Bringing 15 Years of NonProfit Experience to Organization

Penobscot Bay YMCA names Whitney Files as new CEO

Tue, 02/15/2022 - 3:45pm

The Penobscot Bay YMCA has named Whitney Files as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective March 21, 2022. She was selected by the Y’s Board of Directors following a nationwide search. Files will succeed Melissa Bellew who stepped down in August 2021. In her new role, Files will be responsible for implementing the Y’s mission to provide high quality services that meet the youth development, healthy living and social needs of individuals and families the Y serves.

Files is a nonprofit executive with over 15 years of experience building sustainable organizations. Passionate about social justice and strengthening communities, she is dedicated to empowering people with the resources to meet their basic needs, and the support and opportunities they need to thrive, according to the Y, in a news release.

Files is currently the Chief Operating Officer of the Knox County Homeless Coalition (KCHC), the only homeless services organization in Knox, Waldo and parts of Lincoln counties. Her role includes human resources, compliance, facilities, day-to-day operations, and finance for KCHC, which employs 50 staff with an annual operating budget of $4.5 million. Before relocating to Maine, Files served as the Chief Operating Officer of Harlem Grown, a New York City nonprofit that inspired youth through mentorship and education in urban farming, nutrition and sustainability.

Files holds an MBA from Bard College, earned her B.A. in politics from New York University, and she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali.

Growing up, Files spent time visiting her grandfather in Thomaston and Tenants Harbor and sailing with her father around the Penobscot Bay. She relocated permanently to the Midcoast in 2018 to be closer to family and to make a home where she enjoyed spending her childhood vacations. She lives in Owls Head with her partner, Marcarthur, and their two daughters.

Since its founding in 1915, the Penobscot Bay YMCA organization has grown and evolved into a large and important part of the mid-coast community celebrating its 100th birthday in 2015. The largest provider of childcare and summer camp in the area, the Penobscot Bay YMCA serves children, teens, adults and seniors. Call 236.3375 or visit to learn more, donate, or find out how you can become a member.