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Keeping the Y running during the pandemic

Ashli Stempel-Rae

Posted on September 21, 2022

Ashli Stempel is a communications consultant for MassMutual.
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Describe the work one MassMutual financial professional performed to keep his local YMCA operating during the pandemic.

Explain the motivation behind his volunteer efforts.

Note the MassMutual Foundation grant program that provides funds to nonprofits supported by MassMutual financial professionals.

When Daniel Drabinski became chairman of the board of the Moody Family YMCA on March 1, 2020, he had no idea what challenges he would soon face.

Just two weeks later, all 16 YMCA locations serving his Greater Dallas community closed their doors, following statewide coronavirus protocols. With all services halted and employees temporarily furloughed, the Bluecrest Financial Alliances financial professional was overseeing a crisis like none other in his lifetime. Working with YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas leadership, Drabinski created a plan to reopen the Moody Family facility by June 1, and more important, preserve most of the community services despite the pandemic.

His service earned the organization a $25,000 platinum-level grant from the MassMutual Foundation as part of the 2022 Community Service Awards program.

“I never imagined I would find so much fulfillment from giving back,” said Drabinski. “My work at the YMCA has become part of who I am. The community and the people we serve have become my extended family, and each moment I spend giving to the organization pays me back threefold in terms of gratification.”

Ensuring basic needs are met

Despite the global crisis, in 2021, Drabinski led the Moody Family YMCA in raising more than $600,000, which allowed the Y to offer distance learning for local students and food distribution programs across the Greater Dallas area.

During the pandemic, the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas and its 16 community locations became hubs of basic-needs services, including the distribution of more than 450,000 pounds of food, pop-up clinics, senior services, and more.

“Daniel is the perfect representation of the Moody Y to this community on so many different levels,” said Nick Echtenkamp, executive director of the Moody Family YMCA of the Park Cities. “As a community organization, we rely upon strong leaders for guidance and advocacy. Daniel brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and passion to our organization, which provides continued innovation and growth. He is truly driven to help us make a difference in the Park Cities community.”

Stronger together

Each year, millions of people of all ages and from all backgrounds engage with their local YMCAs in 10,000 communities nationwide. From child care and education to fitness and social services, the YMCA is dedicated to giving people of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life the opportunity to reach their full potential with dignity.

The YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas serves nearly 200,000 people each year. The YMCA believes that all community members should have access to its programs, regardless of income, which is made possible thanks to the work of Drabinski and other donors and volunteers who give their time and financial support to the YMCA so generously.

Grant to fund increased access to services

The $25,000 grant from the MassMutual Foundation will help ensure that the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas and its network of community YMCAs will be able to increase access for those in need by providing low- or no-cost programs and memberships.

Each year, the MassMutual Foundation awards grants — ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 — to help nonprofit organizations with which MassMutual financial professionals are involved. You can read more about the program here.

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