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History of ywha


The Young Woman's Home from the corner of Clifford and W Adams Streets, 1907

The original 1877 mission of the Young Woman’s Home Association was to provide appropriate and safe housing to young women who came to Detroit in search of employment. A temporary facility was opened immediately while funds were raised for the construction of a new building at 164 W. Adams. It opened in 1887 as The Young Woman’s Club. From that time the Association provided a home to hundreds of women each year until they were ready to move on.


When Detroit became “The Arsenal of Democracy” during World War II, respectable women began doing jobs that traditionally had been held by men. Following the war, these self-sufficient women found the protective regulations of the Young Woman’s Club less appealing and sought more independent living situations. By the late 1960s, the Home suffered low occupancy and was consistently losing money. Accordingly, the Association changed its mission from providing shelter to young women to granting funds to charity. In 1969, YWHA President Agnes Crow spearheaded the sale of the 90-year-old building and the creation of a charitable foundation.


Since its establishment as a charitable foundation, the Young Woman’s Home Association has reviewed and researched countless requests for funds from a myriad of organizations and has disbursed several million dollars in charitable grants. Today, YWHA grants are awarded primarily to agencies serving women and youth in the metropolitan Detroit area.

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