Together with YWCA USA and YWCAs across the country, YWCA Missoula is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The YWCA opens doors to opportunity and self-sufﬁciency for women and families facing poverty, violence and discrimination. With over 100 years of experience, the YWCA is the leading organization in Missoula for moving women and families out of crisis and empowering them to achieve lasting independence. The YWCA Missoula is a mighty force of roughly 50 paid staff, over 200 volunteers, members of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and AmeriCorps VISTA, and practicum and intern students. We depend on the individuals in this force to carry out the YWCA mission. In return, we will build leadership from within and promote leadership skills on all levels of the organization.
In 2011, YWCA Missoula celebrated 100 years responding to the emerging issues facing women in the community. It is through this rich history filled with compassion and dedication to families in Missoula that we are able to continue our mission eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all people in our community.
YWCA Historical Highlights:
YWCA Missoula was founded on April 5, 1911, as an agency whose purpose was working with high school girls. In 1927, the YWCA began providing services to women traveling across country by train in search of work. Throughout the 1930s and 40s, the YWCA created an employment program for women, offered life-skills classes, counseling, financial aid and food donations. In 1977, the YWCA’s domestic violence shelter opened, with transitional housing following in 1988. Sexual assault services were added in 1997. The YWCA implemented a supervised visitation and exchange center a few years later. In 2004, the organization started its social marketing campaign to spark dialogue, reflection and transformation around racism. In 2007, GUTS! came on board, and in 2009, the YWCA took on Missoula’s only Emergency Housing program for homeless families.
Read on for an in-depth history of YWCA Missoula.