Organization Overview

Founded in 1917, the YWCA in Southern Arizona is a 501c3 organization that works to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. As a local association of the YWCA USA, we are one of the oldest and largest multicultural women's organizations in the United States. We are building a community of changemakers in Southern Arizona by providing resources, training, space and support to help people create the change they wish to see in their own lives and in the world.

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Chief Executive Officer

Kelly Fryer, MDiv, MTh, brings her experience as a pastor, teacher, entrepreneur and communications director to the work of the YWCA in Southern Arizona. Ordained in 1989 as a Lutheran pastor, Kelly became nationally known for her work in turnaround ministries. In 2004 she co-founded A Renewal Enterprise, a nationwide consulting firm specializing in helping values-based organizations work more effectively. She is the author of “Dancing Down the Hallway: Spiritual Reflections for the Everyday,” and multiple books exploring leadership and mission.  Prior to coming to the YWCA, Kelly served as Asst. Professor of Leadership on the faculty of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, National Communications Director for Interfaith Worker Justice, and Executive Director of an organization that works to elect Arizona women to public office.  She teaches leadership courses in the Nonprofit Management Institute (NMI) at Arizona State University and in the new Eller Social Innovation (ESI) program at the University of Arizona.


Q. What is the YWCA?

 As a local association of the YWCA USA, the YWCA of Southern Arizona is one of the oldest and largest multicultural women's organizations in the nation. We are a membership-based, grassroots organization independently governed by a local board of directors.

Q. What value does the YWCA bring to our community?

The YWCA has been helping people in Tucson and Southern Arizona create the change they wish to see in their own lives and in the world since 1917. Here are just a few examples:

  •  More than 10000 women have attended one of the YW’s annual leadership conferences or programs
  • Twenty-six thousand women have prepared for their first job interview through “Your Sister’s Closet”
  • Ninety percent of graduates from the “YWorks” employment education and training program get a job, start a business or go back to school within six months, pumping $7 million into the Tucson economy every 12-18 months
  • The racial justice program developed here has become a model for YWs across the nation
  • Ten thousand Arizonans can be called to action on our top legislative priorities through the YW’s Advocacy & Action Alliance
  • We welcome nearly 50,000 visitors every year to our three locations: Frances McClelland Community Center, House of Neighborly Service and El Rio Community Health Center.

Q: Is the YWCA of Southern Arizona only for women?

The YWCA of Southern Arizona is dedicated to promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. We focus on women's needs and issues. We also recognize the important role men play in eliminating racism and empowering women. The YWCA of Southern Arizona welcomes men into membership, onto our staff and we were the first local YWCA association in the nation to elect men to our board of directors.

Q. Is the YWCA a religious organization?

Although founded more than 150 years ago by women who shared progressive Christian values, the YWCA USA has not been a religious organization for more than 50 years. One of the things we are proud of here at the YW in Tucson is our first Board President is believed to have been a member of the Stone Avenue Temple. Women and men of every religion and no religion, who share a commitment to the mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all, are welcome as members and leaders at  the YW.   

Q. How is the YWCA funded?

We are an entrepreneurial organization, and strive to create programs that are financially sustainable. As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, we are also supported by our members, who donate their time and money; by grants and donations from foundations and corporate partners committed to social justice and economic empowerment; and through the contracts we earn  from government entities for programs that make a social and/or economic contribution to the community.

 Q: Where is the YWCA of Southern Arizona located?

YWCA of Southern Arizona has three locations: 1) Frances McClelland Leadership Center  in downtown Tucson just west of I-10 between Congress and St. Mary's Road. Our address is 525 N. Bonita Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85745. 2) House of Neighborly Service located at 9:th and 33rd in the City of South Tucson. 3) We manage the cafe inside the new El Rio Community Health Clinic on Congress Ave in the Menlo Park neighborhood of Tucson.

Q: How many people do you serve?

The YWCA represents 2 million women, girls and their families in the United States and 25 million women worldwide. The YWCA has almost 250 associations across the United States. YWCAs can also be found in more than 100 countries. We welcome nearly 50,000 people to our three locations each year.

Q: Is the YWCA a “social services” agency?

Yes. Local YWCAs provide services to meet the needs of women in their communities. Here in southern Arizona, we provide employment readiness training, counseling, nutrition programs, children's programs, and more. More importantly, the YWCA of Southern Arizona is a community center for women - one of the first places women look when they want to network with other progressive leaders, develop leadership skills, make policy change impacting women and families, foster diversity and racial justice, get healthier, learn something new, and engage in advocacy to build a better Arizona for all.

Q: How is the national YWCA structured?

The YWCA is a national organization with more than 230 local associations across the United States. The YWCA USA provides a range of technical assistance and capacity building services to local associations, safeguard the integrity of the YWCA brand and maintain a strong national presence that will position the iconic, multi-tiered YWCA organization for increased stability and sustainability for the future.