a small start
In 1886, something extraordinary began when five women set out to find a home for Columbus’ first YWCA.
They found a 12-room house, and offered shelter to 25 young women who had recently moved to Columbus and were looking for a safe place to stay.
World War I brought more women to YWCA’s door—more than we had room for. Thanks to the generous donation of community member Mary Sessions, we soon had a facility with enough space for hundreds to gather.
In 1929, YWCA got what it had never had before: a permanent home in downtown Columbus, funded by Mary Griswold. Since then, the Center for Women has become a meeting place for thousands who have found opportunities to grow and make an impact in our community.
a big commitment
Over the last 130 years, YWCA Columbus has made incredible strides to eliminate racism and empower women in central Ohio.
In 1910, we founded the first public childcare program in Franklin County.
During World War I, we created a center for African-American women and girls, providing emergency housing and hostess houses for African-American troops.
In the 1940s and 1950s, we pushed to integrate racially segregated housing at YWCAs across the U.S.—modeling interracial partnerships and encouraging civil rights work.
Today, we touch the lives of more than 12,000 women and families through thoughtfully planned and critically needed programs that support and empower women of all kinds.