YWCA Metropolitan Chicago


  • What sets the organization apart:

    While many organizations provide direct services to individuals and families, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is well positioned to help address all areas of critical need because of our comprehensive service portfolio. It was for this reason and demonstrated competency that we were recently awarded a FamilyWorks contract for service area 1 from Chicago Housing Authority. As a FamilyWorks administrator we are responsible for assessing the needs of resident families and providing relevant support and resources. YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is also unique in that we have been embedded in various communities for decades, which allows us to thoroughly understand community assets, challenges, and key stakeholders. Because of this longstanding presence in communities like Woodlawn, South Shore, Englewood, the western suburbs and the south suburbs, we are a trusted resource for our constituents. While YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is particularly focused on the communities where our 14 centers are located, we also serve constituents from across a 1,800 square mile radius region.

  • Mission Statement

    YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. We share a vision for an inclusive marketplace where everyone thrives.

  • Execution summary of the impact of the organization’s work in 2019

    "As we continue on our transformational journey of becoming a 21st century social enterprise, we’ve remained committed to expanding and enhancing our programming around three empowerment priorities: Safety & Wellness, Education and Training, and Economic Sustainability. Some of the notable highlights for calendar year 2019 include: • The completion of our expansion and build-out of our YWCA Parks-Francis Center at 6600 Cottage Grove. The YWCA acquired an additional 1,700 square feet of space adjacent to our existing Parks-Francis Center, bringing our total footprint to 9,800 square feet. As Woodlawn and the surrounding neighborhoods experience investment through the arrival of the Obama Presidential Center, the YWCA wants to ensure that all community members are prepared to participate in available and upcoming opportunities. This expansion allows us to meet the increased demands for crisis and trauma intervention, training, education, and support. • The YWCA’s Economic Empowerment Institute received a grant through The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership to implement and deliver a career pathway training for young adults (ages 18-24). The program prepares them for careers in the Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics sectors. The first cohort finished their training at the Parks-Francis center in June of 2019. • In March we led our 6th cohort of CONSTRUCT, a construction and utility career pathway program in partnership with ComEd, People’s Gas, and 30 additional companies. To date, the YWCA has prepared a total of 81 adults through five different cohorts, and is now the lead social service partner in this collaboration. • YWCA Metropolitan Chicago received $75,000 of funding through Forefront to lead a comprehensive outreach and engagement effort around the 2020 Census. Our project includes four additional Illinois YWCAs (Elgin, Kankakee, McClean County, and Sauk Valley) and aims to increase the census response rate in hard-to-count communities and populations. We were also selected to be a Regional Intermediary for Census 2020 by the state of Illinois Department of Human Services. We will be part of a city-wide effort among eight additional organizations in order to facilitate a complete count of the city of Chicago in the 2020 Census. • The YWCA hosted our first annual Girls Education Conference, which brought together speakers from WagiLabs, the National Afterschool Association, Erikson Institute, Teach for All, Primrose Schools and the Women’s Global Education Project. The half-day summit explored early learning innovations, expanding youth education experiences, the importance of mentorship, and the economic impact of investing in girls’ education. The second annual conference is already scheduled for June of 2020. • We developed plans for 2020 to open new centers and relocate some current centers, in order to reach communities most in need of our services. Plans include the establishment of a new center in Roseland, and moving our RISE center to the Illinois Medical District. We will also move our south suburban Chicago Heights center to Matteson."

  • Established/Founding Date

    December 12, 1876

  • Organization’s History

    YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is the oldest women-focused social service organization in Chicago. It was formed by 13 women who met on December 12, 1876, to address their concerns for the growing number of single women who were coming to Chicago for work during the boom years after the great Chicago fire. From its earliest days, the YWCA focused on the total needs of women and families, particularly in the areas of employment, health, and housing. YWCA women became leaders in social legislation that related to the needs of women and girls, such as child labor laws. Women learned trades at the YWCA, such as the “ever-popular” millinery classes held at the YWCA Indiana Branch, 3541 Indiana Ave., in the 1920s. The YWCA first extended services to young black women in 1915. In contrast to the world around it, the YWCA racially integrated its services and board of directors in the 1940s. The Chicago Mayor’s Commission on Human Relations presented the YWCA with its “Award on Human Relations” in 1946, acknowledging that its “interracially constituted board and committees have made its residence halls, swimming pools and general services available to all the young women of Chicago and whose forthright stand has influenced the nationwide policies of this great social institution.” In 1972, the YWCA Leader Luncheon pioneered the concept of public recognition for working women’s achievements. The YWCA Leader Luncheon remains a Chicago tradition, drawing more than 1,300 representatives from the corporate, private and social service sectors to celebrate the accomplishments of outstanding women and raising more than half a million dollars for YWCA programs and services. Today, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is a leading association among a national network of more than 200 YWCAs. We impact tens of thousands of women and families annually through comprehensive human services provided across the region, including at 14 locations embedded in the community. YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is a leading service provider in the areas of sexual violence support services, early childhood and child care provider services, family support services, youth STEM programming, and economic empowerment services. Located in the third-largest American city with the third-highest percentage of women in the U.S., YWCA Metropolitan Chicago serves as a national incubator for innovative programming, outreach and engagement strategies. Contributing to our diverse and balanced economy, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is working at the individual and systems levels to create an inclusive marketplace where everyone thrives. The organization is also an active member of many national, state, county and city-level coalitions, representing the interests of and advocating for policies that positively affect women and families.

  • CEO/Executive Director

    Dorri McWhorter

  • Size of Organization’s Staff


  • Diversity of Staff

    More than 50%

  • Current Operating Budget


  • Education Level of Primary Target Population

    No HS Diploma, High School Diploma/GED, Some College, No Degree, College Grad


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