Introducing YWCA’s Data-Driven, Interactive Map Initiative

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Introducing YWCA’s Data-Driven, Interactive Map Initiative

YWCA’s new interactive data map helps tell the story of how critical our work is to women, children, and families throughout the United States. We’ve always known firsthand about the demand for social services in our communities, but this innovative online tool is a game-changer: it showcases the impact of our work at the local, state, and national level by displaying key data points for each local association across the entire YWCA network. Furthermore, our data map provides key data aligned with our mission and policy priorities, such as county- and state-level demographic information about income, race, and gender diversity, as well as Opportunity Zones.

In communities big and small, YWCAs turn on the lights and open their doors to answer the call for justice. Whether your local YWCA is in a major city like Los Angeles, serving 179,465 women and families each year, or you’re one of the 613 people who depend on YWCA Central Indiana’s services, we are there to help people in need. The proof is in the numbers: YWCA serves over 2.3 million women, girls, and families, fulfilling community needs that remain unmet by social and government services

And now, we’re excited to unveil a fuller picture of our national impact: YWCA’s Data Map: A National Footprint of Women’s Empowerment is our first major data initiative to continue on the path to becoming a fully data-driven organization!

We know there is incredible power in data: it allows us to hone in on the very real problems that affect our members and communities. Through this map, we are combining our longstanding commitment to social service and justice with data analytics to help drive our focus and investments of time, resources and human capital. For the first time, we have tangible evidence that emphasizes our reach in service delivery—and most importantly, our impact. 

At the same time, the county data also shows us that gaps remain. For example, YWCA Utah serves over 4,000 survivors of domestic and sexual violence each year. Yet data tells us that the needs for services is still great: on a single day in Utah, 305 requests for services by survivors could not be met, and 30% of unmet needs were for housing. Evidently, this mapping tool helps us to identify not only the type of services YWCAs deliver and to how many people, but also the unmet and emerging needs in each community where we have a presence.

Knowing this information is vital to how we invest our resources. It is also key to educating those with decision making power, especially elected officials, corporate partners, and the philanthropy world, to ensure that non-profits are afforded the resources and support they need to continue their critical and important work.

It takes knowledge and resources for a non-profit to transition to a data-driven organization in a strategic way. Data philanthropy is a major opportunity for corporations to bring non-profits into the fold. The private sector is sitting on a wealth of data and resources that could help us understand how we can all better engage with communities and meet needs in socially-informed, impactful ways. The corporate world is beginning to recognize this, as evidenced by the recent Mastercard and Rockefeller Foundation collaboration to invest $50 million in helping non-profits use data. We’re encouraged by this trend, and are doing our part to pinpoint community needs through our new data initiative.

As part of our efforts to empower the communities we serve through social innovation, investment, and impact, YWCA USA is playing a role in the policy formulation, shaping the discussion, and investments made in Opportunity Zones. YWCA’s interactive map has a feature that allows community stakeholders and investors to learn about the 86 YWCAs headquartered in Opportunity Zones across 33 states, including the work these YWCAs are leading to support community growth. In the next few months, we will announce more tools and initiatives to help ensure community informed investments in Opportunity Zones are driving economic growth where it is needed most.

While YWCA is united in our mission, we are not a one-size-fits-all organization. We are an on-the-ground agency that meets the unique, specific needs of communities across the country. With over 200 YWCAs, we can serve as a social laboratory to deliver innovative solutions and we have the capacity to scale programs and services that not only address the challenges of today, but set communities up for the opportunities of tomorrow.

Our Data Map: A National Footprint of Empowerment is just one way that we are investing time, energy, and resources to align our programs with the arising needs revealed by data. We will continue to approach our mission thoughtfully and with intention, and we will keep doing the important work YWCA has done for over 160 years. At YWCA, we are eliminating racism and empowering women.