The Next 125 Impact Report
"The Future need us now".
This was the call to our community in 2017, when The Next 125 fundraising campaign was launched.
The campaign set an ambitious goal, to raise $10M in five years to help support the YWCA’s work into the future. But the organization had 120 years of history on its side – in ground-breaking advocacy, innovative programs and an engaged, committed community propelling the work forward.
This campaign asked supporters to give generously, volunteer their time and learn about social issues, all in service of a vision of a bright future for everyone.
The collective force that answered the call went beyond what anyone imagined.
Before the world-altering impacts of the pandemic, this group of donors, volunteers and YWCA staff optimistically gathered in person to share ideas and build community. Later, those meetings shifted online to spotlight the YWCA’s advocacy priorities and to champion the organization’s dedicated frontline workers.
During this time, and through a collective effort, the YWCA’s Vision and Mission statements were updated to more fully align with the calls for racial justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Over the last five years, we have made, measurable progress in decolonization efforts, including changes to our internal structures, policies, programs and practices. We will also keep advocating for changes to our larger societal systems, because this work is necessary to make strides towards reconciliation.
I am very grateful to the 71 Next 125 leadership donors and many other supporters who contributed through special events and appeals, including the Diane Forsythe-Abbott Luncheon, Rock’ N the Park and A Tribute to Grace Tee. In total, this group of donors has contributed more than $13M to the campaign.
I thank each of you, with special recognition to the dedicated campaign Ambassadors who have committed their wisdom, funding and enthusiasm over the years. This group of leaders has driven and guided this milestone project.
I am joining the YWCA as CEO at the conclusion of this incredible campaign, and its success gives me great hope and inspiration for all that we can do next, working collectively to make a difference in the lives of women and families.
We invite you to read this report to reflect on the impact you made in our three campaign areas, and about the lives you touched.
You, our generous supporters, have created lasting change for generations to come. Thank you!
The Next 125 Vision and Community of Donors
In 2017, we conceived a campaign that would see significant philanthropic impact through contributions of $25,000 and above.
The Next 125 also focused on the YWCA’s purpose in the community. The organization exists to address gender inequity, in all its many forms. The campaign highlighted how systemic inequities impact women and children’s daily lives - from lack of safe, affordable housing, to food insecurity, to gender-based violence and unequal representation.
The Next 125 asked supporters how they approach social change. Donors responded with their commitment to support families in the Downtown Eastside, to build new homes for women and families and to help ensure access to justice.
The campaign brought clarity to the community needs we address. These issues were often made more complicated as the pandemic impacted women’s employment, entrenched racial inequities and worsened gender-based violence. Urgent needs for housing continue – as the housing crisis and sky-high prices persist across Metro Vancouver.
We believe in:
- Helping Women and Families Flourish
- Creating Safe, Inclusive Communities
- Building Brighter Futures, For Everyone
And, so do you!
A community of donors, some long-time supporters, others new, came together to support vital programs. Some contributed as individuals, through foundations, and through community events like Rock’ N the Park. Others made legacy gifts in their wills or pledged their support over five years.
We are so grateful for what this collective of supporters has accomplished.
Photo of volunteers at Crabtree Corner
Every community effort begins with people gathered around a table. This campaign was no different.
We are incredibly grateful to the seven women who volunteered their time to make The Next 125 the success that it is: Diana Chan, Diane Forsythe-Abbott, Lauren Gehlen, Ann Mortifee, Sandy So, Dr. Kim van der Woerd and Lis Welch.
Each Ambassador brought diverse perspectives and experiences, and collectively share a deep commitment to supporting women and children who are marginalized. They led the way in this campaign as we work to build a healthy, inclusive future for everyone.
“The value that stands out the most for me is the important work that the YWCA does for gender equality, truth and reconciliation and early childhood education. These are incredibly important for our future as a community and a country. The comprehensive approach used by the YWCA to break down barriers, creating systemic change and empowering women are critical to our future and the many generations to follow.”
Diane came upon YWCA Crabtree Corner one rainy night when she needed help with car trouble, and “just had to do something” to return the kindness she found there. A simple statement filled with determination and passion, Diane went on to organize an annual holiday luncheon for 25 years which contributed more than two million dollars to women and children.
“I respect the breadth and depth of the YWCA’s work to advance gender equality, as well as the organization’s record of financial sustainability. I feel honoured to play a small role in ensuring the organization maintains a strong foundation into the future.”
“For 125 years, the YWCA has offered hope, security and love to thousands of women. It has held the torch high for women’s rights through a century of inequality and marginalization. I am excited to be able to help in some small way to make the next 125 years even stronger.”
“I am impressed and inspired by the work done by YWCA, and feel humbled and privileged to be able to help. We all live in the community and it is important for us to give back to our community. It is truly a blessing to give, and help to make a difference in the lives of those in need.”
Dr. Kim van der Woerd
I am so impressed with how the YWCA delivers services and thinks deeply about making a difference. Personally, the work that they do that is most important to me is the work around reconciliation and amplifying the ongoing need to speak up and speak out on issues that continue to target Indigenous women and families.”
“Based on a multi-decade relationship with the YWCA Metro Vancouver, I can say that ongoing great aspects of the YWCA Metro Vancouver are its finger on the pulse of society, powerful leadership teams and an often visionary view. Thus, whatever are the issues facing future generations, the YWCA will have adapted and thus remain relevant and important”
We thank them for their trust in our work, their many hours of service and for championing the YWCA’s work in the community.
With large fundraising campaigns like these, it is exciting to celebrate the funds raised. And for good reason – the generosity that raised more than $13M deserves recognition.
We also want to think about and celebrate the people behind the programs. The women, children and families who connect with YWCA staff to move toward their goals and dreams.
Next 125 donors directed vital funding into the holistic programs offered at YWCA Crabtree Corner in the Downtown Eastside. Here women are building their financial literacy, families come by for breakfast, quality child care or programs that support people living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
Campaign supporters directly contributed to building 73 new homes in North Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby. These are safe, affordable homes where women and children can live free from violence and work toward their financial, education or career goals.
This work and this campaign do allow change to happen. We hear from YWCA staff about a mom finding community in a Single Mothers’ Support group; a woman feeling heard and safe when she talks to the YWCA staff lawyer; a grade 7 student learning about healthy relationships and resilience as they enter high school.
The incredible amount of funds committed through your generosity is remarkable, but, above all, what we would like to celebrate is the greater community to which we all belong, and the direct impact this campaign will have on the lives of so many. And, what change is yet to come.
Photo of YWCA program participants outside YWCA Cause We Care House
A core part of The Next 125 has been learning about social inequities the YWCA is working to address.
Over the five years of the campaign, supporters, guests and stakeholders came together. We engaged in dialogue on action, allyship and a belief in bright futures for women, children and families. Intimate Next 125 Salons had extraordinary speakers.
Ellen Woodsworth, Founder and Chair of Women Transforming Cities and Cleta Brown, retired lawyer and life-long advocate for women’s equality shared on the importance of representation of women in politics.
Mary Jo-Dionne, writer, speaker, performer and philanthropist talked about being raised by a single mother and the importance of giving generously.
Dr. Deepa Narayan, International Policy Advisor, author and social scientist, spoke about her experience in India and shared insights into the continued prevalence of gender-based violence.
The pandemic shifted events online. The Front Line In Focus series featured YWCA experts such as River Shannon, staff lawyer, who shared the importance of access to justice and the realities facing women in the legal system. Amy Juschka, YWCA Director of Communications and Advocacy spoke about the organization’s approach to advocacy. As we reflect on the expertise in our community, we are inspired.
We look forward to more opportunities to learn from one another.
Each family has a different set of needs that arise from their lived experiences and influence their hopes and dreams. Helping women and families flourish means providing the support that a single mother deems necessary so she can set and achieve goals for herself and her family. It also means addressing systemic barriers that some families face, while improving access to resources.
Programs that you support to help women and families flourish take place through Crabtree Corner Community Resource Centre and the Crabtree Corner Early Learning and Child Care Centre. Here, front line staff reach women and families through supportive housing, violence prevention and outreach, literacy programs and legal education.
It also includes single mother support services. Your support has been especially vital during the pandemic and has helped women get through the long and challenging periods of isolation and remain hopeful for the future.
I’ve contacted so many places and I couldn’t find any immediate help due to my complicated situations; however this program runs quickly and provided the support I needed immediately. Raising children alone is an everyday challenge so I really appreciate they took prompt action for me.
- Client, YWCA Legal Education Program
Many women accessing support services are not sure where to begin. What we have learned is that progress begins with community. Program participants have expressed how online connections have positively impacted their mental health, and have helped them learn new skills and stay focused on their goals.
Photo of a single mom with her child at a YWCA Housing Community
“Participating in the weekly single moms’ group made me realize that I was not the only woman struggling with parenting, financial, emotional and other personal issues. Listening and sharing stories of challenges, mixed feelings, loneliness, shame and guilt gave a different frame to the narrative playing in my head... Soon, I started noticing the resilience in each of these women, they all became heroes to my eyes, which made me aware of my own inner power and potential to achieve my dreams. For once, I DIDN’T FEEL LONELY, instead I felt connected, I felt a sense of belonging. I felt listened to and understood, I didn’t feel judged. I felt accepted exactly as I am.”
30 participants including moms, grandmothers and children took part in Books Bags and Babies, a culturally sensitive early literacy program that strengthens family bonds and fosters skills in reading and storytelling.
Creating safe and inclusive communities starts with having a place to call home. Affordable housing is integral to the well-being of families and Metro Vancouver communities, and we are proud of the progress we have made, with your help, in providing new housing opportunities for women and women-led families.
The YWCA’s housing continuum ranges from emergency stays at the YWCA Hotel, to second-stage transitional housing, to housing for women in recovery, to long-term, independent housing. As we look forward, we are excited about adding two more housing communities in Burnaby for single-mother led families who have experienced violence and are living on low and moderate incomes. Your generous contribution to The Next 125 campaign helps us meet the growing need for safe, affordable and inclusive housing communities and ensures that critical holistic programs and resources remain available.
Thanks to your generous donations to The Next 125 campaign, YWCA Pacific Spirit Terrace, YWCA May Brown Place, YWCA Moiz and Nadia Place and the new YWCA Grange Street have been added to our growing number of safe and affordable housing communities.
The recently completed YWCA Moiz and Nadia Place is our first housing community located in Richmond and a multi-generational model that includes dedicated units for single women who are aged 55+. Residents have full access to building amenities including a wellness centre, an early childhood development hub, an outdoor area and multi-purpose spaces in a vibrant neighbourhood. Residents can also connect with other YWCA programs such as legal education, child care, bursaries and employment programs.
YWCA Grange Street, our newest development, will extend YWCA housing into Burnaby. Scheduled to open in 2025, construction is now underway and we are looking for generous supporters to contribute donations for this development which will create 32 additional new homes for women and families.
Single moms and children made their home in one of 14 YWCA housing communities in 2021.
Our goal with building safe, inclusive and affordable housing is to provide women and single mother-led families the opportunity to invest more in their health and personal and economic independence.
Several years ago, Natalie* faced a situation that threatened her and her children’s safety. During this difficult time, she found support and shelter in YWCA transition housing, where the family could begin their healing journey. However, she always hoped to be able to return to her Metro Vancouver neighbourhood, where she had established support systems. With the housing crisis, Natalie knew the barriers she was up against in finding a permanent home in her previous home community. “Because of the high cost of living in these areas, it was never possible for me as a solo mom to be able to afford to stay in the neighbourhoods we had always known and loved.”
Moving into one of YWCA’s newest housing communities gave Natalie and her family the opportunity to return to the place where she had friends, family and support. She and her children now have a safe place to call home and renewed connections to her networks, including proximity to her children’s god-parents, grandparents and her faith community. “I can’t tell you how much this has helped and meant to our family.”
The housing community’s on-site resources and opportunities to build meaningful connections have become another source of support for Natalie. “One of the many benefits of YWCA housing is the chance to build community with other mothers and children and to access resources through the support staff.”
Natalie is especially grateful for the incredible difference this new home makes for her children and their shared future. “I never imagined I would be able to offer my children this type of life. When I watch them playing and laughing in their new home, it brings tears to my eyes because I know everything is going to be okay. And the beauty of our new building and our life here, allows me to imagine a beautiful future for my children, and for that, I can’t ever thank you enough.”
*name changed to protect identity
(Image on the left: Photo of a single mom with her child at a YWCA Housing Community)
In addition to places to call home, building safe and inclusive communities includes food security, safety from violence and opportunities to create a resilient community network.
Your support ensures that foundational needs are met through Crabtree Corner Community Resource Centre’s Community Kitchen, where staff and volunteers provide free, healthy and nutritious breakfasts and lunches to residents in the Downtown Eastside.
Your support to the Next 125 campaign also helps provide unique and inclusive programs like Circle of Sisters Indigenous Mentorship, which offers opportunities for self-identified Indigenous girls, Two-Spirit, non-binary and trans youth to connect to Indigenous community and culture with the help of self-identified Indigenous women, non-binary and trans adults and skilled facilitators. This safe space promotes individual and collective healing and growth.
nourishing meals were served through Crabtree Corner Food Programs to families in the Downtown Eastside in 2021.
Photo of lunches being prepared by YWCA Crabtree Corner staff
Yes, it’s definitely changed how I see my ancestry. The program brought a lot of positivity into my life. I just felt so like normal, and good. I definitely changed a lot of my perspective of how I saw myself, and my Indigenous ancestry. It was nice hearing other people’s stories, and so it felt like just more relatable.
- Mentee, Circle of Sisters Indigenous Mentorship Program
As we look towards the next 125 years, YWCA Metro Vancouver remains focused on building brighter futures, for everyone through investments in youth, our long-term financial stability and environmental sustainability.
Included in this campaign area are our youth programs Guide to High School and Strive; both programs provide essential supports for young people during critical life transitions. Also included are YWCA endowment funds that ensure the sustainability of our front-line services for women and children for years to come. Finally, our Rooftop Garden, a thriving ecosystem in the heart of downtown Vancouver, is the source of more than 1,500 pounds of fresh produce each year for YWCA food programs. It is a place for diverse community members to volunteer and connect with nature in an urban setting; a source of relief for vulnerable populations in the face of rising food costs; and the new home for sacred Indigenous plants to support healing and build cultural connections.
Thanks to The Next 125 supporters, YWCA Metro Vancouver can continue to help future generations build their own brilliant futures.
Gifts to endowment funds made it possible for YWCA to serve participants in 73 programs across 178 locations in-person and virtually.
For many students the transition from elementary school to high school is challenging and complicated. Concerns about changes in work load and school environment, different friends, new social pressures and increased responsibilities can make this time feel overwhelming. YWCA Guide to High School helps youth thrive as they enter a critical developmental juncture in their lives.
Guide to High School is a gender-inclusive after school program that supports youth to make healthy and positive social, emotional and educational transitions. It is delivered by YWCA staff and supported by volunteer high school mentors. Currently delivered virtually, Guide to High School serves students from schools across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, reaching an estimated 200 youth each term.
Photo of participants in YWCA’s Youth Education Program
Thanks to your generosity and incredible support, The Next 125 campaign is an unparalleled success with $13.6M raised, exceeding our $12.5M campaign goal!
Thank you for helping us to advance our campaign vision:
“We believe in the capacity and resilience of single mothers and their children. With collaboration, inclusion and reconciliation as our guides, together we can create a safe, healthy, vibrant future where all single mother-led families can thrive.”
Collectively, you made an enormous impact these past five years.
As we move forward, the YWCA is refocusing effort to ensure our work is grounded in equity, safety and inclusion. We will keep truth and reconciliation at the forefront and work towards systemic change as it relates to gender.
To reflect our commitment to this evolving work, we recently updated our mission and vision. We are excited about this change as we deepen our support for the community, while keeping our expertise in gender equity at the core of what we do.
Our 2023 Strategic Plan will be released soon, driven by our skilled Board of Directors and management team. We look forward to sharing this roadmap with you.
Beyond this, we know that we will continue to engage in conversations, support social change, advocate for a more equitable society and address emerging needs. We know, too, that we will continue building more safe, affordable housing.
We have achieved much during this campaign – we have built homes, created programs and supported people. We mark this year with gratitude and confidence, knowing that we have a strong foundation of support and expertise from you, our committed donor community.
Photo of participants in one of YWCA’s Housing Community
Heartfelt gratitude for your passion and generosity.