Hart-Dawson to retire in September

Apr. 26—The YMCA has announced the upcoming retirement of its Chief Executive Officer, Diane Hart Dawson, effective September 2024.

Hart Dawson has served the YMCA for more than 38 years with the last 25 years at the Decatur Shelby County YMCA, leading the organization through a period of significant growth and community impact.

"Diane is a legend in our organization. Finding someone with her level of skill, institutional knowledge, and network will be a tall task to fill." said Bill Myers, Chair of the YMCA Board of Directors.

During Hart Dawson's tenure, the Decatur Shelby County YMCA achieved several key milestones, including:

—Expansion of services: Hart Dawson has overseen the move from downtown Greensburg to the upgraded facility at 1 YMCA Way, as well as two expansions to the facility. Under her direction, the preschool program has reached Path's to Quality Level 3, the initiation of the 21st Century Program at Greensburg Elementary serving an average of 60+ students daily and the expansion to a multi-branch association with the grand opening of the Shelby County YMCA in 2021.

—Increased membership: The association has increased membership from 800 units in 1999 to over 2,000 at the Decatur County Family YMCA and an association wide 4,000+ units with the inclusion of the Shelby County YMCA.

—Financial stability: Hart Dawson has ensured a successful financial position of the Decatur Shelby County YMCA, with a combination of securing multiple grants for over $1 million including a $500K OCRA grant to offset the cost of a roof replacement and annual funding from the United Fund, local and national organizations. In addition, she has been instrumental in growing the Annual Campaign, earning an average of $95K for the last several years. These donations ensure we can continue to offer a valuable service to our communities and provide financial assistance to needy families. Her fundraising efforts have also helped us grow the endowment to over half a million dollars.

—Community engagement: Over the course of Hart Dawson's tenure, she has also ensured partnerships with both Major Hospital Partners in Shelbyville and with Decatur County Memorial Hospital in Decatur County, sharing building space and programming with both. In addition, she has ensured positive relationships with local schools, the Community Foundation, United Fund, and many of the local businesses.

"It is with much thought and prayer that I have decided to retire from the Decatur Shelby County YMCA. I have learned a great deal and hope that my contributions to the Y were as valuable to the organization as my tenure here has been for me" Hart-Dawson said. "Helping others and making a difference in the lives we touch and the opportunities I have been given made waking up and coming to work each day a pleasure. It has been an honor to work with so many great community leaders. I am proud of our many accomplishments and credit the staff and board for their leadership, commitment, and dedication."

Hart Dawson is looking forward to her retirement, spending time pursuing her hobbies such as traveling, playing pickleball, enjoying the lake and the outdoors as well as taking up some new ones!

The Decatur Shelby County Board of Directors has initiated a nationwide search for a new Chief Executive Officer in partnership with the YMCA of the USA National Resource Office and the Indiana Alliance of YMCAs. The ideal candidate will be a passionate leader with a proven track record of success.

"We are committed to finding a strong and innovative leader who will build upon Diane's legacy and guide the YMCA towards a bright future," Myers said. "We will be announcing plans to celebrate Diane's many achievements and bid her a fond farewell in the upcoming months."

A detailed executive vacancy announcement and how to apply will be available in late April. Applications will be accepted starting later this month through mid-June.


The Decatur Shelby County YMCA is one of the nation's leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.

The Y, comprised of the Decatur County Family YMCA and Shelby County branches as well as an on-site program held at the Greensburg Elementary School, engages approximately 17K individuals — regardless of age, income, or background — to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation's health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.

The Y is a $3.17 M annual operation and gives more than $100K in scholarship assistance for those that need it to participate in Y programs and services on an annual basis.

Deeply rooted in the community since 1914, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.

To learn more about the Y, go to https://decaturcountyfamilyymca.org/.

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