Speaker Bios – The Importance of the Annual Fund “Start with Why”


Doug Kohl
Chief Development Officer
YMCA of Greater Cleveland

Doug is the Chief Development Officer of the YMCA of Greater Cleveland and has been in this position since January 2017. Founded in 1854, the YMCA of Greater Cleveland covers parts of 6 counties. Its 17 membership and program branches cover from Chardon to Sandusky, serving 143,000 members and program participants annually, half of which are under the age of 18. His responsibilities involve philanthropic initiatives, collaborative partnerships, government relations and mission advocacy.

Over 18,500 Y members received $1.4 million in financial assistance at the Cleveland YMCA last year. The Y serves 2,200 in Early Childhood Education programs and operates Y-Haven, a 260 bed facility addressing the issues of opiate and alcohol addiction with long term strategies. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, LiveStrong ®, and Healthy Weight & Your Child programs are part of a long term commitment to chronic disease education and healthy living initiatives.

Doug has 43 years of leadership experience with the YMCA, most recently as CEO of the Akron Area YMCA where over 25 years he transforming the Akron Y from a small agency with 2,000 members to one of the leading charities in northeast Ohio with a budget of $18.0 million serving 20,000 members and 80,000 constituents annually. The Akron Y completed more than $43 million in capital improvements and raised over $12.5 million in annual giving and endowment gifts during his tenure. His career took him to positions with the YMCA in Chicago, Indianapolis and Honolulu.

Doug served on the National Board of the Association of YMCA Professionals, serving as National Board Chair from 2009-2012. His community involvement is extensive and he has served on boards and committees of his church, Leadership Akron, the Furnace St. Mission, the Gay Community Endowment Foundation, and Weathervane Playhouse among other community groups. He has written many articles on management, collaborative impact and integration of faith in the workplace.

Growing up in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood, he attended the YMCA there as a youth and teen. In 10th grade his family moved to South Euclid where he met his wife Kathy at Brush High School. They’ve been married for 43 years and share a passion for the outdoors and for theater – she’s a carpenter who builds theater sets. They have 3 grown children and 5 grand-children.

Doug graduated from George Williams College near Chicago. His master’s degree is from Aurora University in Business Management. Kathy and Doug have three grown children with careers in health care, ministry and fashion design. He loves the “B’s” of life – bicycling, bluegrass banjo, and beaches.

“A leader’s greatest challenge is to take people where they never thought they wanted to go, but are never the same once they’ve been there.”


Richard Williams
President, Cleveland Bouncers, Inc.
Board Chair, Hillcrest YMCA

A local entrepreneur based in Cleveland Heights, Richard is on the board chair for the Hillcrest YMCA in Lyndhurst. Richard previously worked for IBM.

Matt Previts
Director, Data Center Services Group, Logicalis
Board Member, Cleveland YMCA

Matt is a member of the YMCA of Greater Cleveland Board of Directors and a key volunteer with The Foundry Community Rowing and Sailing Center in downtown Cleveland.


Marie Grossman
Co-Founder, One Candle Foundation