Donor Spotlight: Connecting to the Cause

June 16, 2017




In 2003, Susan Mittermayr was introduced to the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg's Board of Directors; she saw an organization uniquely positioned to serve the needs of her community.

"I appreciated that the Y not only worked to advance its own cause, but it embraced and uplifted other organizations involved in complementary work," she recalls. That collaborative spirit inspired both Susan and her husband, Markus, to get involved.

No stranger to philanthropic and civic support, Susan and Markus have been involved with organizations ranging from the Alpha House and St. Jude's Cathedral Church to the Rotary Club. Susan spent the following decade involved in various YMCA Board committees, proudly evolving to the organization's first female Board Chair in 2013. Pivotal to that leadership commitment was the organization's expansion into early childhood education.

"The educational and social deficiencies that youth are exposed to have proven to be highly detrimental, affecting the full trajectory of their lives including future earning potential," Susan said. 

"Knowing the Y could harness its school age expertise to affect youth at a critical time in their early life, providing formalized educational opportunities that were measurable, further entrenched my belief in the mission." 

Susan's volunteer leadership stemmed from board governance to personal giving, with her and Markus' capital giving generosity recognized at the Speer YMCA Preschool Academy.

"Our gift wasn't about our names being on a wall. It was about an opportunity to make a difference. That community center resonated with what matters to us: A place for families to spend time together. What matters is family engagement." 

It is this idea that is key to supporting a nonprofit, according to Susan: discover what you're passionate about and connect with organizations - like the Y - that deliver on that mission. Her husband Markus did just that when he connected with the wellness programming at the YMCA. In 2010, Markus was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and since his full recovery, he has committed to incorporating exercise at the Y into his daily life. For him, the mental benefits from movement ushered in healing just as rapidly as the physical ones. 

"The Y was his outlet," Susan said.

Here at our Y, there is a place for everyone to connect with a program they are passionate about. Lasting personal and social change in the Greater St. Petersburg area starts with commitments from donors like the Mittermayrs: 

"Our giving serves as a daily reminder for youth that they are worth everything, and that we are here for them." 


Annual Campaign