Over the last 150 years, the YWCA has been at the forefront of most major societal change movements in the United States, as a pioneer in race relations, labor union representation and the empowerment of women. The following depicts some of our important milestones and accomplishments.
1858 - The Ladies’ Christian Association was formed in New York City.
1894 - The United States, England, Sweden and Norway together created the World YWCA, which today is working in over 125 countries.
1906 - The YWCA was the first organization to introduce the positive health concept and sex education in all health programming.
1907 - The YWCA of the USA incorporated in New York City.
1918 - The YWCA was the first organization to send professional workers overseas to provide administrative leadership and support to U.S. Armed Forces.
1919 - The YWCA of St. Petersburg was chartered; the YWCA of Clearwater was chartered in 1922. They immediately began to hold Circle Groups to help women secure safe employment.
1920s - Based on its work with women in industrial plants, the YWCA Convention voted to work for “an eight-hour/day law, prohibition of night work, and the right of labor to organize.”
1930s - The YWCA encouraged members to speak out against lynching and mob violence, and for interracial cooperation and efforts to protect African American’s basic civil rights.
1940s - The YWCA extends its services to Japanese American women and girls incarcerated in World War II Relocation Centers. The National Board appears at the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate hearings in support of permanent Fair Employment Practices Committee legislation.
1946 - The YWCA of St. Petersburg was the first organization in the Tampa Bay area to have an integrated board of directors.
1950s - The YWCAs in St. Petersburg and Clearwater were the first in the nation to start Junior Boards, teaching young women leadership skills. The National YWCA later adopted this model. The YWCA of St. Petersburg was the first to host an interracial youth summit in the U.S.
1960s - The National Board of the YWCA created the Office of Racial Justice to lead the civil rights efforts.
1970s - The YWCA National Convention adopted the One Imperative: “To thrust our collective power towards the elimination of racism, wherever it exists, by any means necessary.”
1980s - The YWCA St. Petersburg and YWCA Clearwater merged to create the YWCA of Tampa Bay.
1981 - The YWCA of Tampa Bay, in partnership with the Pinellas County Schools, developed one of the first comprehensive “drop-out” prevention programs for adolescent pregnant and parenting youth.
1990s - The YWCA National Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism began. The YWCA Week Without Violence was created as a nationwide effort to unite people against violence in communities. The annual observance is held the third week of October. During this era, the YWCA of Tampa Bay collaborated with five other community organizations to provide Healthy Family Services, one of the first family support programs in the U.S.
1994 - the YWCA of Tampa Bay created the annual Humanitarian Award to recognize individuals and groups who have worked toward the elimination of discrimination of any kind.
1998 - The YWCA of Tampa Bay began offering gender-specific youth development and youth leadership programming for girls.
2000s - The YWCA USA adopted the Steps to Absolute Change, shifting from a top down to a bottom up grassroots organization in which local associations join regions and elect their regional representatives to the National Coordinating Board.
The YWCA of Tampa Bay partnered with the Clearwater Police Department during this era to provide interpreters to help non-English speaking individuals understand their legal rights.
2004 - The YWCA of Tampa Bay opened the Powell ChildCare and Learning Center in cooperation with Morton Plant Hospital.
2008 - The YWCA USA celebrated its 150th Anniversary.
2009 - The YWCA of Tampa Bay celebrated its 90th Anniversary.