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What’s in a name? A Winnipeg organization has changed its title after 145 years

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The YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg has a new name, but the change is almost undetectable yet significant.

The name YMCA-YWCA used to be an acronym for Young Men’s and Young Women’s Christian Association.

After 145 years, that’s no longer the case.

The local branch of the organization has legally changed its name to YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg.

“We are making it clear that it is not an acronym,” explained Cordella Friesen, YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg president and CEO.

She notes the name change comes after a year-long process with its board that involved bylaw changes and getting the green light from the national organization.

The change eliminates references to gender, age, and religion from its name.

“We’ve been an organization that has been inclusive for over 50 years, so it’s just trying to reflect what our actual, current status has always been and making sure we do that legally,” she said.

Friesen says when folks would see the organization’s legal name not in acronym form, it elicited a lot of questions, be it from organizations the YMCA-YWCA signed contracts or partnerships with or when hiring new staff.

“This is about us formalizing something that should have been more transparent over the last few decades,” she said.

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