Evanston/North Shore

General Facts About YWCA Evanston/North Shore

History: YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s roots stretch back to the 1930s. It started as a place that provided safe housing and support for young women coming to the city to work. Our programs and services have continually evolved to meet the changing needs of the communities we serve.

Primary location: 1215 Church Street, Evanston, Illinois. YWCA Evanston/North Shore also employs legal advocates located at the District Courthouse (in Skokie).

Staff: 73 employees (full and part-time)

Service Area: YWCA Evanston/North Shore serves more than 10,000 people annually in the following communities: Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Golf, Kenilworth, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northbrook, Northfield, Park Ridge, Skokie, Wilmette, Winnetka.

Budget: YWCA Evanston/North Shore has an annual budget of $4.5 million. Private giving accounts for the majority (61%) of YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s annual revenue. Government grants represent 15% of annual revenue. See our 2015 Annual Impact Report for more information.

Leadership: 18-21 women serve on the YWCA Evanston/North Shore Board of Directors. We also have a 19-member Advisory Council composed of men and women from the communities it serves.

President/CEO: Karen Singer. Singer was named CEO of YWCA Evanston/North Shore in 2005.

Mission: YWCA Evanston/North Shore is part of YWCA USA, Inc., whose mission is to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. YWCA USA is the 25th largest nonprofit organization in the country, with 230 independent associations supporting 2 million women and families nationwide.

Areas of Focus: YWCA Evanston/North Shore combines direct services, education, training, outreach, and advocacy to generate institutional change in support of this mission in three key areas:

  • health and safety for women and girls;
  • empowerment and economic advancement for women; and
  • racial justice and civil rights.

Domestic Violence Program: Started in 1983, YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s Domestic Violence Program is the only comprehensive domestic violence program in northeastern Cook County. Our continuum of services includes:

Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate: YWCA Evanston/North Shore presents the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate, an annual event held in Evanston in June. It draws more than 5,000 participants and raises more than $300,000 for YWCA’s racial justice programming. The first Race Against Hate was held in 2000. In 2006, YWCA Evanston/North Shore was granted sole stewardship of the Race Against Hate from The Byrdsong Family Foundation.

YWomen Leadership Awards: In 2008, YWCA Evanston/North Shore created the YWomen Leadership Awards to recognize women making an impact by working for women’s empowerment, racial justice and social change. The YWomen Leadership Awards dinner is held every October in Evanston.

Stand Against Racism: Since 2012, YWCA Evanston/North Shore has sponsored the local Stand Against Racism, an annual event held the last Friday in April that draws 10,000 participants. The Stand Against Racism encourages communities and community members to acknowledge racial inequity and work for change. 

Flying Fish Aquatics: YWCA Evanston/North Shore is home to Flying Fish Aquatics, a mission-based swim program which provides swimming lessons to more than 1,200 children per year, a swim team which includes nearly 600 members and is one of the largest swim teams in the state of Illinois, and aqua aerobics classes. The Flying Fish are partners in both Evanston Swims! and USA Swimming’s Make A Splash programs, efforts to make swimming more inclusive and to ensure that all children have the opportunity to learn to be safe in the water.

Partnerships: YWCA Evanston/North Shore has many major and ongoing community partnerships, among them the City of Evanston, Village of Skokie, Cradle to Career, Y.O.U., Evanston Swims!, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, North Shore Community Bank, Loyola University, Northwestern University, North Shore University Health System, and Lutheran General Hospital.

Awards: We have been recognized for our work by the Chessman, the NAACP, Family Focus, and Oakton Community College.


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