Our primary function is to fulfill the needs of our local community. YWCA Hawaiʻi Island services aim to draw together people with diverse experiences and relationships to meet those needs and attain our mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all people. We work to maintain the national YWCA’s goals and objectives as we serve our local audience.
The YWCA of Hawaiʻi Island first organized in Hilo in 1919 when a group of courageous women recognized the need for a women’s organization and for programs geared primarily towards women and girls. It was a very humble beginning, providing safe housing for 14 women in a small cottage. Since then, the YWCA has expanded substantially in both its facilities and activities. Over the years, the needs of women and their families have shaped the programs and services provided by the YWCA. Today, we remain an advocate for women and children, ready as ever to respond to the needs and desires of women as they make their place in the world.
The YWCA of Hawaiʻi Island was designated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1965. We are governed by a volunteer board of directors representing our membership. We are of all ages, of diverse ethnicity and occupations and accepting of any, all or no religious preferences. We are supported in our work toward equality for women by men who join the YWCA as no-voting associates. Affiliate membership is available to businesses, clubs, and organizations that support our mission.
The YWCA of Hawaiʻi Island has been a partner agency of the Hawaiʻi Island United Way (HIUW) since 1979 and receives partial funding for the developmental preschool. We are extremely grateful to all our funding sources and especially to our members who pay annual dues and program service fees for some of our activities. These funds further defray our costs but we look to our community for additional financial support.
The YWCA is an Equal Opportunity Employer.