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The Original Social Network: Why a Leading Psychologist Made a Commitment of Support

Dr. Bryant

Dr. Bryant at the annual Heritage Society dinner last November

By Gerard J. Bryant, Ph.D.

When it comes to diversity, New York is the best city in the world. Kids have an opportunity to interact with kids from all over the planet, and the exposure they get to cultures and language is fantastic. These opportunities help kids' independence and life skills.

On the other hand, society as a whole has grown more dangerous - and that's one reason why the YMCA is so important. The Y is the only place I can think of in the city where you see everyone from babies to seniors mingling in the same place.

The Y is truly a family environment - but it's not just family: it's the entire community and the staff, too. You feel connected to the staff when you walk past the membership desk. You get that community feeling when you walk in there and everybody knows you. It's like the song from Cheers: you want to go where everybody knows your name. It's togetherness.

A Commitment to Kids

In today's world, kids need a place to go to feel safe, to feel included and to develop their interpersonal, academic and social skills.

If children see that you as an adult are committed and loyal to the Y, you hope that a few of them are going to stick with it. If they see your commitment, they are more likely to follow in your footsteps and carry on that love of the Y into their adult lives.

Kids and families need the Y. With technology, games and smartphones, kids are often distracted from real life. The Y is still the one haven where people can come, interact, be social and enjoy things together. The Y is the original social network.

Getting Involved

My first paying job was at the Y. Who I am today was largely because of my Y experience. From the Y I learned I wanted to be a teacher. Later I looked into psychology, but the Y definitely had an influence on the profession I chose.

At a certain point, I decided that I wanted to be a part of the Y in a larger way. My goal was to ensure that the Y can continue to provide opportunity for kids in the future who would not otherwise have the economic means to join.

Look at the big picture and where the Y fits into it: What can the Y contribute to the community? Being a board member is a personal way of giving back, but joining the Heritage Society gave me more of a stake and a commitment that was attractive to me. I wanted to see to it that the Y will be there for future generations.

To learn more about the ease and convenience of gift and estate planning through the Heritage Society, contact 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

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