YMCA of Greater New York-Harlem Branch
New York City
Although it was founded in England nearly 170 years ago, the YMCA, or “the Y,” is respected as a long-standing American institution. Since 2007, Tiffeny N. Forrest has been the executive director of the Harlem Branch of the YMCA of Greater New York, only the second woman ever to head this historically important branch. The initials stand for Young Men’s Christian Association, but the organization welcomes all, regardless of age, gender or religion. “My desire to make a real difference led me to the YMCA more than eleven years ago and I continue to find it incredibly rewarding and educational,” says Forrest.
At the Harlem Y, Forrest manages multiple government funds and an operating budget of $6.3 million. She oversees branch operations, manages staff, and is responsible for fundraising and membership growth. She has enhanced the Harlem Y’s century-long legacy as a key resource in the community, effectively engaging programs she developed to serve more than 3,600 Harlem youth a year. Since assuming her role, she has increased the branch’s revenue by $1.2 million.
Forrest earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in business administration at Louisiana’s Grambling State University. She worked for two branches of the YMCA in Michigan, rising from membership director to associate executive director to executive director. “I began my management career in the demanding position of sports events manager for Michigan State University,” recalls Forrest. “Not having productive parents in my life, I was raised by my grandmother Millie Mae Forrest, who taught me to work hard, have respect for myself and others and to be resilient,” she says. The first person in her family to earn a college degree, Forrest also received the Transformational Leader Award — the second one ever given by the YMCA of Greater New York.
Dish you cook best: Everything
Favorite singer: Whitney Houston
Sport you play best: Basketball