Skip to Content

A Formative Experience Leads to Leadership Support

Josh Heitler

Josh Heitler, Chair of the YMCA Camp Board of Managers

I grew up on the Lower East Side and was 11 when I started going to Camp Talcott, one of the YMCA’s sleepaway summer camps in upstate New York. I went to camp that summer because a good friend of mine was going. Both my father and uncle had gone to Camp Talcott back in the 1950s, but it wasn’t until we arrived there that my father remembered attending as a kid.

The independence and the outdoor adventures that I experienced were two of the reasons why I enjoyed camp. I was one of those kids who didn’t leave when I aged out—I eventually became a Counselor in Training (CIT), then a Junior Counselor, then a Counselor.

Building Awareness
I focus on being active at the Y, both as a volunteer and as a donor, because I came to the conclusion that the Y offers a rare opportunity to affect kids at a critical time in their lives. Sleepaway camp brings kids from diverse backgrounds together for shared experiences that transform lives.

Kids return from Y camp to have more rewarding school experiences and more confidence. The Y camp experience is formative: it makes kids more environmentally aware, more socially aware.

Why I Give
About 75 percent of the kids who attend Y camps receive some form of financial assistance. There's something powerful about taking a person out of their usual environment and putting them into a new one for 24 hours a day over seven or more days. Having that intensive, immersive experience gave me the motivation to do a lot of good as a donor.

The Y's slogan is "We're Here for Good." There are many demands on people's giving and their estate bequests, but if you want to support a program with a long-term record of success, Y camp is a great investment in "good." Your investment has a high return and a high level of safety. You can be confident that your gift or bequest assets will be well-used for very good purposes.

Josh Heitler is a member of both of the Y's fundamental support systems: the Heritage Society and the 1852 Fellowship. The Heritage Society is for those who have included the YMCA of Greater New York in their estate planning. The 1852 Fellowship includes those who have made a substantial gift to the YMCA endowment fund.

Learn how you can support New York City's youth by contacting Patti Davis at (212) 630-9625 or

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the YMCA of Greater New York a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to the YMCA of Greater New York, a nonprofit corporation currently located at New York, NY, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to New York City’s YMCA or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to New York City’s YMCA as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to New York City’s YMCA as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and New York City’s YMCA where you agree to make a gift to New York City’s YMCA and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.