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YWCA was founded in 1855 in London by Emma Robarts and Mrs. Arthur Kinnaird. The YWCA is the oldest and largest multicultural women's organization in the world. It has contributed to women in a variety of ways and has played a key role in many of the major movements in the U.S. in race relations, labor union representation, and through developing and implementing empowerment programs for women. 

The YWCA Greater Flint has been serving the community since 1908.

Through the efforts of Ms. Nina Mills, the Flint YWCA was established to serve the needs of women and girls in the Flint community.

  • The YWCA opened its first location in the Oren Stone House located in Flint. Later, the property was purchased and the building was remodeled and expanded adding a gymnasium and cafeteria.

  • Classes and a Camping Club were offered for girls

  • The Industrial and Business Girl’s Organization began for the girls working in factories.

  • A Boarding Home for girls working in factories was established at the corner of Warren and Industrial Streets.

  • A new YWCA building was erected at the corner of First and Harrison Streets providing housing for 50 girls.

  • YWCA clubs were introduced to every elementary, junior and senior high school in the community.

  • Through a partnership with the churches, employment services and serving the needs of black girls in the community became the YWCA focus.

  • Due to fast growth, the Business and Industrial Girls Program was divided into two programs.

  • Camp Tyrone located near Fenton was established.

  • Keeping displaced workers busy during the depression with volunteer opportunities and classes became the YWCA’s focus.

  • Adult Programs were divided into four areas; industrial girls, business and professionals, younger business women’s group and the Negro Forum.

  • The Girl Reserve Program was reorganized. The Girl Scouts took over the elementary program while the YWCA continued the junior and high school program.

  • Membership grew to 1,028 members with increased interest in physical activity programs.

  • The YWCA began its first endowment.

  • Emphasis was placed on health education and recreation despite the increase in community programs being provided by other community organizations.

  • The popularity of activities and programs at Camp Tyrone required new development at the camp.

  • The YWCA became a popular meeting place for numerous community organizations including the Homemaker’s Club, Newcomer’s Club and Lensman’s Club.

  • Summer classes, teen groups and a Big Sister program were launched by the YWCA.

  • The Counseling Program was established to serve 1,400+ girls.

  • The YWCA actively engaged in advocacy by supporting women for public leadership positions on the Flint City Council and Flint Board of Education, petitioning for African-American teachers in public schools, and supporting fluoridation of the City of Flint’s water supply.

  • Membership grew to more than 5,800.

  • Mrs. Mabel Moore was elected as the first African-American woman Vice President of the YWCA board.

  • Funding efforts began to address the critical need for a new YWCA building to house women and girls and the numerous programs of the YWCA.

  • The new YWCA building was completed in 1968 on Third Street and emphasis was then placed on programs to serve women and children in the community including swimming, fitness and exercise programs.

  • New programs were developed to assist single parents and socialize deinstitutionalized psychiatric patients.

  • Racism dialogues were held and the YWCA became very active in promoting equality in housing, equal pay, opportunities and leadership for women.

  • Counseling for Domestic Violence victims become part of the YWCA services.

  • The YWCA Health Spa was opened providing services such as dry heat saunas, Swedish massages, whirlpool relaxation, facials and heat lamp treatments.

  • The Board took a stand for pro-choice at the National Convention in Dallas, the resolution read: “Our decision does not mean that we advocate abortion as the most desirable solution to the problem, but rather that one should have the right to make the decision.”

  • Directions 90, a $2.5 million major fundraising campaign, was started to address capital and endowment needs.

  • The Sexual Assault Crisis Center and the Every Woman’s Center merged and became SafeHouse for victims of domestic violence and the YWCA Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Services.

  • Century Club was started with 89 women.

  • Flint Women’s Forum was formed with the help of the YWCA and Mrs. Ruth Rawlings Mott.

  • The first Women of Achievement event was held recognizing three women as recipients of the Nina B Mills Award.

  • The Flint YWCA along with several other YWCA affiliates met to start a coalition to confront the National YWCA on the lack of local representation.

  • The Michigan YWCA affiliates crested a state group to help each other and to present a united front at the National level.

  • The YWCA begins exploring the possibility of selling the building because of the costs of maintaining it.

  • The YWCA developed a Racial Justice program which was the first in the country and trained people across the city, county and country.

  • The Young Women’s Advisory Council was established to involve young women in the future leadership of the YWCA

  • The Emergency Response Team (ERT) was established to provide 24 hour crisis services to domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. ERT staff collaborated with area Hospitals, Clinics and Law Enforcement Agencies to support survivors following a report of domestic violence and sexual assault.

  • In 2011, Nina’s Place opened to provide housing and supportive services for young women who were former foster care youth or without family support.

  • In partnership with the 68th District Court, the YWCA started a Victim Advocacy Program to serve victims of serious misdemeanor crimes in the city of Flint.

  • In 2017, the YWCA created the SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examination) Center at 801 Saginaw Street. 

  • In 2019, agreements with Hurley Medical Center and McLaren Flint allowed YWCA nurses (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) to conduct confidential rape kit examinations at each location.

  • The Genesee County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) was established (a multi-disciplinary group from local law enforcement, hospitals, service providers, and college campuses.)

  • The Vision 2020 Capacity Building Campaign was launched with a goal to raise $1 million dollars to establish the Women’s Empowerment Center (WEC) on the second floor.

  • In summer 2022, the Vision 2020 Campaign reached 89% of the $1 million dollar goal and renovations were completed.

  • The first Girls ASPIRE Leadership Program for 6th graders was launched. 

  • Workshops began: the “I Love You” Intentional Parenting series, financial literacy programs, and a 10-week leadership program for 7th grade girls at New Standard Academy in Flint.

  • Racial Justice Programs were developed and launched - Challenging Racism 101 and 102 and the Transformational Leadership Academy (TLA), a 6-week program for business and organizational leaders.

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