SAVANNAH — The YMCA of Coastal Georgia Corporate board announced recently that long time President and CEO Randy Bugos will retire April 1, 2015 after 25 years of leading the local Y through a period of unprecedented growth.
“Randy’s leadership and vision has been instrumental to the wonderful growth and success that our local Y’s have experienced the last two and a half decades. The Y is now as strong as it has ever been and serves more people than any time in its 159 year history,” said David Mason, chairman of the board of directors for the local association. “Our entire YMCA family and the communities we serve owe him heartfelt thanks for all that he has done and the legacy he leaves behind.”
When Bugos arrived in Savannah in 1989, there were two Y’s in Chatham County, one on Habersham Street and one on Wilmington Island. The operating budget was $900,000. Under his leadership, the Y now has 12 branches including six units in Chatham County and branches serving Effingham, Bryan, Liberty, McIntosh and Glynn counties. The annual operating budget now is over $20 million.
During his tenure, the Y on Habersham has undergone major renovations and additions. The old Island Y on Wilmington Island was sold, and a larger facility was built on Whitemarsh Island. Money was raised, and new YMCAs were constructed in Pooler, Rincon, Hinesville and Richmond Hill. Two years ago, the Y acquired the YWCA facility in Brunswick.
“All of these facilities will be around to serve future generations. They are a testament to the fact that YMCAs make their communities a better place to live,” Bugos said, adding that “the generosity of the businesses and individuals in these communities is what made all of this happen.”
Over the past 25 years, the local Y has raised close to $15 million to support the building and capital efforts of these facilities. In addition, a combined total of close to $10 million has been contributed through the annual campaign and special projects to support ongoing Y programs.
“Savannah and the surrounding community really is a very philanthropic area. Our donors, supporters and volunteers are the real heroes of this story,” Bugos said.
In addition to facility development, the Y is one of the largest program providers in the Coastal Empire. Last year alone, it served over 87,000 people and provided over $3 million in subsidies and scholarship support to youth and families. The largest program is child care, where the Y has been a provider of before- and after-school care for Chatham and Effingham counties since Bugos’ arrival.
“We have established a great partnership with the local school systems to provide care for thousands of children every day and our entire Y-based child-care programs are full to capacity, which speaks highly about the Y meeting this critical community need,” Bugos said.
In addition to child care, the Y has expanded its other traditional programs, such as fitness, youth sports, day camps and aquatics. However, it’s the nontraditional programs the Y has become involved in that bring a smile to the face of the retiring director.
“We have been blessed to have been selected to be involved in a number of nontraditional Y programs supported by YUSA,” Bugos said. “The Welcoming Hispanic Families initiative, our Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation program, the Healthy Savannah collaborative, the Livestrong Cancer Survivor classes, Early Learning Readiness program for preschooler, and the Diabetes Prevention Program are all services that the Y had not even thought of 10 years ago, and they are thriving here in the Coastal Empire.”
Before he came to the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, Bugos served as a vice president with Central Florida YMCA in Orlando and previously held leadership positions with the Tuscaloosa County YMCA in Alabama. He began his YMCA career as a youth director with the Greater Peoria YMCA in Illinois. He also has served as the chairman of the State Alliance of Georgia YMCA’s and chairman of the Georgia AYP chapter. He has been a member of the Downtown Rotary Club of Savannah for 25 years.
“We have appointed a search committee of board volunteers to work diligently on identifying our next president and CEO,” Mason said. “Randy’s continued leadership during this transition will help ensure that the Y keeps its focus on the mission and commitment to providing quality services and programs to all who we serve.”