Founded in Rockford in 1891, YWCA Northwestern Illinois has a strong, proud history and rich tradition of providing progressive services to women and their families in the Rockford region. This history includes:
- Offering the first “physical culture” class for women in 1891 through the Rockford Women’s Seminary, now known as Rockford University
- Building a residence for women when they came to the city to work, while the men were at war
- Meeting the needs of women to have a safe, recreational outlet when the doors were not open to them at facilities reserved for men
Throughout our history, the YWCA has been in the forefront of most major movements in the United States as a pioneer in race relations, labor union representation, and the empowerment of women.