Skip to Conten
eliminating racism empowering women YWCA greater pittsburgh

Mission and History

photo of 10 seated women in large hats, high-necked white blouses, ankle-length skirts

Pioneering Women

The year is 1867. The Civil War is ended. The Transcontinental Railroad is being built. And a group of caring, perceptive women gather for prayers and to sew for the relief of Union Soldier families. Simple as their work seems now, it was a bold, pioneering venture for these Pittsburgh women. Women’s clubs were unknown, social agencies were non-existent, and women had little part in civic life. The YW’s inception and growth were sparked by this unmet need for women’s leadership. From its proud beginnings, YWCA has worked to empower women and girls, promote fairness and equity, and challenge racial and social injustice.

four young women at 2016 social networking event

YW Today

Today, YWCA serves more than 70,000 women, children, and families every year. We provide education and tools necessary to challenge racism. We erode health inequities by connecting families to affordable health care and navigating disadvantaged women toward improved breast health. We offer comprehensive services to struggling women and families - including affordable child care and supportive housing. We nurture girls’ educational ambitions, encouraging interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. We provide quality early care and education for children from low-income families, giving them the best chance for lifelong success.

mother and father holding daughter celebrating naturalization ceremony waving American flags

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.  At the YW, we tread places where other people are afraid to tread.  At the YW, we are experienced – and we are agile. We don’t fear the future we create CHANGE in response to unmet community needs. Empowering women and eliminating racism: We are YWCA Greater Pittsburgh.


Did you know?

According to the Center for Disease Control, African American women are over three times more likely to be murdered with a gun than white women.

Read more about YWCA's position on gun violence.

Back to top