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The History of the YWCA of Greater Memphis

Since May 23, 1919, the YWCA of Greater Memphis has been providing mission-driven programs in the Greater Memphis area. Our Mission is to empower women and to eliminate racism. All program areas incorporate strong prevention components aimed at building individual strengths and resilience, cultivating leadership qualities, and changing systems that perpetuate discrimination in any form.

The YWCA actively seeks collaborations and partnerships and takes leadership roles on issues affecting women, children, and families. From the beginning, the YWCA of Greater Memphis has initiated service programs such as transitional housing, formal day care, summer camp, health/wellness opportunities, breast cancer education and assistance, skilled-based classes/training and employment, and emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence which have been designed to improve women’s lives through strategic actions that lead to social and economic justice.

Program participants, volunteers, staff, and board members are representative of the ethnic, cultural, and economic population of our community. Sustained by the richness of many beliefs and values and strengthened by diversity, the YWCA of Greater Memphis actualizes its commitment to social and economic justice through a variety of programs and services which empower women and girls, particularly those who feel disenfranchised and are underserved in this community. In 2008, over 12,000 individuals participated in YWCA programs.

The YWCA’s current annual operating budget totals approximately 2.5 million and the agency employees 87 part-time and full-time staff. Twenty-seven per cent of its budget is derived from federal pass-through grants and twenty-three per cent is from United Way of the Mid-South. The largest employee group is the part-time, non-exempt Decentralized Child Care staff.

In fiscal year 2008-2009 over $335,000 in employment and training grants for nontraditional employment, training, and technical assistance was received. Major sources of funding for the 2008-2009 include: U.S. Department of Labor (Workforce Investment Network), U.S. Department of Education (21st Century Community Learning Centers), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Office of Criminal Justice Program Family Violence Shelter, Childcare Assistance Reimbursement Program, and City of Memphis Human Services), U.S. Department of Justice (Office of Criminal Justice Program Victims of Crime Act, STOP Violence Against Women, Compass Coordination, Inc., City of Memphis/Shelby County Arrest Program), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (Memphis Housing Authority Public Housing Neighborhood Networks, and Disaster Housing Assistance Program), Shelby County School Community Enhancement Reading Program, United Way of the Mid-South, the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, Tennessee Bar Foundation, private donors, and program and membership fees.

The YWCA is an accredited affiliate of the YWCA’s of the Southeast Region, Inc. and the YWCA of the United States of America, Inc. As such, it has an elected Board of Directors and a volunteer structure that promotes oversight of agency management. Throughout its history, the YWCA of Greater Memphis has committed its efforts to saving and changing lives!