46-Year YMCA career has left indefinable mark on the community

Pawtucket, RI (July 22, 2015) – Esselton “Ess” McNulty, General Director of the YMCA of Pawtucket, Inc., announced his retirement, effective November 1st, 2015, after a career of 46-years with the YMCA. McNulty has been the General Director of The YMCA of Pawtucket for 36-years, and today the association includes the five branches of Pawtucket Family YMCA, Heritage Park YMCA Early Learning Center, MacColl YMCA, Westwood YMCA, and Woonsocket YMCA.

“I love this job, and after my wife and family, the YMCA is my greatest love.” said McNulty, “I made a commitment to stay on to see the newly renovated MacColl YMCA through its first years of operation, and now that MacColl and the YMCA of Pawtucket are self-sustaining, I think it’s time for me to enter a new chapter in my life.”

McNulty’s career is highlighted by the 2013 completion of the $13 million MacColl YMCA, which includes a state-of-the art fitness center and pool on the MacColl Field grounds in Lincoln, RI.  During his tenure, McNulty also oversaw the  $11 million renovation of the Pawtucket Family YMCA, a building that had not been renovated since 1903. As a YMCA executive who had experience overcoming financial hardships, he was instrumental in the acquisition and preservation of the Woonsocket YMCA, bringing it under the YMCA of Pawtucket umbrella in 2012.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Pawtucket, I want to wish Ess and his wife, Dottie, a happy retirement,” said Rebecca E. Book, President of the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Pawtucket. “We all thank Ess for his 36-years of successful leadership, and are grateful for his superior skills, dedication and expertise, which have transformed the YMCA of Pawtucket into a strong and financially sound organization. While someone of his experience and knowledge is difficult to replace, the Board is working diligently with the YMCA of the USA on a national search to bring in an exceptional individual to succeed Ess.”

Renovations, expansions and strong financial footing were not always the case for the YMCA of Pawtucket. In 1979, McNulty assumed leadership of an organization that was in dire financial straits and at the brink of closure. During his first year, he turned a deficit into four straight years of surpluses by tightening budgets and rallying charitable boards and foundations. The $700,000 organization that McNulty inherited in 1979 has an over $11 million budget today.

The opening of the Heritage Park YMCA Early Learning Center in Pawtucket is another accomplishment in which McNulty is particularly proud.  At a time when access to quality early childhood education for Pawtucket and Central Falls children was unmet, the YMCA of Pawtucket answered the call. In 1993, Heritage Park began providing educational enrichment programs to local children and continues to expand their childcare offerings today.

Recognizing McNulty’s impact on the YMCA and the community, former President of the YMCA of Pawtucket Board of Directors and current Board Member, Kevin Tracy, said: “I have had the pleasure of working with Ess McNulty for the last 15 plus years, and it has always been a pleasure to work with Ess.  He has a tremendous passion for the mission of the Y and has helped lead the organization to spread the word to many new locations not previously serviced by the local Y.  His leadership helped us penetrate Central Falls with the opening of the Heritage Park YMCA, expand into Woonsocket with the merger of Woonsocket YMCA, and, of course, provide year round support of the Cumberland-Lincoln area with the construction of the new McColl YMCA. His irrevocable support of the employees of the YMCA and his leadership on financial issues will be greatly missed.”

McNulty’s impact on the community extends beyond his position at the YMCA of Pawtucket. Under McNulty’s leadership, the YMCA met the needs of thousands of working families to provide affordable childcare. In addition, McNulty was instrumental in establishing the first post cardiac support rehabilitation program in the state through a partnership with Memorial Hospital. This program would become a model for similar programs throughout the Northeast.

He also worked with Mike Tamburro, Chief Executive Officer of the Pawtucket Red Sox, for more than 15-years to host an annual BBQ event, raising in upwards of $250,000 for the Y’s Support-A-Child program and bringing hundreds of children to the ballpark each year. In recognizing McNulty’s impact Tamburro said: “Ess is an institution. We are blessed to have him, and he filled such a tremendous need in our community. We wish him the very best.”

About the YMCA of Pawtucket, Inc.

The YMCA of Pawtucket is comprised of five branches across the state: Pawtucket Family YMCA and Heritage Park YMCA Early Learning Center in Pawtucket, MacColl YMCA in Lincoln, Westwood YMCA in Coventry and Woonsocket YMCA. The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 22 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.

For more information on the YMCA of Pawtucket, visit or contact Maureen Thistle at 401.727.7515 or

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