aspire i think
i give i cry
i love i build
believe i teach
How do you nurture a dream? How do you reach a goal? How does what seems
impossible become possible? It doesn’t happen alone. At YWCA Metropolitan
Chicago, we know women thrive when they are supported, and when they have
the resources they need. We know that when a girl believes in herself, she is
empowered to dream big. And we know every woman deserves the opportunity to
realize her own success. The YWCA has designed a way for women and girls to
discover their potential and achieve their dreams—the Model YWCA. It represents
a fresh, new approach to social service provision; one that is responsive to the
city’s changing demographics, and one that takes a proactive, holistic approach to
changing the landscape for women in low-income communities. Five new, “model”
YWCA centers across the Chicago metropolitan area will offer cutting-edge
programs in economic empowerment and racial justice and activism. Each center
will also provide the YWCA’s existing flagship programs—comprehensive sexual
violence and support services and early childhood services. In these welcoming
environments, women and girls will have the resources and encouragement
they need to create opportunities for themselves, their families and in turn, their
communities. Aspire. Believe. Thrive. The Campaign for the Model YWCA
is our commitment to women and girls throughout the Chicago region. It is our
investment in the aspirations of the women who walk through our doors and our
investment in a girl’s belief that she can succeed. Now we ask for your investment
in helping these women and girls thrive.
to be a mother and a scientist
“The YWCA is a place of stability, a The path to success involves more than just getting
second home to me. They give me or keeping a job. It’s finding the right job—along
with reliable child care, dependable transportation
guidance and get me on the right and affordable health care. Getting on the “right
track. They are always sticking by track” also requires a financial safety net—
my side and motivating me to do well something to fall back on when times get rough.
and accomplish my goals.” The YWCA’s model approach is holistic, to cover
the full range of women’s needs. And because
Fendi, 19 every woman’s path is different, we customize an
Fendi’s goals include advanced education and a individual plan for success so each woman can
career as a phlebotomist—and becoming a teen achieve her goals.
mother was not going to stop her from pursuing
my voice can make a difference
“I believe I am making a positive, An individual woman may be empowered when
lasting impact on the lives of those she is financially independent, running her own
small business or comfortably able to support
around me. No matter how tired I her family. But, from neighborhood organizing, to
am at the end of the day, I know I lobbying for worker’s rights and racial justice, we
made—small or large—a difference believe nothing is more empowering than when
women come together to raise a collective voice.
in someone’s life.” With community meeting space, model YWCA
Maria, 33 centers are designed to encourage women’s
Maria runs one of the largest home-based child
care businesses in the YWCA’s West Side provider
network—but her desire to make a difference didn’t
stop there. To share knowledge and resources, she
founded a coalition of Spanish-speaking child care
providers that now spans two counties.
my family thrives; my community prospers
“I knew I could do better. I knew I Once a woman’s dreams are within reach, she
could have my own business and starts to think about how to give back. Can she
mentor a young woman in her workplace? Is there
still work with children and do what I a girl in her family who could use extra support
love. All it took was belief in myself to to make it through those difficult teen years? Can
know that I had the strength, even if she advocate with her neighbors to make her
people told me, ‘You can’t do that!’”
Model YWCA centers thrive on networks of women
Dianira, 39 engaged in volunteering, mentoring and advocating
Dianira took a leap of faith seven years ago with other women and girls.
when she started her own business—now she
is a successful entrepreneur who mentors other
women with similar goals. “It makes me feel
blessed, lucky and fortunate to work with the
YWCA because I know there will always be people
there to support me.”
The face of the Model YWCA
For families facing every parent’s The metropolitan Chicago YWCA began in 1876,
worst nightmare, Scheherazade in one woman’s living room—where she and 12
other women gathered to address the needs of
Tillet is a beacon of safety and hope. thousands of rural women flooding the city in
As a YWCA art therapist, she helps search of work. Today the YWCA still operates
child sexual assault victims recover a under this model—staff and volunteers working
together and within larger communities to support
sense of strength and courage. women at every stage of their lives.
But she doesn’t stop there. Scheherazade has
begun a small movement of her own—working with
her sister to lead workshops on body image and
trauma, and by creating and directing a multimedia
performance to raise awareness in hopes of
ending sexual violence.
10 | aspire. believe. thrive. the campaign for the model ywca
A life-changing place
The new Model YWCA centers will be significantly different from most social service agencies,
not just in the scope of programs offered, but also in the way service is delivered and the way it
feels to be a member. Each center is designed to be highly visible in the community, with a street-
front, ground-level presence, including prominent signage and YWCA branding. Centers will be
bright and new, clean and inviting. It’s a place you choose to come to, a place of power, strength
and sisterhood. Women want to visit their local YWCA because it makes them feel welcomed,
embraced and valued.
Façade Each Model YWCA center’s façade is inviting
and distinctive, designed to be highly visible in the
community, with a street-level presence. Even walking
by, a young woman knows this is a place where she
can change her life.
Welcome Center When a woman walks through our
doors, she is greeted by a Client Relations Specialist
and immediately connected with the resources and
information she needs. She starts to envision a
path that will lead to emotional strength, financial
independence and professional success.
Empowerment Center When a woman joins the
Economic Empowerment program, a YWCA
Empowerment Coach works one-on-one with her to
develop an individualized plan. Together, they work
long-term to follow that plan to achieve her individual
work, financial and life goals.
Community Technology Center Technology skills are
essential in today’s workplace, and can often give a
woman the competitive edge she needs to advance.
A state-of-the-art technology center offers a range of
classes from computer basics to Microsoft certification,
as well as access to the YWCA’s custom suite of online
resources and a personal e-mail address.
Model YWCA locations
■ Number of new ■ Communities served ■ Target completion date ■ Member demographics
YWCA centers Greater Grand Women
Crossing Ages 18 to 40
5 West Side
West Suburbs (2)
2010 Earning between
$30,000 per year
Children’s Room For single mothers, difficulty finding
child care is often a primary barrier to accessing
services. The YWCA is dedicated to putting supports
in place, like on-site child care, that will allow women to
achieve their goals.
Center Against Sexual Violence As the largest provider
of comprehensive sexual assault services in Illinois, the
YWCA will continue to provide caring, nonjudgmental
crisis support, counseling and advocacy services to
help women reach a place of healing and strength.
Community Training Center The YWCA was pioneered
by activists, and we have stood at the forefront of
human rights movements throughout our history. Today,
through our Center for Racial Justice and Activism, we
are training, organizing and nurturing a new generation
of advocates and providing meeting space for our
members, as well as the larger community.
Café At the community café, clients, visitors and
staff can enjoy refreshments and prepare food for
community gatherings. Each café is a shared, casual
place for clients and staff to network and
12 | aspire. believe. thrive. the campaign for the model ywca
Aspire. Believe. Thrive.
The words are simple, but the path to women’s needs. The Center for Racial
achieving them is multifaceted, winding Justice and Activism works locally to
and long. It requires overcoming barriers, eliminate racism and sexism. And
like sexual violence, racism and sexism. for those services we don’t directly
It involves the determination to define provide, a community of collaborators
one’s goals, set a plan in motion to is in place to ensure uninterrupted,
accomplish them, and work hard until continuous support.
they are within reach.
The results are life changing, and not
The YWCA believes women who aspire just for the women and girls we serve.
for more can find everything they need When a woman thrives, her family,
to succeed through our new Model neighborhood and community benefit.
YWCA centers and innovative new She’s in a position to give back, to help
programs. Our approach is long term, another woman begin her own journey.
comprehensive and specifically designed She can focus on finding her own voice
to provide what women themselves have and use it to improve conditions for
said they need. herself and on behalf of her sisters. She
sets an example for others, so they can
A holistic approach and a new economic
aspire to achieve, as she has.
empowerment program establish
work, financial and life supports at key This is the Model YWCA: a place
moments in a woman’s journey toward where women can overcome barriers
independence. Critical programs in early and survive crisis, reach individual
childhood services and sexual violence independence and success, and
and support services strengthen our dramatically impact the economic and
ability to respond to the full range of social viability of an entire community.
14 | aspire. believe. thrive. the campaign for the model ywca
Defining “the model”
■ A service model that ■ An architectural model ■ A model of success ■ A replicable business
integrates all of our of bright and welcoming for women to achieve model for other YWCAs
programs to provide neighborhood centers economic security and and social service
more comprehensive stability, strengthening organizations
support for women their families and throughout the country
and girls communities
“Our new model will allow us to have a greater impact on
women and girls for the long haul. The new centers are
street-level, easily accessible and in greater Chicago’s under-
resourced communities. We are giving women the tools they
need to become economically secure, and in turn, share their
newfound strength with others in their communities.”
Laura Thrall, CEO, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago
A campaign that lives its values
In 2007, the YWCA Board of Directors best achieved when government and
unanimously approved a transformational private citizens work in partnership
campaign to better serve the women to build support around important
and girls of a metropolis that is itself community development programs. And
transforming. Aspire. Believe. Thrive. we have created a unique, investment-
The Campaign for the Model YWCA will style Venture Philanthropy Fund to
raise $6.5 million to build five new YWCA demonstrate how individual investors
centers in critical-need areas of the can change the landscape for low-
Chicago region. Each center will offer a income women, by supporting one
full suite of YWCA programs, including woman at a time.
the new programs offered through
Our plan is aggressive and the cost is
Economic Empowerment and the Center
high, but we are committed to meeting
for Racial Justice and Activism.
the needs of women and girls in the
Aspire. Believe. Thrive. The Campaign Chicago region. Just as we recognize
for the Model YWCA is the result of that when a woman joins the YWCA,
careful planning, aggressive goal she brings with her a personal story
setting and the visionary contributions unlike any other, our campaign is
of our staff and volunteer leadership. structured to find a place for everyone
We believe that community growth is to contribute to this important work.
Campaign Total: $6,500,000
Construction and Capital $4,390,000
Economic Empowerment Services and Center for Racial Justice & Activism* $2,110,000
*Supports start-up costs and first-year operation of new programs at each center.
Measuring your contribution
■ Your investment in ■ A gift of $1,000 ■ $15,000 will support ■ Capital gifts of $25,000
women and girls can provides 10 sessions of a woman through the or more support an
change lives at every economic empowerment entire two-year entire community of
level of giving coaching or sexual economic empowerment women and girls
violence counseling to coaching program through the
a woman who seeks to construction of new
change her life Model YWCA centers
“We are pleased to be able to honor our mothers by
supporting this center, in the hope that the women who enter
here will receive the care, encouragement and skills that will
enable them to pursue their own dreams to make a better
life for themselves.”
Cheryl Parks Francis and Zed Francis, III, donors
Inspired philanthropy: honoring our mothers
Cheryl and Zed’s investment will carry
women through an entire continuum of
economic empowerment—from finding
and keeping a job, to advancing on a
career path, pursuing higher education,
and achieving home ownership or asset
development. Laura Parks’ personal
motto, “When opportunity knocks, open
Laura Parks Mildred Francis the door!” will certainly come to life as
women walk through the doors of the
Our mothers’ and grandmothers’ YWCA and into our new centers.
YWCA was radical, progressive, and
forceful in its advocacy for women’s We invite you to become a part
rights and racial justice, often far ahead of a new generation committed to
of its time. The women who founded eliminating racism and empowering
this movement were very much like women. Whether you choose to support
Laura Parks and Mildred Francis—two a program’s launch or a building’s
strong women who survived the Great construction, you are making an
Depression, contributed to the war effort, investment in women, their families and
built successful careers and raised our communities. To learn more, please
thriving families. visit us at www.modelywca.org.
In celebration of these women, Laura
and Mildred’s children, Cheryl and Zed
Francis, have provided a leadership gift
to create the first Model YWCA center
on Chicago’s South Side, the YWCA
Metropolitan Chicago Laura Parks and
Mildred Francis Center.
16 | aspire. believe. thrive. the campaign for the model ywca
The words “aspire”, “believe”, and “thrive” together create an equation of deceptive
simplicity. For many, envisioning a goal, creating a plan, and realizing success seem
as regular as setting an alarm and getting up every day.
But across the Chicago region, many women lack the resources and support networks
they need to thrive. They may have big dreams, but lack the plan, the coaching, and the
training to advance in a career and build sustaining family assets. They may also be
survivors of sexual or domestic abuse or face racial or cultural barriers to success.
Aspire. Believe. Thrive. The Campaign for the Model YWCA is our vision for an
organization that will better meet the needs of women in the 21st century. It is our
belief that when women thrive, our region becomes economically stronger and more
While we are adding exciting new programs and changing many of the ways we
provide them, our mission to eliminate racism and empower women remains at the
core of all we do. Staff cross-training, holistic services and new technology will help us
leverage our sexual violence and early childhood expertise across all Model YWCA
centers. New programs in economic empowerment and racial justice and activism
will reinforce our ability to respond to the full range of women’s needs. Finally, careful
management and strong financial performance have set the stage for a solid financial
position and hopeful future.
Whether you have been a friend and supporter of the YWCA since the civil rights and
women’s movements or are joining us for the first time, we invite you to believe in our
aspirations for a Chicago region where all women thrive. With your support, we will
continue to promote women’s economic empowerment, advocate for racial justice,
and create stronger, more vibrant Chicago communities.
We invite you to join us.
JoAnn S. Lilek Renetta E. McCann Laura S. Thrall
Board President Campaign Chair Chief Executive Officer
We welcome your involvement in
Aspire. Believe. Thrive.
The Campaign for the Model YWCA.
Please send questions,
comments and inquiries to
or call 312.762.2768.
Concept, design and art direction: Birkdesign Inc.
Photography: Lindsay Gallup
360 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 800
Chicago, IL 60601
T: 312.762.2768 F: 312.372.4673