Mission and History
The YW Today
YWCA Greater Pittsburgh is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. We envision a community that advances education, opportunity, and equity regardless of gender, race, or background.
The YW today is a source of support and education for women and girls throughout greater Pittsburgh. We focus on programs that generate institutional change and better the lives of women and girls – programs like subsidized child care for women who are the sole financial supporters of their families; housing for women in transition; breast and cervical health education for marginalized women; and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education for teen-aged girls from socio-economically challenged homes. In 2015, YWCA Greater Pittsburgh provided service to 56,389 women, children, and families.
Our work dates back to 1867 when a group of women met for prayers and to sew for the suffering families of Union soldiers. Simple as their work seems, it was a real pioneering venture for these Pittsburgh women. Women’s clubs were unknown, social agencies were non-existent and women had little part in church life. This opportunity for responsibility and leadership was a main factor in the speedy growth of the YW – an organization convinced that women collectively as well as individually should work for “the elevation of women physically, mentally, morally and spiritually.”
Meeting the Needs of the Times
As an organization that has historically recognized and met needs as they have arisen, so have our organizational successes paralleled the issues of the times. Even today, it is our ingenuity and flexibility for meeting needs as they arise that makes YWCA Greater Pittsburgh a vibrant part of Pittsburgh's non-profit community.
Watch this five minute video clip and listen to famed civil rights leader, Dr. Dorothy Height, speak about ensuring that the YW was successful in implementing its ambitious and forward-thinking 1970 Interracial Charter.