Human Resources and Nonprofits

YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids names president and CEO

December 17, 2015
Text Size:
Scott Lewis
Scott Lewis. Courtesy YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids

A man who’s spent his entire career with the YMCA is the new president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids.

The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids said yesterday that its board of directors has appointed Scott Lewis to the role, effective Jan. 4.

Most recently, Lewis has served the last three years as president and CEO of the New Jersey YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge and South Amboy.

He is taking over for long-standing president and CEO Ron Nelson, who's retiring after 28 years with the nonprofit.

The process of finding someone to fill Nelson’s shoes took more than six months, said Sean Welsh, board vice chair and selection committee chair, YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids.

Welsh called Lewis a “a highly regarded leader in the Y movement.”

“He brings a range of experience in Ys large and small and in both urban and suburban environments, and he has a passion for the Y from growing up in the organization, all of which make for the perfect combination to impact our community for years to come,” Welsh said.

Lewis said his new position is “the culmination of nearly 30 years of service to the Y movement and a tremendous opportunity for me to put my experience to work for such a strong association, one that has been blessed with great leadership from Ron Nelson.”

He added that the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids is "known" throughout the organization as "a dynamic and impactful organization, which has established itself as an innovative leader in building healthier communities."

Lewis background

Lewis started career with the YMCA in 1986 as a lifeguard at a New Jersey YMCA and has been with the organization ever since.

In addition to heading a regional YMCA in New Jersey, Lewis has held several leadership positions with the YMCA in the East Coast, serving as senior group VP at the YMCA of Philadelphia and Vicinity, executive director of the Bethlehem Area YMCA and executive director of the Albany YMCA.

He holds a B.S. in mathematics education from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Nelson’s tenure

Under Nelson’s leadership, the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids raised about $90 million for capital improvements and built four new YMCA facilities, including the recent Mary Free Bed YMCA.

Nelson also developed several partnerships that led to the first LEED-certified YMCA in the U.S. and the world's first Universal Design-certified YMCA.

“On behalf of the board, the Y staff and the entire West Michigan community, I want to thank Ron Nelson for his incredible leadership and lasting legacy marked by dramatic expansion in both the physical assets of the Y, but more importantly, in the lives impacted in the region through the organization’s work,” said Jeff Lambert, board chair, YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids.

“He leaves the organization in a strong position as the leader in building a healthier community in West Michigan, and we are looking forward to Scott Lewis, a proven leader in his own right, to build on this momentum and continue to grow our impact.”

Recent Articles by Mike Nichols

Editor's Picks

Comments powered by Disqus