YMCA Names Brown Executive Director of Historic Central Y

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – D’Aundray (Dre) Brown has been selected as executive director of the YMCA Central Branch beginning April 5. Brown has served as sports and recreation director for the Central Y since February 2021 and previously was involved with the YMCA as a volunteer. In 2022 Dre joined the YMCA senior leadership team as diversity equity and inclusion officer, a dual capacity in which he will continue to serve.

“Dre Brown is the perfect fit to lead the Central Y,” says Tom Gacse, CEO and president. “A native of Youngstown, with deep roots in the community, Dre has a unique vantage point on the youth served at the Y because he was one of those kids. He has proven adaptability to differing cultural and business environments. Dre is a diplomatic leader with the ability to collaborate and engage volunteers, and a team builder who creates an atmosphere where everyone is fully engaged. The Central YMCA and our community are truly blessed to have Dre in this leadership role.”

Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in sports management from Cleveland State University. He has worked in the nonprofit sector since 2015 as the founder and CEO of DreDay Foundation 32 Inc., an organization focused on building youth, families, and communities through sports in nontraditional settings, including basketball camps and skill development clinics.

As a four-year, full scholarship starter at Cleveland State University, Brown also served as the basketball team captain. After college, he went on to play professionally for the NBA G League Canton Charge, and the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers. He then spent several years as a coach, coordinator, and business manager for NBA Athlete Norris Cole of the Miami Heat where he conducted brand endorsement deals and trained various collegiate and professional athletes in Florida. Brown has also worked with the Cleveland Cavaliers Youth Programs, Chaney High School, and Badger High School as a player development coach.

In 2021, Brown was instrumental in starting the Respect League for young adults at the Central YMCA , a leadership and basketball league collaboration with The Respect Foundation, the city and Community Initiative to Reduce Violence. This league branched out into the Respect Mentoring Program for boys ages 11–17, funded by a grant from the YMCA of the USA and its Boys and Young Men of Color initiative.

Brown has collaborated with schools, youth-serving organizations, and other entities including the city of Youngstown Mayor’s Office, the Youngstown Police Department, and the Mental Health & Recovery Board. He has led the YMCA of Youngstown’s Financial Assistance Committee and served on the Y’s Child Abuse Prevention Committee, which received accreditation in December. He was selected to be in the inaugural cohort of the Ohio Alliance of YMCA’s Leadership Academy for up-and-coming YMCA Professionals.

Brown currently serves on the Trumbull & Mahoning County DEI Committee, the Hope Conference Planning Committee for the city, the Emerging Multicultural Leadership Planning Committee for YMCA of the USA, the IDEA Planning Committee for Direction Home of Eastern Ohio, and Youngstown Parks & Green Space Action Team. His public speaking events have included The Boys and Girls Club, DreDay Foundation 32 and Mahoning County Mental Health & Recovery Board Athletic Workshop, Cleveland State University and the Levin College of Public Affairs, Youngstown State University and Cleveland State University Men’s Basketball Programs, and Ursuline High School Black History Month Event.

“I’m truly honored and blessed for this opportunity the Y has given me. Not only do I have a job that I love, but a career that gives opportunities to those who might not have been afforded any. The Y is a cause-driven organization and I believe it is my purpose in life to help champion that cause. As a child who grew up in this very building and considered it to be a pillar, a fun place, and a refuge in my life, I plan to further instill that feeling in our youth and throughout the community.”

As Central YMCA executive direct, Brown follows Beth Scheller, YMCA chief operating officer, who has served as interim executive director since April 2021.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.