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Pioneers of Women Empowerment and More

Throughout our history, YWCA has been in the forefront of most major movements in the United States as a pioneer in race relations, labor union representation, and women empowerment. Throughout the past and into the future, the YWCA continues to fight injustices. See our extensive history below!

2020 - 2000

2016

YWCA launches YWCA Is On A Mission brand awareness campaign to deepen YWCA’s impact in local communities and on the national scale.

2015

YWCA USA develops a Mission Impact Framework and Theory of Change to focus and clarify our diverse body of work in racial justice and civil rights, women and girls’ health and safety, and women and girls’ empowerment and economic advancement.

Stand Against Racism becomes a signature campaign of YWCA USA reaching over 700 locations across the country.

The corporate name changed from “Young Women’s Christian Association of the United States of America, Inc.” to “YWCA USA, Inc.”, effective December 15, 2015.

2013

Over 2 million people participate in YWCA programs at more than 1,300 sites across the United States.

YWCA USA transitions from an internal national coordinating board to a new board of directors driven by women of influence as well as YWCA leaders.

2012

At YWCA’s Annual Meeting in May 2012, a transition from the prior regional structure to a national federated structure was approved, followed by the adoption of new bylaws in November 2012.

2008

YWCA celebrated its sesquicentennial anniversary, 150 years of service, with the launch of the “Own It” campaign. The campaign focused on igniting a new generation of 22 million young women aged 18 to 34, inspiring them to get involved with important issues facing women and the country today.

YWCA celebrated its Sesquicentennial Anniversary, 150 years of service, with the launch of the “Own It” campaign. The campaign focused on igniting a new generation of 22 million young women aged 18 to 34, inspiring them to get involved with important issues facing women and the country today.

2007

YWCA of Trenton, N.J. and YWCA Princeton, N.J. establish the “Stand Against Racism” campaign, which spreads to 39 states with over a quarter million participants.

2004

Igniting the Collective Power of  YWCA to Eliminate Racism, YWCA USA’s Summit on Eliminating Racism was held in Birmingham, Alabama.

2001

Steps to Absolute Change was adopted. YWCA shifted from a top-down to a bottom-up grassroots organization. Local associations joined regions and elected their regional representatives to the National Coordinating Board.

1999 - 1960

1995

YWCA’s Week Without Violence was created as a nationwide effort to unite people against violence in communities. The annual observance is held in the third week of October.

1992

YWCA’s  National Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism began in response to the beating of Rodney King, an African American man, the acquittal of four white Los Angeles police officers accused of the crime, and the subsequent riots and unrest across the country.

1983

YWCA’s  National Board urges Congress to support legislation that opposes the South African policy of apartheid.

1982

YWCA establishes Fund For The Future.

1972

YWCA started the ENCORE program for women who had undergone breast cancer surgery.

1970

YWCA’s National Convention, held in Houston, adopted the One Imperative: “To trust our collective power towards the elimination of racism, wherever it exists, by any means necessary.”

1965

The National Board of  YWCA created the Office of Racial Justice to lead the civil rights efforts.

1960

The Atlanta, Georgia, YWCA cafeteria opened to African Americans, becoming the city’s first integrated public dining facility.

1959 - 1921

1955

National Convention commits local Associations and the National Board to review progress towards inclusiveness and decides on “concrete steps” to be taken.

1949

The National Convention pledges that YWCA will work for integration and full participation of minority groups in all phases of American life.

1946

Interracial Charter adopted by the 17th National Convention.

1944

The National Board appears at the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate hearings in support of permanent Fair Employment Practices Committee legislation.

1942

YWCA extends its services to Japanese American women and girls incarcerated in World War II Relocation Centers.

1938

YWCA in Columbus, Ohio, establishes a desegregated dining facility and is cited by The Columbus Urban League “for a courageous step forward in human relations.”

1934

YWCA encouraged members to speak out against lynching and mob violence, and for interracial cooperation and efforts to protect African Americans’ basic civil rights.

1921

Grace Dodge Hotel completed construction of a Washington, D.C. residence initially designed to house women war workers.

1920 - 1890

1920

Based on its work with women in industrial plants, YWCA’s Convention voted to work for “an eight-hour/day law, prohibition of night work, and the right of labor to organize.”

1918

YWCA was the first organization to send professional workers overseas to provide administrative leadership and support to U.S. Armed Forces.

1915

YWCA held the first interracial conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

1908

YWCA was the first industrial federation of clubs to train girls in self-government.

1907

YWCA of the USA incorporated in New York City.

1906

YWCA was the first organization to introduce the positive health concept and sex education in all health programming.

1894

The United States of America, England, Sweden, and Norway together created World YWCA, which today is working in over 125 countries.

1890

The first YWCA for Native American women opened in at Haworth Institute in Chilocco, Oklahoma.

1889 - 1858

1889

The first African American YWCA branch opened in Dayton, Ohio.

1874

YWCA opens a low-cost summer “resort” for employed women in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1872

YWCA opens the first employment bureau in New York City.

1866

“YWCA” was first used in Boston, Massachusetts.

1860

The first boarding house for female students, teachers and factory workers opened in New York, New York.

1858

The first Association in the U.S., Ladies Christian Association, was formed in New York City.