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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Nonprofit Profile – San Diego Armed Services YMCA


Name: Paul Steffens.

Title: executive director.

Organization: San Diego Armed Services YMCA.

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Mission of organization: Enhance the lives of junior enlisted military personnel and their families.

Telephone: 858-751-5755, ext. 101.

Web site: militaryymca.com.

Founded: Organization was founded during the Civil War, and established in San Diego in 1921.

Milestone: Exceeding 6,000-plus monthly program participants in 2007.

Annual income: $1.2 million.

Expense allocation: $1.1 million.

Corporate support: 16 percent of our revenue.

Corporate supporters: Raytheon, Booz Allen Hamilton, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, Epsilon Systems Solutions, North Island Credit Union, USA Federal Credit Union, Lincoln Military Property Management.

Board chairman: Sam Merrick.

Board members: 46.

Employees: 26.

Volunteers: Hundreds, including many active duty military.

Events: 40 programs a month. Special events include “The Christmas You Missed,” “Father-Daughter Dance,” “Coed for a Day,” “All Decked Out Fashion Show,” and “Family Holiday Toy Program.”

Wish list: Ensuring that every military family in San Diego has our telephone number and reaches out when they need assistance.


Recent challenge: Having enough new toys and funding to provide 800 military families with two toys per child and a $50 commissary gift certificate.

Measures of success: Increasing monthly program participation to reach more families.

Smartest move: Requiring staff to take digital pictures of our programs in action that enable us to show how our programs assist families , at no cost to them.

Missed opportunity: We haven’t missed any.

Misconception: That we are a “YMCA.”


Personal path to nonprofit work: 30 years in the Navy and a passion to assist our men and women in uniform.

Toughest aspect: Finding out about a military family hardship after it’s too late to help.

Most surprising aspect: The continuing generosity and caring by the San Diego community during this economic downturn.

Biggest pain: People who think military families have it made.

Greatest pleasure: A moving thank you note from a family who benefited from our programs.


Best recent moment: Watching a young Navy spouse give our Kid Comfort personalized quilt to her two girls, who could now curl up with pictures of their dad, who is in Iraq.

Worst recent moment: We don’t accept bad moments.

Dream for another life: Looking at my Professional Golfers’ Association of America card.

Downtime: Anytime with my wife , golfing, biking, enjoying San Diego.

Causes: Helping military families and finding a cure for cancer.

Most like to meet: President-elect Barack Obama.


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