YWCA The Next 125: The pillars that hold us up

The Next 125: The Pillars That Hold Us Up

by Elecia Chrunik

The Pillars That Hold Us Up

When we embarked on the Next 125 campaign, our 125th anniversary was five years away. It was hard to imagine how the time would pass and what might happen along the way. Now, somehow, it’s just around the corner, and the world has changed in ways we still can’t believe. Despite it all, we remain focused on our goal to help build bright futures for women and families.  

During the lead up to this century-and-a-quarter milestone, the Next 125 has accomplished a lot through committed support from ambassadors and our community. We held intimate in person events at supporters’ homes called Salons (with no idea how special a privilege that was!), surpassed our original goal of $10M and set our sights on raising $12.5M.  

Though much has changed in ways we never expected during these last five years, the Next 125 continues to be upheld by three important pillars that embody our work: 

  • Helping women and families flourish   
  • Creating safe, inclusive communities   
  • Building brighter futures, for everyone 

With the end of the campaign now in sight, we’d like to take a look at what these pillars represent and the YWCA programs and services included in each. 

Helping Women and Families Flourish 

This pillar of the campaign provides single mother-led families with wrap-around programs and services that help them be better supported and more connected. These programs help build strong bonds between mothers and children, provide support during challenging legal proceedings and help families develop support networks with each other.  

YWCA programs supported include: 

Creating Safe and Inclusive Communities 

Ensuring people have access to safe, affordable housing remains one of the most important steps we can take toward gender equality. The Next 125 helped us recently open YWCA May Brown Place, a housing community in North Vancouver, and is supporting an exciting new project in Richmond. In partnership with Keltic Development, we are actively fundraising to build 27 new homes for women who are single mothers and their children, women aged 55+ and women who are leaving violence. 

The notion of community extends beyond housing – it also includes breaking bread, mentorship between generations and growing alongside new friends and chosen family.  

This pillar of the campaign focuses on all of the above, and the YWCA programs it supports are: 

Building Brighter Futures, for Everyone 

This pillar holds our long-term vision. Investing in youth is vital, as is ensuring that the organization has a stable financial foundation should something unexpected happen (again) that disrupts our best laid plans. The YWCA practices financial prudence and excellent planning, which has helped us weather the pandemic, as well as all of the storms of the last 124 years. But we don’t take this for granted. 

That’s why this pillar includes:  

We are so excited to see this campaign through to the end, though it will be bittersweet as many endings tend to be. We have been working with incredible ambassadors who have helped guide this campaign, and we have been honoured to receive a $4.25M gift from an anonymous donor. We are thankful to all campaign supporters who have joined this effort at a critical time.  

We believe in the capacity and resilience of women who are single mothers and their children and have seen what is accomplished when we place women and children at the centre of our work. Now, we get to envision what we can accomplish together over the next 125 years. 

We look forward to celebrating our anniversary and many more bright days ahead. 

To learn more about The Next 125 please contact Brenda Ulmer at bulmer@ywcavan.org | 604 895 5764.