How Did the Portland YWCA Enhance the Lives of Women, 1901-2000?

The Portland YWCA Today

       The YWCA of Greater Portland is a member of the YWCA of the USA, a membership organization of over two million women. Globally, the YWCA is active in over 100 countries around the world and unites over 20 million women and children. The YWCA is the world's largest women's membership organization.

       Entering its second century of service to the Portland area community, the YWCA holds a leadership position as a voice for progressive change and the well-being of women, their families, and the under privileged. The YWCA of Greater Portland continues to grow as a forward thinking and egalitarian women's service organization, advocating for social justice and seeking ways to empower women, children, and families to build healthy lives. This passion for a better world is well expressed in their mission statement, adopted in the 1980s:

The YWCA of Greater Portland strives to create opportunities for growth, leadership and power for women, children, and families to attain a common vision of peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all people.


Yolanda House Shelter
Yolanda Playground

Numerous YWCA programs bring this mission to life for thousands of people, every day, across the city and state:

       Camp Westwind is the YWCA's beautiful 500-acre historic camp on the Oregon Coast. Since 1937, the camp has offered young people and adults a multitude of activities that promote a love of nature, tolerance, self-esteem, teamwork, and equality in everyday life.

       Yolanda House has been the YWCA's shelter for victims of domestic violence since 1998, serving resident needs for food, housing, counseling, medical care, referrals and crisis intervention.



SafeHaven Shelter
Senior Services

       SafeHaven Shelter, also begun in 1998, is the first and only 24-hour emergency homeless shelter in the city.

       Senior Services Programs offer over 14,000 older adults in Portland--more than any other Multnomah County provider--the resources for health, independence, and dignity.

       TOP --Transitional Opportunities Project--is a residential program at the downtown center offering counseling, job support, and education to women in transition from federal and county incarceration back into community life.

       In 2002-2003, the YWCA is completely renovating its downtown center at Southwest Tenth and Main Avenues. The new building will feature a refurbished health and fitness facility, office space, and a community center for seniors and others, including a Loaves and Fishes meal site, a new counseling center, and transitional housing. In so doing, the organization anticipates another successful century of service in the interest of social justice and community betterment.


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