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By Kristen Obaranec
The YMCA of Metro Atlanta is pleased to announce Parrish Underwood as the new executive director of the East Lake Family YMCA in Atlanta. He brings more than 20 years of successful YMCA leadership and management experience to the position and returns to the community where he began his YMCA career.
Underwood replaces R.C. Pruitt, who has served as the East Lake Family YMCA executive director since the East Lake Y opened in 2001. A group vice president and 30-year YMCA professional, Pruitt will assume a new strategic role with the organization. He will support the Y’s four-part agenda of ensuring school readiness, improving academic achievement, inspiring civic leadership (especially in teens), and empowering healthy living for all.
“I’m thrilled to return to the East Atlanta community, a place where I started my YMCA career and have called home for many years,” says Underwood. He began his Y career with the YMCA of Metro Atlanta in 1992 at the Southeast Family YMCA on Memorial Drive, recently renovated as the YMCA Youth and Teen Development Center. He started as the community development director and was promoted to associate executive director in 1998.
Most recently, Underwood was executive director of the Summit Family and Fayette Outdoor YMCAs in Newnan and Fayette counties. During his tenure with the Summit and Fayette Ys, membership program participation and philanthropic support grew substantially. Major highlights included developing a partnership with the City of Newnan and Coweta Boys and Girls Club to establish programs and services such as early childhood development, after-school programs, and teen leadership in an underserved community.
Prior to his return to the Atlanta area in 2012, Underwood served as the vice president of financial development and executive director with the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit. He was responsible for the overall management and operations of a full-facility Y developed as a public-private partnership. He also provided leadership to the association’s $1.2 million annual giving campaign.
Underwood served as the executive director of the Western Area Family Branch of the Birmingham YMCA in Alabama from 1998 to 2003. In this role he oversaw program, board, and staff development; developed an off-site, licensed preschool; and managed association-wide teen programs.
“The Y is committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. I look forward to continuing to ensure the needs of the communities in East Atlanta are being met,” says Underwood. “As a leading nonprofit community service organization, the East Lake Family YMCA is a cornerstone solution for families and residents, particularly children.”
Underwood received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Morehouse College before earning his master’s degree in organizational management and leadership from Springfield College, in Springfield, Massachusetts.