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Francie Pepper

Francie Garber Pepper has spent a lifetime helping others. She is a tireless advocate and philanthropist for women, girls and racial justice. Her volunteer work and leadership is legendary, and her work in support of domestic violence awareness programs has received national recognition. Pepper is also a major supporter of the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, an internationally recognized repository of manuscripts, archives, photographs, periodicals and other primary sources in women’s history, including all of the YWCA historical files. Francie’s own family has been involved in the YWCA for over a century, particularly her aunt, Helen A. Davis, who worked for the YWCA in Rochester, NY and the YWCA in New York City, later becoming the YWCA General Secretary and traveling with Francie’s mother to YWCAs in Japan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and China in 1926. As a longtime advocate for women, Francie Pepper has served on the board of her YWCA in Cincinnati, Ohio since 1996 and was board chair. She has played a critical role for women who have experienced domestic violence, co-chairing a YWCA capital campaign that raised $7.5 million for a larger shelter that tripled the agency’s capacity to serve battered women and their children so they wouldn’t have to be put on a waiting list. Campaign funds were also used to restore the YWCA’s downtown historic headquarters building and add a child care center. Francie Pepper has raised four children with her husband and partner, John Pepper. They now have four granddaughters and a grandson.