Helping Women, Girls, and their Families Return Strong

A- A A+

Helping Women, Girls, and their Families Return Strong

Since the COVID-19 crisis hit in 2020, YWCA has been focused on providing ongoing recovery efforts by ensuring that local associations across the country have resources and support they need to support and transform the lives of the women, girls, and people of color we serve every day.

A central part of the YWCA mission is to empower women. As a result, we work tirelessly to ensure that women have access to resources such as child care, housing, economic empowerment, and professional development opportunities that level the playing field, allowing women and their families to thrive.

YWCAs across the country, like YWCA Vermont and YWCA Central Carolinas, are working to provide extra support for kids to get them back-to-school ready for the 2021-2022 year in the face of covid learning slide through summer programming and after-school programs that uplift the youth we serve despite the structural, social, and educational challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

We have also partnered with Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex, and the Archewell Foundation in honor of her 40th birthday to uplift the 40×40 message, designed to challenge?women everywhere?to contribute 40 minutes of their time to provide community service or mentorship to support women reentering the workforce. Learn how you can commit 40 minutes of your time to a woman in your life in the article below.

Through our Women’s Empowerment 360 (WE360) program, we are supporting women and women of color in becoming entrepreneurs, incorporating wrap-around economic development services designed to create jobs, increasing the number of women- and BIPOC-owned businesses, as well as advocating and assisting with the incubation of new businesses. Last month, as part of the WE360 program, we hosted the YWomen Start It Up Pitch Competition and provided the opportunity for six incredible women entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses to an expert panel of judges for the chance to win up to $25,000 in funding. Read below for more information on this year’s winners and their businesses.

Lastly, we are moving forward another central part of the YWCA mission to eliminate racism through the implementation of our internal Racial Justice Continuum Strategy. A strategy designed to uplift and support the critical racial justice and equity work that almost 200 local associations across the country do to level the playing field and bring about equality for women and equity for people of color.

Every day we show up to help women, girls, and people of color in many different ways because we know that what we do now, in this moment in time, will have an impact on their future success. YWCA remains committed to preparing and responding to the needs of the people we serve amidst an ever-changing world driven by new challenges, and what will eventually be our new normal.

We cannot return strong after COVID-19 without gender equality and race equity. We must place women and people of color at the center of our economic recovery. Now is the moment for all people to commit to putting in that work – by supporting opportunities and initiatives outlined in this newsletter. Your commitment will set us on the path towards a more sustainable and just future, to ensure prosperity for all.

Stronger together,

Elisha Rhodes
Interim CEO and COO, YWCA USA


Today! Take Action With Us on Women’s Equality Day

Happy Women’s Equality Day! Today we commemorate the 101st anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave some women, but not all, the right to vote. This passage symbolized a major step in the voting rights movement and towards women’s empowerment. However, a century after this landmark legislation was passed, the voices of women and people of color are still at risk and the work to protect voting rights is far from over.

Join us as we take action to commemorate this holiday by:

To honor those who fought before us, on Women’s Equality Day we must continue the fight for women and people of color by speaking out to protect our reproductive, voting, and civil rights. It’s our voice. Our vote. Our future. Will you speak up and join the movement?


Take Action With Us on Women's Equality Day
From Reckoning to Resolution with Dr. Leana Wen

Tune in to the Next Episode of From Reckoning to Resolution with Dr. Leana Wen

YWCA USA is proud to host the next episode of From Reckoning to Resolution on September 2 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET.

This month, our host, interim CEO and COO Elisha Rhodes, will be joined by Dr. Leana Wen, one of America’s foremost public health experts. We are thrilled to invite the critically acclaimed author and physician to discuss her memoir, Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health, addressing racism as a public health crisis, the impact of sexism on women’s health, and so much more!

This unique and powerful event won’t be complete without your participation. So don’t delay! Register today!


YWCA Celebrates the Third Anniversary of the Women’s Empowerment ETF

In 2018, Impact Shares and YWCA USA launched a first-of-its-kind ETF on the NYSE for investors to take action in the women’s empowerment movement. The WOMN ETF allows investors to provide exposure, index, and deploy capital to companies whose business practices align with YWCA backed gender-equality standards. This ETF wouldn’t have been possible without YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, who identified the opportunity to partner with Impact Shares and worked with YWCA USA to engage with companies inside and outside the Index.

To commemorate this occasion, join us September 13 from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. CT, for MONEY & MORALITY: Mutually-Exclusive? This virtual panel discussion — brought to you by YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, Morningstar, and YWCA USA — will cover to what extent investors and businesses must sacrifice returns and revenue to positively impact Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues, and the emergence of innovative solutions to bridge capital to cause. Join the conversation and register today!

For more information on how to invest in the WMN ETF or the the criteria necessary for companies to be included in the index, check out their website or review this fact sheet.


Get in on the Global Wave of Service and Uplift the 40×40 Message!

In the past two years, and in large part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, tens of millions of women around the world have left the workforce while also shouldering the brunt of the crisis when it comes to unpaid labor, including schooling and caring for family members. To help address this crisis, for her 40th birthday Meghan Markleinvited people across the worldto participate in the global wave of service by committing 40 minutes of your time to a community service or mentorship initiative that uplifts women.

To spread the 40×40 message, YWCA partnered with the Archewell Foundation and the Duchess of Sussex, because we know that one of the many important ways we can help support women reentering the workforce is by investing in mentorship to motivate, inspire, and support women so they can regain the confidence and practical tools they need to advance a professional life on their own terms.

Join us in empowering women and helping them rebuild their confidence and economic strength by volunteering your time and stay connected to the conversation by using #40X40 #CompassionInAction and #EmpoweredWomenEmpowerWomen.


Get in on the Global Wave of Service and Uplift the 40x40 Message!

YWCA Celebrates Women of Color Entrepreneurs at Pitch Competition

While women have experienced many victories in the quest for economic empowerment, many women entrepreneurs – and particularly women of color – lack the resources necessary to maintain financial security.

That is why we couldn’t have been more thrilled to celebrate women of color, at the YWomen Start It Up Pitch Competition, which provided the opportunity for six incredible women entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses to an expert panel of judges for a chance to win up to $25,000 in prizes.

This competition was made possible by the Women’s Empowerment 360 (WE360) program – a national empowerment and economic advancement program centering women of color and funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation – which has supported over 25 YWCAs and their entrepreneurial women for over 2 years!

Check out this blog to learn about the pitch competition, our finalists, prize awards, and the WE360 program.


Join Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids to Address Back to School Concerns!

Join Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids to Address Back to School Concerns!

While our nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and as our kids go back to school in person, we cannot forget the devastation tobacco use has and will continue to cause, especially amongst women andcommunities of color.

This is why YWCA USA is proud to partner with the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids to help protect our youth by urging for the elimination of all flavored tobacco products. Though the FDA has taken recent steps by announcing that it will prohibit some tobacco products, given the clear evidence that flavored e-cigarettes attract and addict kids, we are urging the FDA to take immediate enforcement action to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes.

To learn more about what parents, students, and educators ought to know on how the tobacco industry is targeting youth, women, and communities of color check out the last episode in the Campaign for the Culture series, which featured YWCA USA Interim CEO Elisha Rhodes. Join us and together, we can stop the tobacco industry and protect the health of our kids and communities.


YWCA Spotlights: YWCA Central Carolinas and YWCA Vermont

YWCA knows that during this challenging time, the after-school and summer programming our local associations provide communities who are struggling with increased child care challenges are critical. We are proud to spotlight two YWCA local associations at the forefront of this pertinent work to help get kids back to school.

YWCA Vermont has been dedicated to empowering girls through summer camp programming since 1919 and continued to innovate throughout the pandemic to ensure youth are supported, educated, empowered, and prepared to thrive in this upcoming school year and beyond. Learn more about what they are doing to beat the covid learning slide and how you can support their programs, check out this blog.

YWCA Central Carolinas has a long history of providing free, high-quality out-of-school programs to students K-5 with their goal being to provide each student with an exemplary academic experience centering literacy focus, parent engagement, character development, and cultural enrichment. To learn more about their recently renovated youth learning center or how to support their critical work, visit their website.

YWCAs across the country remain strong and will continue providing educational and engaging out-of-school programming despite the challenges faced during the ongoing pandemic. Learn more about a YWCA near you today.


New on the YWCA Blog

Have you checked out the YWCA Blog? Our blog features stories, tips, and other information designed to inspire and empower girls, women, and people of color on a variety of topics from civic engagement to women’s equity in the workplace and everything in between.

Read more about our work in our latest blog posts.

Upcoming Events and Important Dates

  • August 26: Women’s Equality Day
  • September 2: From Reckoning to Resolution: A Conversation with Dr. Leana Wen
  • August: Back to School
  • August: Black August
  • August: Black Homeownership Month
  • August 19: World Humanitarian Day
  • August 22: Anniversary of Housing and Community Development Act (1974)
  • August 26: Women’s Equality Day
  • August 27: Anniversary of WOMN ETF
  • September: National Campus Safety Awareness Month
  • September 5: International Day of Charity
  • September 7: Labor Day
  • September 8: Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day
  • September 9: Anniversary of Civil Rights Act (1957)
  • September 10: World Suicide Prevention Day
  • September 11: 20th Anniversary of 9/11
  • September 13: Anniversary of Violence Against Women Act (1994)
  • September 13: MONEY & MORALITY: Mutually-Exclusive? Virtual Panel Discussion
  • September 15-October 15: Hispanic Heritage Month

Share Our Newsletter

Know someone interested in learning more about our mission to eliminate racism and empower women? Please share our monthly newsletter signup link.
Click below to share our newsletter on your social media pages.