I’m a big proponent of younger staff
getting themselves involved as far
and wide as they can...

Neil Nicoll


Neil Nicoll began his YMCA career under humble circumstances, collecting quarters from participants at weekend basketball programs at the Quincy YMCA in Massachusetts. His first career position was with the YMCA of Greater Baltimore primarily working in community outreach. In 1973, Mr. Nicoll joined the staff of the Greater Boston YMCA as a branch executive managing a diverse inner-city branch. There he had to the opportunity to learn under a great YMCA leader, Mr. John Danielson. Learning from, and inspiring others, was a recurring theme of Mr. Nicolls career.

In 1975 Mr. Danielson encouraged him to apply for a position with the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington, DC where he had the opportunity to learn from Julius Jones. While in DC, the branches under his direction experienced a three hundred percent growth in membership and participation. In 1980, Mr. Danielson again reached out to Mr. Nicoll, this time to apply for the CEO position at the YMCA of Greater Worcester. During his time in Worcester Mr. Nicoll established himself as a leader engaging in significant fundraising campaigns and considerably increasing the staff and ability of the YMCA to serve the community.

In 1992, Mr. Nicoll became the President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Seattle. During his time in Seattle, he played a crucial role in several national initiatives including the development of the YMCA core values (Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Caring and Diversity and Inclusion). While at Seattle, his leadership led to a significant expansion in teen programming, radically transforming the YMCAs ability to work with a critically under-served community.

In 2006, Mr. Nicoll was selected for perhaps the highest honor within the YMCA Movement, to serve as the President and CEO of the YMCA of the USA. Under his direction, they undertook a complete brand revitalization intended to orient the American YMCA towards realizing a re-energized, Movement centered, and “cause-driven” organizational identity.

Community and Board Service

In addition to his YMCA career, Mr. Nicoll has remained active in communities by serving on the Independent Sector, Board of Directors/Chairman; America’s Promise Alliance, Trustee; Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Board Member; Springfield College, Trustee; National Assembly, Board Member; Leadership 18, member; Washington YMCA’s Public Policy Committee, Chair; YMCA Urban Group, Chair; US-Japan Liaison Committee (YMCA), Chair; YMCA of the USA, Board of Directors; Association of Professional Directors, member/Executive Committee; Springfield College YMCA Advisory Council, Chair; City of Seattle Mayor’s Citizens Advisory Committee for the Family and Education Levey, member; Seattle University, non-Profit Executive Master’s degree Visiting Committee, Chair; United Way of King County Strategic Planning Committee, member; Redmond United Methodist Church, Finance Chair.


Mr. Nicoll received a bachelor of arts degree in History from Eastern Nazarene College (1968) and an M.Ed. from Springfield College (1973). From 2010 - 2014, Mr. Nicoll was annually recognized in the Nonprofit Times Power and Influence Top 50.


‟They each have lives outside of the YMCA, they have families…”


‟…based on their talent could move into leadership positions…”


‟…help them build the tools to understand who they want to become…”


‟…what things you think have the greatest impact…”