||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (September 2012)|
The YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) is a non-profit organization, the first of which was founded in the UK in 1855. Local and national associations are located worldwide, each with differing aims and methods, but all providing programs for women based on the perceived need in their communities. The umbrella organization for the national associations is the World YWCA, based in Geneva, Switzerland. The original Christian focus is still very strong in many of the national movements, both in Europe and the rest of the world, but some have changed their focus to social activities and gender-related topics only. While the organization remains independent of the YMCA, some programs they provide are similar, such as child care, health & wellness, and employment training. In response, many local YMCA and YWCA associations have amalgamated into YM/YWCAs or YMCA-YWCAs, and belong to both organizations while providing the programs of each.
In the UK
In the United Kingdom, the name has been truncated to YWCA England & Wales as Christianity no longer plays an integral part in the organisation. YWCA England & Wales concentrates on informal education (youth work), information and signposting for young women growing up in disadvantaged areas. It also campaigns on issues that affect young women. YWCA's most recent campaign was called Respect young mums, and was about getting better support for teenage mums.
In the US
As the new CEO of the YWCA USA, Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron will oversee the organization which promotes solutions to improve the lives of over 2 million women, girls, people of color and their families in the United States. The YWCA USA has almost 250 associations throughout the country and services are provided in over 1,300 locations across the nation. Associations are configured into 9 regions. Regions vary in size from 19 associations (New England) to 60 associations (Great Lakes). Average of the other regions is 32 associations. The associations employ about 14,000 staff members - 44% are full-time and 56% part-time. In 2004, the YWCA USA utilized 75,225 volunteers to deliver our services.
YWCA USA In 2004, YWCA USA associations registered 2.6 million people in programs for children, youth and adults, of which 22% were helped with domestic violence programs, 8% were involved in economic empowerment & leadership development programs, 10% participated in racial justice programs, 7% were served by housing and shelter programs, 24% experienced child, youth and teen programs, 24% enjoyed the benefits of health, fitness and aquatic programs. The majority of the YWCA USA associations publicly advocate on Racial Justice, Violence Against Women, Early Childhood Education and Increasing Women's Income issues.
The YWCA of The City of New York, the oldest of all of the YWCAs in the United States, is 150 years old. They are unique in that the organization is guided purely by human service-oriented programs rather than physical services. Such programs include their Early Learning Centers, Family Resource Center, Out-of-School Programs, Professional Development Programming, and Women's Employment Programming to name a few and still guided by the YW mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. They are a major component of the non-profit community in New York City. They produce several fundraising events annually including the Salute to Women Leaders Luncheon, the YWCA-NYC Theatre Benefit (featuring the broadway hit The Color Purple in 2005 and the revival of Michael Bennett's A Chorus Line in 2006). Their annual Summer Soirée (held at the W Hotel in 2005 and Cipriani 23rd Street in 2006) at which they present their "W" award. This award is presented to a woman who is a visionary, an innovator, trend-setter, a woman who gives back to her community and helps those the YW serves daily: the women, girls and families of New York City. In 2005, this award was given to Marian McEvoy and in 2006 to Star Jones-Reynolds.
Prior to the U.S. civil rights movement, some YWCA facilities were segregated or operated as separate organizations. Advocates like Helen L. Seaborg in Washington, D.C. worked successfully to mediate mergers between the segregated groups.
The YWCA USA is a preeminent provider of domestic violence programs and shelters in the United States, serving well over ½ million women and children. As comparison, the largest national hotline averages 192,000 calls per year. They are one of the largest providers of child care in the United States with nearly 350,000 children cared for, possibly more children than the largest for-profit center chain. The total income per year is almost $650 million - ($649,500,430). Of this amount, 49% is from government grants, 23% from public support (individuals, foundations, corporations) and membership fees, and 21% from program service fees.
The YWCA USA is an organizational member of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, which advocates gun control.
More about the CEO: Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron: Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D., served for four years as CEO of the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.® During her tenure, the Affiliate has ranked as the #1 Komen Affiliate in fundraising and grants awarded — outpacing over 120 other Affiliates in the U.S. and abroad. The Susan G. Komen for the Cure® organization is the largest source of nonprofit funds in the world dedicated to the fight against breast cancer. Dr. Richardson-Heron is a 15-year and counting breast cancer survivor and a powerful advocate and public spokesperson for preventive health and breast cancer awareness. Her media appearances include CBS News, WCBS News, ABC News, NBC News, The Doctor Oz Show, The Martha Stewart Show, The CBS Morning Show, Fox News, The Today Show, CNBC and Bloomberg Business Week. She has also been featured in O Magazine, New York Daily News and New York Newsday. Dr. Richardson-Heron has more than 20 years of health care leadership, management and operations experience in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Her experience and expertise spans health care delivery, management, strategic planning, change management, grants administration, human resources, advocacy, public policy and consensus-building.
Previously, Dr. Richardson-Heron served as the Chief Medical Officer of United Cerebral Palsy of NYC and National Chief Medical Officer for United Cerebral Palsy Association providing advocacy, support, educational services, advice and counsel to over 100 UCP affiliates and thousands of individuals with disabilities in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
She was Special Assistant to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Consolidated Edison, serving as liaison with Board members, the business community and other constituents and working with senior leaders to execute projects and assess company management. During her 11 years at Con Edison, Dr. Richardson-Heron also served as the Executive Medical Director and Administrative Physician where she was in charge of corporate medical clinic’s daily operations, providing comprehensive medical, preventive health and wellness services and regulatory examinations for over 16,000 employees.
In 2004, she was appointed by the Manhattan Borough President to a commission investigating the growing health care disparities among minorities in New York City. She also served as Chair and Medical Advisor of the YWCA/New York State Department of Health project, “Breaking Down Barriers — Eliminating Obstacles to Health Care for Women with Disabilities.”
Dr. Richardson-Heron is on the boards of the Women’s Forum of New York and the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens. She is also a member of the Greater New York Chapter of the Links, Inc. and an alumna of CORO Foundation-Leadership New York. The recipient of many awards, she has been honored with the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers Award, YMCA Black Achiever in Industry Award and was named one of the “25 Influential Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal. In 2010, she was named a “Woman of Excellence in Philanthropy” by the United Way of New York City.
Dr. Richardson-Heron received a Doctorate in Medicine from New York University School of Medicine and Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology at Barnard College of Columbia University. She also completed the Human Resources Executive Program at the University of Michigan.
- The YWCA logo was created in 1988 by Saul Bass.
- The organization was mentioned in The Smiths' song Half A Person. "I booked myself in at the Y...WCA. I said I like it here - can I stay? I like it here - can I stay? And, do you have a vacancy, for a back-scrubber?"