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What began as a lunch counter for working women in 1916 has evolved to become a force of empowerment and safety for women, children and families in our community. As a formal organization associated with an International service organization, YWCA Clark County played a critical role in promoting women’s rights in the workplace, and has been at the forefront of the civil rights movement since the 1960’s.

The first YWCA began in New York in the 1800’s under the moniker Young Women’s Christian Association. While the religious affiliations of YWCA are a thing of the past, YWCA has always been motivated by the desire to serve others. Here are just a few of the ways YWCA has served our nation. View a complete timeline of national highlights at ywca.org.

Time and time again, YWCA established itself as an organization you could trust if you were a minority or oppressed population. YWCA of Clark County is honored to have played a part in that legacy, and our own timeline shows some of the amazing steps we have taken to make the dream of equality more of a reality in our own community.

1916 Establishes as lunch counter for working women
Organizes league of women voters branch
1927 Receives charter from national association
1946 Welcomes people of color; women gather for social contact, recreation, classes
1948 Receives the bulk of the Mary A. Powell estate
1960 Takes an official stand against segregation
1968 Implements programs for interracial, interreligious understanding
1975 Opens women’s emergency house
1980 Implements sexual assault program
1982 CASA advocates for abused, neglected children
1984 Implements legal advocacy program
1988 Implements children’s advocacy, y’s care programs
1990 Implements ils program for youth in foster care
1992 Implements safechoice domestic violence shelter
1994 Gains recognition as agency of the year
1997 Moves to a new location, expands programs
1998 Gains recognition as agency of the year
2001 Receives Helene Schoen estate donation
2006 Implements eliminating racism workshop, safechoice legal clinic
2007 Receives $1 million for y’s care children’s program from Ray Hickey
2008 Implements social change program
2010 Shelter becomes gender inclusive, receives the WSUV Community Award for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
2011 Y’s Care implements Seeds of Empathy
2012 Supports Ref. 74 equal marriage rights
2013 Spports Violence Against Women Act, Y’s Care updates outdoor learning environment
2014 Receives building repair and upgrades
2016 Celebrates 100 year anniversary

1860 YWCA opened the first boarding house for female factory workers, teachers, students
1889 The first African-American YWCA branch opened in Dayton, Ohio
1906 YWCA introduces the positive health concept and sex education in all health programs
1934 YWCA speaks out against lynching and mob violence, and for interracial cooperation to protect African Americans’ basic civil rights
1942 YWCA extended services to Japanese American women and girls in World War II relocation centers
1970  YWCA adopted the One Imperative: “To thrust our collective power towards the elimination of racism, wherever it exists, by any means necessary”
1995  Week Without Violence was created to united people against violence in communities

Work is still needed to fully empower women, eliminate racism, violence and oppression in Clark County. Our board of directors have outlined 4 major strategic initiatives for YWCA Clark County to implement during the next 3-5 years. They are to offer innovative programming that positively impacts the communities we serve, to tell our story to increase awareness of the organization, to create a women’s leadership center, and to leverage an innovative mix of development strategies to support organizational growth. Combined, these initiatives will ensure that YWCA Clark County can continue to provide the best service possible to our community.