Beck has been a member of the Vanderbilt YMCA’s board since 1999 and is currently serving his third non-consecutive, two-year term as chairman.
While Beck enjoys his position on the board, his true passion lies with initiating the younger generations.
“The goal is really for me to bring some of our younger board members up to speed to make them managers of the board,” says Beck. “It’s exciting for me to mentor young people to assume these positions.”
While the board has grown strong over the years, 2012 was a particularly notable year for the Vanderbilt “Y”. Last year, the location was awarded for having the highest net operating income of YMCAs in the greater New York area.
“This is an accomplishment as far as chairing and being a board member,” explains Beck, “but the pay back for us is to see the staff witnessing their success.”
He adds, as the YMCA is a nonprofit, all the funds go back to subsidizing things like childcare and sharing financially with other locations which may not be doing as well.
The Vanderbilt “Y” and its other affiliated establishments have seen some setbacks in recent years as well. The biggest, according to Beck, was the recession and subsequent drop in membership. Competition became more strenuous between the “Y” and other health clubs in the city.
“People think about the ‘Y’ as being just about health but we have so many programs for youths and teens and senior citizens,” says Beck. “Besides just being a place to workout, there are classes of all types and childcare and Vanderbilt is one of the few afterschool programs for K-6.”
Beck says the “Y” also focuses heavily on its mentorship programs.
“I was there a few weeks ago mentoring the kids on what it is to be a CFO, what my passions were and I spoke to the kids for two hours,” he says.
“What we would like our legacy to be is mentoring the youth and teens about opportunities they have,” explains Beck. “We’re very actively trying to help inner city kids—for a lot of them the only place they can go is the ‘Y’ or school, their parents just don’t have time.”
Beck adds the group’s mission is not necessarily pushing college, but teaching kids to pursue their passions and what they want to do.
The “Y” does however help students who are interested in college. Beck says he hopes to continue the mentoring program that helps college-bound kids with essays, applications, personal budgeting and making them aware of what they will face in college.
Beck also hopes the board will see a rise in membership soon.
“We’re about 16 strong right now,” he says. “We’re very focused, we’re trying to figure out what it is that people can bring to the board to help achieve its growth.”
When he’s not actively serving the youth at Vanderbilt’s YMCA—which he does for about 70 hours a week—Beck enjoys going on cruises. He just completed his 23rd cruise and is already planning the next.
“I have to go into relaxation mode in order to re-energize,” he says.
Still, kids are never far from his mind.
“My outside activity is just about kids, it’s all about kids,” he says. “Youths and teens and senior citizens…sometimes we tend to forget about our seniors.”
Beck adds: “My passion is people.”
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