||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 1858. 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 YWCA no longer stands for Young Women's Christian Association as their staff and the people they serve are not all young, women, or Christian. The acronym has been kept to maintain brand equity. The services provided at YWCA locations within the United States vary greatly depending on their size and location.
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 organization. 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.
In the US
The YWCA USA has almost 250 associations throughout the country and services are provided in over 1,300 locations. 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.
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% used 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.[when?] 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 1⁄2 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.
- 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?"
- http://www.ywca.org/site/c.cuIRJ7NTKrLaG/b.7515807/k.2737/YWCA__Eliminating_Racism_Empowering_Women.htm. Missing or empty
- World Young Women's Christian Association
- YWCA England & Wales
- YWCA USA
- YWCA Canada
- YWCA of the U.S.A. Records, 1860-2002 (Bulk: 1906-2000) Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College
- Young Women's Christian Association of Cambridge (Mass.) Records, 1881-1981 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.