Awards and Recognition - Stratford Diversity Award

Willie J. Stratford, Sr. was a devoted champion of diversity not only for the YMCA of Greater Charlotte but throughout the community. The Stratford Richardson YMCA is jointly named for Mr. Stratford in honor of his accomplishments and leadership in the Charlotte Area.  In 1998, an award was established in his name for his faithful service and dedication to living the Mission of John 17:21

"That they may all be one even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee,
that they also may be in Us: that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me."

It was Willie who coined the phrase,

“The YMCA represents Christ in the marketplace.”


2018 AWARD WINNER - Carlenia Ivory


Talk about a bridge-builder. Even the refs who bore the brunt of Carlenia Ivory’s good-natured shouts at her sons’ college basketball games would cheer her receiving an honor recognizing her life’s work. From the basketball arena to the Y that she serves with fervor and grace, this year’s winner of the Willie J. Stratford, Sr. Diversity Award has no trouble being heard.

Working with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Community Partnerships and Family Engagement initiative, her mission is to engage parents in their child’s education. Working with the YMCA of Greater Charlotte since her two sons were little, her mission has been to make sure that the Y’s programs touch the lives of children from varied backgrounds. And that it plays a pivotal role in pushing our community toward inclusiveness. As Carlenia says, “It takes an entire community.”

Talk about deep Y roots, Carlenia remembers cheering on her boys at their youth basketballgames at the McCrorey YMCA on Beatties Ford Road. Titus went on to play basketball at Penn State. Terrell played at Davidson College.

Carlenia’s husband, Titus, passed away in 1998. Today, she cherishes her sons and their families,including five grandchildren. She is part of the congregation of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church on Beatties Ford Road. And she is part of the YMCA family, serving as a trustee and raising her voice for the cause that will reshape our community.

“Carlenia is an engager of people,” says Omega Autry, a Y trustee and her friend for nearly 50 years. “She’s a voice for young people and an advocate for older people.” As it says in John 17:21, That they may all be one…

Awards & Recognition
For The Y Mission

George Williams

In recognition of our founder, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte honors outstanding volunteer leaders for their invaluable contributions of time and talent to help our Ys grow stronger in service to others.

John R. Mott

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte established the John R. Mott Award in 1996 to honor its top volunteer who exemplifies Mott's ideals through longtime service to the YMCA.

Willie J. Stratford, Sr.

The Willie J. Stratford, Sr. Diversity Award is given annually to an individual who recognizes, leads and inspires others to help create a stronger community through valuing diversity.