The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.
Participation in mission-driven advocacy efforts is a standard of affiliation with the YWCA USA. The YWCA both delivers direct social services and advocates for just and equitable public policies that will help change conditions that give rise to the need for those services. The YWCA core advocacy issues reflect our mission and the values of our organization. Our core advocacy issues are:
As a nonprofit organization, the YWCA works to influence public policies and priorities on matters related to its mission, core advocacy issues, the best interests of its members and participants, and the best interests of the nonprofit sector and the community as a whole. The purpose of the following policies is to provide a framework for action by the YWCA in the area of advocacy.
- Elimination of Racism
- Affirmative Action
- Hate Crimes
- Violence Against Women
- Increasing Women's Income
- Welfare Reform
- Early Childhood Education
YWCA advocacy is based on priorities that are grounded in its mission of empowering women and girls and eliminating racism. The following priorities will focus and guide our work.
- To protect and improve existing programs, services, and policies that benefit women and children the YWCA directly serves.
- To strengthen funding, including legislative appropriations, for programs and services that benefit women and children the YWCA directly serves.
- To inform and educate YWCA members about issues concerning women’s economic empowerment and racial justice, and encourage their full participation in the political process, as resources and regulations permit.
- To support national YWCA public policy priorities and initiatives, as resources permit.
- To protect and strengthen the ability of the YWCA as a nonprofit organization to pursue its charitable purposes and advance the public good.
YWCA Advocacy Action Steps
- Become familiar with sound, credible information and research about problems and needs related to YWCA advocacy priorities. Identify staff and/or volunteers who will develop and maintain expertise in the following areas: poverty, child care, racial justice. These staff and/or volunteers may be asked to represent the YWCA on these issues.
- Educate key internal and external publics, including elected officials, about the work of the YWCA, the issues facing the women and children it serves, and important public policy issues affecting its work. This is an ongoing process throughout the year (not simply during the legislative or interim sessions), and occurs with many different kinds of audiences.
- Work with the media to publicize facts about priority issues and educate about solutions. Media requests are referred to the appropriate staff or to other community groups with expertise in a particular issue.
- Participate in coalitions and advocacy networks that have a public policy presence or purpose, and that will extend the YWCA’s advocacy while conserving limited resources. Examples include the TAMUCC Women’s Center, Coalition for Unity and Justice, and Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations.
- Monitor legislation at the state level and engage in advocacy where appropriate. Respond to the YWCA of the USA Action Alerts concerning federal legislation, as resources and consensus permit. Participate in activities on a regional level as resources and consensus permit.
- The YWCA’s approach to advocacy is consistent with our values of nonviolence, respect, and honest direct communication. We will be open about our intentions and avoid personalizing issues or demonizing individuals or organizations.
- The YWCA will not use the media to attack people or institutions.
- The YWCA will not present itself as a spokesperson on issues for which it does not have sufficient expertise.
YWCA advocacy is a shared responsibility among staff and volunteers. An Advocacy Committee meets throughout the year to become educated about public policy issues and discuss possible YWCA positions and responses. Volunteers on the Board and the Advocacy Committee will help monitor legislation of interest. Staff and volunteers are required to discuss in advance any proposed advocacy work they wish to undertake on behalf of the YWCA with the President/CEO and the Advocacy Committee, and to gain prior approval.