2020 Annual Report

Letter from YWCA Madison’s CEO

Annual Reports are meant to give stakeholders and friends a snapshot of the year that just occurred. As I sit down and think about the year, 2020, it’s hard to even know where to begin. In this report, you will see numbers and charts. And while this will demonstrate the vast impact of YWCA Madison, it won’t show you the depth of each act of service, of each person housed, or the power of a restorative justice circle. It won’t show you the power of attending our Racial Justice Summit or the simple act of sewing 100 masks for residents. I am proud of just how broad YWCA Madison’s impact is, but also how deep. 

Our mission is eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. 2020 not only called on us to broaden the movement that our agency is a part of, but it also called on us to turn inward and care for each other as individuals needing added safety and support. We struggled together, we rejoiced together, we pivoted, but we kept our doors open and our programs going. Some of us worked virtually, some of us were on the frontlines, some of us did both. We were all united in YWCA Madison’s shared values of community, humanity, growth, and restoration.

To distill 2020 down into a report, well, it is difficult to do. Nonetheless, I ask you to please take a moment to see our impact. But know that the stories, the people, the belief in humanity…that’s what drives us. We know that’s what drives you, our supporters, volunteers, participants, donors, program partners. Thank you for standing with us.


Vanessa McDowell, CEO


Program Area Snapshots

To fulfill our mission, YWCA Madison:

  • Advances race & gender equity to create a more inclusive community.
  • Helps people improve their financial situations through employment & transportation.
  • Supports women and families in housing & shelter.
  • Offers school and community restorative justice programming.

Race and Gender Equity at a Glance

YWCA Madison’s Race & Gender Equity programs support people and organizations to interrupt institutionalized racism and sexism while developing knowledge and skills to center, deepen and broaden equity and belonging in their personal, professional, and organizational practices. For 20 years, the Race and Gender Equity department at YWCA Madison creates opportunities for deep racial justice learning and unlearning, as well as offers collaborative consulting services for transformative change that centers, deepens and broadens racial justice, equity and belonging within organizational systems and culture.

Employment & Transportation at a Glance

YWCA Madison improves the economic wealth of individual families and our community. Economic empowerment speaks to an individual’s ability to make strategic choices, improve ones economic situation, and alter existing power structures that create barriers to economic justice. Economic empowerment is more than simply having a job. Our goal is to create economic justice that equals equity and fairness. YWCA Madison achieves these goals by providing employment and training programs and safe transportation solutions.

Housing & Shelter at a Glance

Everyone needs a place to call home—a safe haven and shelter from the storm, a place to settle and be nurtured. YWCA Madison has designed several services that address this need and help women and their families find stability in a supportive and caring environment. Through internal programs (located at 101 E. Mifflin Street) and external programs (throughout the Greater Madison area), YWCA Madison is a leader in housing and supporting families as they navigate their journey towards stable housing.

Restorative Justice at a Glance

YWCA Madison’s Restorative Justice Programming takes a healing centered approach, rather than a punitive one. Through direct services, consultation and coaching, and curated Restorative Justice education experiences, our team cultivates anti racist, abolitionist, decolonizing healing spaces for young people, school staff, parents/families, and the community. YWCA Madison’s Restorative Justice team maintains an acute focus on the experiences and needs of Black, Indigenous, and youth of color and young people with other marginalized identities as they navigate and are impacted by systems of oppression and racism in schools and the community. We utilize the practice of circle keeping to build relationships and community, to respond to harm/conflict, and cultivate collective care in shared values. Our team coordinates Restorative Justice implementation in several middle schools and receives referrals from Madison Police to reconcile conflicts and harm caused to and by young people without the use of courts, punishment, and other exclusionary practices that function to replicate and reinforce harm and generally leads to more conflict.

Lists of 2020 Supporters