by Katie Stanton
Social Media Manager, YWCA USA
2013 is nearly here, so let’s take a step back and reflect on the accomplishments of the past year. For the YWCA, looking back helps us remember what we can achieve together, and to plan for how we will continue to empower women and eliminate racism in coming years.
YWCAs across the country have truly made an impressive difference in their communities. Our local associations worked hard to serve the two million women and families who participate in our programs every year. Here is just a sample of their many achievements:
- The YWCA of the City of New York provided relief to the families in Coney Island who were heavily impacted by Hurricane Sandy, despite their own challenges after the storm. Other local associations, like the YWCA of Minneapolis, organized relief efforts to help their fellow association recover.
- The YWCA York, as part of a Human Trafficking Task Force, increased awareness about the widespread trafficking taking place in their community at their Cocktails for a Cause event. YWCA USA CEO Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D., discussed the YWCA USA’s commitment to empowering survivors of violence.
- The YWCA of O’ahu is expanding their Dress for Success headquarters with a $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation. They will also be collaborating with U.S. VETS to provide the first and only transitional housing for female veterans in Hawai’i.
- The YWCA Binghamton was just one association that helped to get out the vote by hosting their own voter registration for shelter residents and staff.
- The YWCA Cass Clay, one of the smallest local associations involved in the Purple Purse campaign, filmed a video starring local celebrities and advocates that ultimately helped them pass 3,124 purses – the most out of the 14 associations that participated. The Purple Purse campaign, in its second year, raised $250,000 overall for YWCA and domestic violence survivors.
2012 was also a big year for the YWCA’s national movement:
- Throughout the year, we advocated for important legislation for women and families, like improved measures to fight hate crimes, the Violence Against Women Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Affordable Care Act.
- In April, we took a stand against racism and got a conversation started with our first Stand Against Racism Blog Carnival.
- Vice President Joe Biden attended our 2012 National Conference in Washington, D.C. in May, addressing over 400 attendees from YWCAs across the country. In his speech, he addressed the Violence Against Women Act, which is still awaiting reauthorization in Congress to this day.
- Rhonda Bishop and Marianne Schild attended the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in August, ahead of the 2012 elections, and posted live updates of their experiences representing the YWCA at these important events.
- Also in August, a delegation of 21 young women from across the globe represented the World YWCA at AIDS 2012, the 19th Annual International AIDS Conference. These women helped to achieve the common goal of finding effective solutions and approaches to HIV and AIDS that affirm and protect the rights of women everywhere.
- Our national What Women Want 2012 survey was conducted in September, in partnership with Lake Research, Inc. and the polling company, inc./WomanTrend. We achieved the first comprehensive, national look at the priorities and concerns of women ahead of the Presidential elections in 2012.
- In November, the YWCA USA’s Director of Advocacy, Desiree Hoffman, traveled to Seoul, Korea to attend the World YWCA Conference on Violence Against Women.
- In December, Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D. joined the YWCA USA as our new CEO, taking over from Interim CEO Gloria Lau. We are thrilled to have her here!
The YWCA is only as great as its staff, partners, donors, volunteers and members, which is why we want to thank all of you for your hard work and support for our mission. We will continue to advocate for your needs, listen to your feedback and give you the tools necessary for you and your families to be successful. Here’s to another great year, and to a prosperous 2013!
To give your tax-deductible contribution to the YWCA USA before Jan. 1, click here.
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