YWCA Spokane launches One Mission campaign
Nonprofit to empower women, eliminate racism
Natasha NellisOctober 22nd, 2020
YWCA Spokane launched its One Mission Campaign in September with the goal of raising $275,000 to support services that provide resources to survivors of domestic violence.
The campaign is meant to build on the nonprofit's annual Women of Achievement event.
The organization's mission is to eliminate racism and empower women, says YWCA Spokane interim CEO Jeanette Hauck.
"You can't empower women unless you're also eliminating racism, so that becomes, really, our one mission," says Hauck. "We want to make it so women have the opportunity to have a living wage, and their families are free from violence, including domestic violence."
She adds, "The impact is compounded for women of color. They have higher rates of violence, mortality, poverty — and they experience all of that disproportionately to white women."
According to the National Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence Survey, 41.2% of Black women had been physically abused by a partner during their lifetime. The National Crime Victimization Survey found that from 2003 to 2012, Black, African, and African American women saw the highest rates of intimate partner violence, at a rate of 4.7 per 1,000, compared with whites (3.9 per 1,000) and Hispanics (2.3 per 1,000).
In Washington, data compiled by the Institute for Women's Policy Research shows, 12% of white women were below poverty between 2014 and 2016, about half the rate of Hispanic (21.8%), Black (22%), and Native American women (26%). About 12.5% of Asian and Pacific Islander women were below poverty during the same period.
Throughout October, which is nationally recognized as Domestic Violence Action Month, the YWCA is hosting a Learn & Give Challenge as part of its One Mission campaign. Participants will receive biweekly emails that challenge them to focus on understanding the complexities of domestic violence, how that intersects with race and other social identities, and bring attention to the impact these issues have on the Spokane community.
Education is key, says Hauck.
"The more we have the opportunity to talk about our mission and what we're doing here in Spokane, the more information that's out in the community, the more opportunities we have to make change," she says.
Erica Schreiber, director of communications for YWCA Spokane, says the campaign has raised nearly $193,000 thus far.
Hauck says she’s optimistic the organization can reach its goal by the end of October.
For the 2020 fiscal year, the YWCA reported an annual Spokane-area operations budget of $5.3 million.
Throughout September, the YWCA's One Mission campaign celebrated women in the community who are living out the organization's mission through its Women of Achievement Awards. The virtual celebration was held on Oct. 1 and had 279 virtual attendees signed on. Schreiber says she conservatively estimates the event had 675 attendees, as several who signed on indicated they planned to watch with one or more friends.
The event was hosted by Kiantha Duncan, vice president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, and Kris Crocker, KXLY-TV chief meteorologist.
Hauck stepped into the role of interim CEO following the departure of Regina Malveaux, who left the organization in late August to become director of the Washington state Women's Commission. Hauck previously was the organization's chief financial officer. She's been with the YWCA for nine years.
"My goal is to be able to reach out and get to know more community members, community organizations … whose missions align with ours so we can make sure we have the right diversity when we are making decisions in how to deliver our services," she says.
Hauck contends the services are increasingly needed, especially during this time of turmoil. Incidents of domestic violence have increased steadily in recent months, according to the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs.
Reports of domestic violence offenses in the state increased 12% this year between April 6 and Sept. 14 compared with the year-earlier period. Updated numbers weren't available for Spokane County.
The trend is further reflected at the YWCA, which has seen calls to the organization's crisis line increase, Hauck says.
In the first 10 months of 2019 the organization had seen 3,500 calls to its crisis line. It's on track to bypass 5,000 by the end of October this year, Hauck says. However, she adds it's likely that more people are using the crisis line because of pandemic-related limits to in-person access.
Like other organizations, operations at the nonprofit were forced to shift when the pandemic struck. Most client contact has shifted outside of the organization's offices at 930 N. Monroe, says Hauck.
Before the pandemic, the waiting room typically would host upward of 60 clients a day. Now, Hauck says, the office will only have on average one person in the waiting room at a time.
The organization has restarted its prekindergarten program, says Hauck, and the educators wear masks when interacting with the children.
"We are so glad to have those children in our classrooms. It's been a big support to the parents so that they can work," she says.
Further, Hauck says the nonprofit had to adjust operations at the shelter it runs, where social distancing and mask rules are enforced.
Social distancing limits the number of people the shelter can house at any time. To compensate, the organization has secured several offsite locations, including hotel rooms, to provide safe shelter for those seeking services, she adds.
"Our shelter workers are really in the front line of making sure that their exposure to the virus is limited," she says. "Just like any of the other shelters in town, trying to screen and keep everyone safe is challenging and it's expensive. It's a lot of personal protective equipment, it's a lot of sanitation activity … all of those things are creating new challenges."
Individual donations have decreased slightly this year, which Hauck attributes largely to the economic impacts COVID-19 has had. She adds that she expects individual donations are down across the board at most nonprofits.
"As we move forward, we're going to continue to find ways to serve our clients in the most healthy and safe way we can," says Hauck.
In 2019, nearly 17,500 women and children used YWCA Spokane support and services and 11,700 survivors of domestic violence received services through the YWCA Spokane Alternatives to Domestic Violence program, according to the organization's website.