2020 has proved to be a year like no other, so May 5 was named a new kind of Tuesday.
#GivingTuesdayNow, a special emergency fundraising response to the unprecedented need caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, provided a dedicated day to celebrate and encourage philanthropy when human services providers needed help the most.
YWCA Dayton continues to remain open and available 24/7/365 to shelter and serve the most vulnerable among us: survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking; women transitioning out of homelessness; and women and families in need of safe, supportive housing. Community support ensures these critical safety nets continue, uninterrupted.
“We are the safety net, the first responder; these are essential services,” said Shannon Isom, president and CEO. “We employ essential workers and we never stop ensuring that these services are open and are a woman’s or a family’s assurance: despite day, despite night, despite lack, despite COVID-19, we are here. And we know we’re not alone.”
More than $5,000 was raised to support YW’s 24/7 work, which has continued nonstop: emergency shelter and support for victims of domestic and sexual violence, crisis hotline operation, supportive and transitional housing, youth programming.
“Funds raised during Giving Tuesday Now give us the much-coveted ability to respond to ever-changing needs with agility to best support women and children in our community. Thanks to generous donations like these, no needs have arisen during the pandemic that we have been unable to meet,” said Marshall Weil, director of development and corporate giving.
As YWCA Dayton celebrates its 150th birthday this year, many donors noted that this legacy inspired them to help. Sandy Gudorf, a 2017 Women of Influence honoree, said for her, it is simple: The YWCA mission is vital to so many in our community. As YW volunteer Carla Hale put it: “The YW mission – eliminating racism, empowering women – is one we should all get behind, especially now. The team there is faithful to the hard work of ensuring safety and services for those in our community at risk.”
And Jenny Michael, a past Women of Influence Committee chair, personally understands the impact.
“More than 70 years ago, my grandma was able to get a roof over her head during a difficult time and found shelter at YWCA. When I attend an event, drive by the YW, or donate, I’m often overcome with emotion thinking about the gift she received during that time in her life and how that impacted generations to come in our family. I’m honored to be able to pay it forward for her and so many who have found safety at YWCA,” she said.
Over the course of YWCA Dayton’s 150-year history, services for women and children in the Miami Valley have continued through multiple epidemics, pandemics, wars, and recessions.
“We know that everyone is struggling with different things right now, but we also know that we’re all in this together,” Weil said. “For every person who needs to take a step back, there is someone else willing to step up and help. Thank you. It’s what makes the Dayton community so special.”