YMCA Beyond the Bell™ receives $370,000 funding boost thanks to generous donation from The Joyce Family Foundation


Vulnerable students in Hamilton, Burlington, Brantford, Six Nations and other Indigenous communities, will have better access to academic help through YMCA Beyond the Bell™ thanks to a recent $370,000 donation from The Joyce Family Foundation. Thanks to the kindness of the Joyce Family Foundation, YMCA Beyond the Bell™ will continue to provide programming at its current locations and will look to expand into other priority communities and neighbourhoods, so that vulnerable children can get the help they need to reach their full potential.

Children from low-income backgrounds, family trauma and other social determinants of health, are faced with an academic disadvantage compared to their middle-class counterparts before even starting school. Reading at grade level by Grade 3 is a crucial milestone that predicts future school success. Three quarters of children from low-income neighbourhoods fail to meet this milestone.

The pandemic has had a considerable impact on the communities where YMCA Beyond the Bell™ delivers programs, while also changing the way the program traditionally operated. Between 2020 and 2022, the program was delivered through a hybrid model of virtual programming and in-class programming in fewer schools. Right now, the program is being offered virtually as well as in-person with the goal of returning to predominantly in-person delivery of YMCA Beyond the Bell™ at 10 schools by September 2023.

“Now more than ever, students need our help. The pandemic has caused significant disruptions in academic learning, but it has also hampered our children’s social development,” says Manny Figueiredo, President & CEO, YMCA of Hamilton|Burlington|Brantford. “Thanks to the kindness of the Joyce Family Foundation, YMCA Beyond the Bell™ will continue to grow and be better equipped to serve our most vulnerable communities, giving students the tools they need to succeed in school and in life.”

"In YMCA Beyond the Bell™, we found an impactful program academically, that provides support and personal relationships in the lives of young people," says Michele Thornley, Trustee of the Joyce Family Foundation. "Mentors and role models are so important in the development of young people. It is transformative for a young person to have consistent support in their educational path."

The Joyce Family Foundation has provided continuous support of YMCA Beyond the Bell™ for the past 14 years. “YMCA Beyond the Bell cultivates joy, engagement and service to school and community in children" says Michele. “It’s a wonderful place to create and learn while working alongside others.”

The Joyce Family Foundation is a private, family foundation created by Canadian entrepreneur Ronald V. Joyce. His philanthropy reflects a deep-rooted sense of responsibility to give back to his community. The Foundation’s primary focus is to provide access to education for children and youth with significant financial need or facing other socio-economic barriers to success.

For more than 20 years, the YMCA of Hamilton|Burlington|Brantford has delivered the YMCA Beyond the Bell™ program, to help break the cycle of poverty and closing the achievement gap experienced by low-income children compared to their higher income peers through a highly unique after-school and summer program. YMCA Beyond the Bell™ features a unique blend of literacy, numeracy, nutrition and recreation elements. The four key goals of the program are to realize academic achievement, improve health and wellness, explore culture and creativity and develop social skills.