Philanthropist Peter Post is positively perfect for Beaufort

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Photo above: After a career with the YMCA, Peter Post continues volunteering. 

Peter Post has received a YMCA paycheck ever since he started working at the local summer camp at age 18. Dedicating his life to working with – and for – people, Peter’s career has taken him across the country as he transitioned from national nonprofit executive to active, engaged philanthropist.

A native New Englander, Peter first became involved with the YMCA the summer before his freshman year of college. He applied to work as a counselor at the local YMCA summer camp, even though the newspaper ad said the camp was only looking for current college students. Peter ultimately got the counselor position. “I loved working with kids,” he recalled, explaining the success of his first foray into the YMCA world. “That’s how it got started, and then they kept asking me to come back every summer.”

Peter took his first job at the Bridgeport YMCA after graduating from Springfield College. At summer camp, “They kept telling me I’d make a good YMCA Director – and then I did that!” he shared. In Bridgeport, Peter realized his aptitude for one skill every nonprofit executive must have: fundraising. One of his first assignments was to call on various prospective donors. He had one day to run with this assignment, despite the fact that all of the prospects had a predicted gift of $0.

Peter surprised everyone when he came back that day with $164. This 23-year-old YMCA rookie was on his way up.

After Bridgeport, Peter headed to Boston, where he spent 28 years on staff, ending his tenure there as President of the Boston YMCA after having overseen a merger with the Woburn YMCA. However, that wasn’t even Peter’s peak: his last position was serving as COO for YMCA of the USA, the national office based in Chicago.

“I loved the opportunity to work with people,” Peter said of his career with the YMCA. “I thought some of the nicest people I’d ever met worked at the YMCA, and I wanted to emulate them – they were just terrific people, and had an interest in serving kids in the community.”

However, in 1997, it was finally time for a well-deserved retirement. Peter and his wife had visited Dataw Island years before, but after searching across the South for the perfect home, they decided Beaufort was the place to be. Peter in particular was attracted by the level of community involvement he saw in his future neighbors. And of course, there was a local YMCA Peter saw he could get involved in.

Nearing 18 years in Beaufort, Peter has become a fixture of the local philanthropic community. He served on the board of the YMCA for 12 years, eventually acting as their Chairman. Peter also worked with Penn Center’s board and helped them to launch the 1862 Circle, which honors leaders who advocate for the history and culture of the Sea Islands – past winners include Mary Mack and Jonathan Green. Currently, Peter is most involved with United Way of the Lowcountry, which serves Beaufort and Jasper Counties. There he focuses on bringing back fundraising after the financial crisis of 2008. “To be a part of turning that around has been a high point,” Peter explained.

At the end of the day, every day since he was 18, Peter Post has made a different in the lives of others through his work. Here in Beaufort, he continues that through meaningful volunteer service with a variety of different nonprofits. For Peter, “[volunteering] was an outlet for me to help support not-for-profits and keep my mind active while raising money for good causes.” We thank Peter for his service – Beaufort is a better place because of it.