We’re so proud to showcase our local YWCA branch, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, as our customer spotlight this month!  We started working together last year to create custom scarves to benefit their organization.  This year we also teamed up to create custom scarves for the larger YWCA USA as well.  The YWCA does such amazing work here in our hometown and across the country that we want to share, so we asked Molly Silverman, Chief Strategic Engagement Officer, for more!

Can you tell us a bit more about the history of the YWCA, and what services that YWCA Chicago provides?

YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is the oldest and largest women’s organization in the region, with a mission to eliminate racism and empower women. We were founded in 1876 by thirteen women who wanted to be able to address the needs of the growing number of single women arriving in Chicago. For more than 140 years, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago has been committed to serving the evolving needs of women and families. Today, we help more than 200,000 individuals annually through programs focused around Safety & Wellness, Education & Training, and Economic Sustainability. We are the largest provider of sexual assault support services in the state of Illinois, offering crisis intervention, counseling, prevention education and medical and legal advocacy services. We administer the state’s largest Child Care Resource and Referral program as well as an Early Head Start program offering services to families seeking child care and a variety of support resources for child care providers. We also offer career, financial management, digital literacy and business services to help youth and adult members achieve financial stability and obtain training to enter high-growth fields.

The YWCA offices in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago, IL. Photo: Christopher Dilts

What work are you the most proud of?

We are super proud of our history of supporting women and people of color as they start and grow small businesses. We believe that our communities are made stronger through entrepreneurship and our Small Business Development Center on the south side of Chicago is contributing positively to the economic development of the area.

YWCA Chicago also has a wonderful way of fundraising through the YSHOP, where a part of each purchase benefits YWCA Chicago. Do you have any favorite products or gift recommendations?

We started www.yshop.org three years ago as a way to support businesses who believe in our mission and also generate revenue to power our important work. We are currently obsessed with our very own YWCA Respect wines, a Rose and a Zinfandel, made by our partner Equality Vines, the first of its kind cause-based wine portfolio. We also recommend Brown Sugar Balloons for amazing balloons for all your upcoming events like weddings, birthday parties and graduations.

 

YWCA Chicago CEO Dorri McWhorter showing off her YWCA scarf!

Do you have any other insights, important events, or news that you’d like us to share?

In order for us to achieve our mission we must create change at both the systems and individual levels. YWCA Chicago is preparing women to fully participate in the marketplace and ensuring the marketplace is fully inclusive of women by partnering with business and government to influence policies that address gender and racial bias and promote healthier workplaces. We are excited about the upcoming launch of the Impact Shares YWCA Women’s Empowerment Exchange Traded Fund ($WOMN). WOMN will soon be available on the New York Stock Exchange and will include companies that align with the YWCA’s vision of how corporations can advance women’s empowerment and gender equality.

For more information about YWCA Metropolitan Chicago and their services, please contact them at 312-372-6600 or info@ywcachicago.org