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Letter from the CEO

For more than a century, YW Calgary, with your support, has given hope to vulnerable women in our community by providing programs and opportunities to help them re-gain control of their lives, become economically stable and live free from violence.

2017-2018 was another landmark year for us as we continued to rigorously improve service delivery. We undertook significant redevelopment of the curriculum for our counselling programs to ensure they better meet the needs of women and their families. We also transitioned our winter shelter program into an intensive case management program which provides immediate supports women need while helping them find and sustain housing year-round.

In the past year, more women than ever joined us to speak up and speak out for and with other women. We wrote about issues important to women in op-ed pieces in the Calgary Herald and Huffington Post as well as on our own blog. We also participated, along with 32 other sister agencies from across the country, in YWCA Day on the Hill in Ottawa. This empowering day brought us together in a singular ask of our Federal government – to direct 25 per cent of investment through the National Housing Strategy to projects for women and girls.

Throughout the year we continued gathering together with members from all over our community to support the programs and initiatives that better the lives of women in Calgary.

For the first time in its 12 year history, we invited women to participate in YW WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES®. More than 200 participants raised $190,000 to help break the cycle of domestic abuse. In November, close to 700 guests joined us at our seventh annual YWHISPER Fundraising Gala to hear keynote speaker Marcia Clark. And at our fifth annual CELEBRATE event, held in honour of International Women’s Day, YW once again raised our voices alongside multiple generations of women. This year’s event saw a record number of attendees (252) and raised more than $80,000 for our Women’s Employment Resource Centre.

2017-2018 also saw the launch of YW’s She Who Dares project. This unique interactive installation, our contribution to Canada’s 150th Birthday, told the stories of women’s impact on Calgary over 150+ years. YW was thrilled to gather with 200 guests at our launch event, where we proudly honoured women’s legacies and triumphs.

My deepest appreciation to the YW team that makes our successes real. Each and every year, they surpass expectations in the face of challenge and uncertainty, and remain focused and dedicated to the women we’re here to support. It’s truly an honour to work alongside all of you as we “intervene, empower and lead, when and where women need us most”.

Sincerely,

Sue Tomney, Chief Executive Officer, YW Calgary

How did this happen to me?

The journey into homelessness isn’t straight and narrow, it doesn’t happen because of one event or one decision. It is a journey of twists and turns where you’re often left just trying to survive.

Katherine discovered this for herself. She found herself without a home and only a suitcase to her name after leaving a long-term abusive relationship.

She spent her days looking for resources and support, but every turn Katherine made seemed to lead to a dead end. She was quickly losing hope, with nowhere to go and no one to turn to. Eventually Katherine found herself at the doors of YW Calgary looking for a place to call home.

It was through YW Mary Dover House transitional housing that Katherine began to find hope. She found a safe place to keep her things, a door she could close at night and a place she could begin to heal.

Your generous support of YW helps make bright futures for women like Katherine possible.

Where would we be safe?

Ashley used to wonder why people didn’t understand why she couldn’t just leave, it was never as simple as packing a bag, getting into the car and driving away. She had children, had a home and felt that there were others who needed support more. She knew she wasn’t safe, but she wasn’t ready toleave.

Ashley had grown up in a challenging home and promised herself that she wasn’t going to make her children go through that too. It wasn’t until she noticed her children acting out and fighting that she knew she needed support.

Ashley called YW’s crisis line, at first just wanting to learn more. Knowing that she didn’t want to leave, Ashley was connected to YW’s Outreach Supports, where she found some much needed help. Her case coordinator helped Ashley understand the level of danger she was in and offered tools to help Ashley create a safer home.

With your generous support, women like Ashley can access the services they need to help break the cycles of abuse.

“At Jupiter we recognize that the sustainability of our business and our communities are intertwined. We are committed to helping build strong, safe communities that we are proud to live in and be engaged neighbors. We seek and invest in long-term partnerships with organizations that are making a difference. And the YW is clearly making a positive impact.”

- Chad Holowatuk, Jupiter Resources

Financials 2017-18

The YW’s Capital fund grew by $4.2 million dollars in 2017-2018.

Board Committees

YW is proud to have strong levels of governance guiding the organization forward. Our committees ensure YW remains an efficient and effective organization leading the way in non-profit management.

Our Board

Our Board of Directors is responsible for guiding YW as we fulfill our mission to intervene, empower and lead when and where women need us most.

Thank you to this exceptional group of women who volunteer their time, talent and expertise to ensure a well-governed and well-led organization.

Rebecca Morley -Chair

Kate Thompson -Vice-chair

Kate Fischer -Secretary

Elaine Wong -Treasurer

Amie Blanchette -Board Member

Jasdeep Dhaliwal -Board Member

Penny Favel -Board Member

Nancy Foster -Board Member

Jacqui McGillivray -Board Member

Lara Murphy -Board Member

Georgine Ulmer -Board Member

Shannon Young -Board Member

Letter from the Board Chair

The 2017-18 year was my last as YW Board Chair, after previously serving four years as a YW board member. It is with great pride and a bit of sadness as my tenure comes to a close that I reflect on the last six years of change and success for our board, leadership and team members.

YW’s Hub facility project in Inglewood has continued to move forward with great energy and became a visible reality in the fall of 2017 as construction began. I was thrilled to share the podium with Government of Alberta and City of Calgary representatives in March to announce significant funds received for this project that will soon house 100 women along with a continuum of programs and services. This funding is vital to our success and underscores how important strong partnerships are to our efforts. The building, as one of my colleagues on the board often says, “only keeps the rain off the work we do with women.”

The new facility has been a project close to my heart, as I’ve been involved from the beginning with the YW Transformation Plan when considerations were just beginning regarding the sale of YW’s downtown site. Seeing our dreams become plans, and our plans become reality, has been truly fulfilling. As I exit my role as board chair, I’m excited to watch from my seat as a community member when the new YW Hub facility opens its doors in 2019 to provide spaces that empower women through safe, transitional housing options; employment and language resources; support for newcomers to Canada; childcare, child-minding, parenting and counselling programs.

During my time on the YW board, I’ve worked with colleagues I deeply admire. They’ve done great work strengthening the governance of this organization and continuing the legacy of a century-old organization that is expertly led and operated by women. We can count among our proudest achievements the construction of a thoughtfully built facility designed by architects who are women with an eye to the needs of vulnerable women we have yet to meet.

I am honoured to celebrate three long standing YW board members. The legacies of Kate Fischer (2012 to 2018), Nancy Foster (2012 to 2018), and Georgine Ulmer (2011 to 2018), will support YW well into the organization’s future. Thank you to all my board colleagues for your dedication, your passion and your commitment to vulnerable women and their families in our community.

As I pass the baton to the incoming Board Chair, I know the YW will continue to act as a beacon and champion for the women in our community. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next century of advocacy — women leading and supporting other women — can achieve.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Morley, YW Board Chair

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