirees (2009), the North American Urban Group, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the Private Industry Council, the Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers, the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium, and WQED Public Broadcasting.


Mr. Jones received a bachelor of arts degree from Morehouse College (1962). He received an honorary Doctorate Degree of Humanities in Springfield College.


‟I had what I liked to call a great run in the Y”


‟We’ve done it better and we’ve done more of it”


‟We served, not matter where it was located geographically...”


‟...what the answer is to these kids hating each other…”