National search is underway to fill position by year’s end

Eric Ellsworth, President & CEO of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, has announced plans to retire at the end of 2018. The 63-year-old, Evansville, IN, native has served as CEO in Indianapolis for nearly 13 years and has been with the

Eric Ellsworth YMCA
Eric Ellsworth, president & CEO

YMCA throughout his career of 42 years.

A team led by Board Chair Jeffrey Harrison and representatives from YMCA of the USA will lead a national search to fill the position with aims to have a new CEO in place to lead the nation’s 19th largest YMCA association by January 2019.

Eric Embodies the Y’s Core Values

“Eric has raised the bar for Greater Indianapolis and for YMCAs across the country. People and communities across Central Indiana are stronger and healthier because of him.” said Harrison, President & CEO, Citizens Energy Group and chairman of the YMCA Board of Directors. “Eric embodies the Y’s core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. He is one of the kindest, most thoughtful leaders in our community. He‘s also been a good friend and colleague to me.” 

Impactful, Respected Global Y Leader

“Eric is one the most impactful and highly respected YMCA Movement leaders of our time, in the local communities where he has served, as well as nationally and globally,” said Andy Calhoun, senior vice president, Large YMCA Resources , YMCA of the USA. “I am proud and thankful to have worked with Eric and call him my friend. For four decades he has built great teams of volunteers, staff and community partners that have accomplish lofty goals and transformed countless lives. Eric’s lasting legacy is also one of humility and authenticity as he powerfully lived out the Y’s Christian Mission.”

Most Dynamic, Caring People on the Planet

Ellsworth reflects on his time at the YMCA:

“I feel incredibly blessed to have served as the president of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis. It has given me the opportunity to work in the area of my greatest passion, which is to help people grow in spirit, mind and body. I’ve been fortunate to have worked alongside some of the most dynamic, caring people on the planet. They have been my inspiration. It’s hard to fathom all the good work the Lord has allowed to take place over these years. I am looking forward to enjoying the next chapter together with my wife, Barb.”

Barbara Ellsworth retired earlier this year after nine years as the executive director of Dress for Success Indianapolis.

Highlights & Achievements

Eric at City Market
Ellsworth with Mayor Hogsett, Jeff Harrison and Aaron Reitz at the YMCA at the City Market Community Day

Upon his retirement, the number of YMCAs in the Indianapolis area will have doubled from six to 12 during his tenure, and a campaign to build a Y in Westfield, IN, began earlier this year:

  • Pike YMCA (2006 – will close in Dec.)
  • Witham Family YMCA (2010)
  • Hendricks Regional Health YMCA (2011)
  • YMCA at the City Market (2011)
  • Avondale Meadows YMCA (2013)
  • Irsay Family YMCA at CityWay (2015)
  • OrthoIndy Foundation YMCA (2018)
  • Westfield YMCA (TBD)

Top initiatives and achievements under Ellsworth’s leadership:

  • Doubled the number of Y members from 63,000 in 2005 to over 113,500 in 2018.
  • Grew the association’s annual budget from $30 million to $55 million.
  • Launched the Y for All financial assistance program to make YMCA memberships and programs available to more people through income-based pricing (2007).
  • Launched the Top 10 Coalition (2012) with goals to reduce the burden of chronic disease and develop a culture of health in Central Indiana. Today, the coalition boasts more than 115 community partners.
  • Introduced five Chronic Disease Prevention Programs – YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program (2009), LIVESTRONG at the YMCA (2012), Enhance Fitness Arthritis Management (2014), Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring (2016) and Moving for Better Balance Fall Prevention (2018).
  • Led a coalition of providers to better meet the need for Early Childhood Learning in Central Indiana; opened five full-day YMCA Early Learning Centers since 2005 for a total of 11 programs with half-day and full-day options today.
  • Added six new YMCAs and made major improvements and renovations to each of the other six in the association, including adding a new pool at the Benjamin Harrison YMCA.
  • Began a 20-year Master Plan for Flat Rock River YMCA Camp in St. Paul, IN, this summer with a vision to make it the most sought-after overnight camp in Indiana.

A snapshot of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis and other milestones are outlined in the 2017 Annual Report.

Career Progression

Eric has befriended many members of the YMCA

A graduate of Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ellsworth earned a Master’s of Science in Organizational Development from Springfield College, and then began his career at the YMCA.

  • 1977 – 1989 – Executive director of the Hopkins County Family YMCA in Madisonville, KY
  • 1989 – 1994 – CEO of the YMCA of Southwestern Indiana in Evansville
  • 1994 – 2005– Executive vice president and chief operating officer for the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, NC
  • 2005 – present – President & CEO of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis

An Active National Leader

Ellsworth serves on the board of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee and on these and other national YMCA boards and committees:

  • S. Mission Network Board of Directors
  • YMCA Employees Economic Assistance Fund, chairman
  • Association of YMCA Professionals
  • Y-USA Healthy Living Task Force
  • John 17:21 Christian Mission Conference

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YMCA of Greater Indianapolis

With 12 YMCA centers, a 240-acre overnight camp and Youth Development and Intercollegiate branches, the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis serves more than 250,000 people, and last year, provided $7 million in Y scholarships and underwritten programs.

In collaboration with hundreds of schools, churches, community groups and organizations, the nonprofit, founded in Indianapolis in 1854, brings people of all faiths and backgrounds together for health, wellness, sports, aquatics, camps and educational programs and events to achieve its mission.


Media Contact: Christy Glesing, Sr. Director of Public Relations, YMCA of Greater Indianapolis | 317-667-5991

President and CEO Eric Ellsworth through the Years