History in Nashville
Making a Difference for More than a Century
For 119 years, YWCA has helped women, girls and families in Nashville build safer, more self-sufficient lives. The professional staff and dedicated volunteers are constantly monitoring the challenges of social change, developing programs and services to meet the evolving needs of women and their families.
- In 1898, the Nashville YWCA was founded in three rooms over the Gartner and Maden Millinery Shop, 227 North Summer St. (now 5th Ave.)
- In 1909 the YWCA broke ground for a new YWCA building on Vine Street (7th Ave.) When the YWCA opened its new building, there were no integrated buildings in Nashville but the leadership of the YWCA was committed to extending programs to African American women.
- By 1919, the Blue Triangle Branch was formed for African American women and a building was purchased for their use.
- In the 1930's the depression made the YWCA a haven for women and girls. The women of this city went to the YWCA for recreation, diversion, welfare, food, physical education and training.
- In 1941 the Nashville YWCA mobilized to support the war through Red Cross drives, sewing, dances for soldiers and donating building space for defense work.
- In 1964 the Blue Triangle Branch and the Downtown YWCA became one interracial YWCA.
- In 1978 the Displaced Homemakers Program began for women who were entering or re-entering the workforce.
- In 1981, YWCA opened the first Domestic Violence Shelter in Nashville.
- In 2001, the YWCA Weaver Domestic Violence Center opened in Nashville.
- In 2008, YWCA became the Nashville affiliate of Girls Inc. and has served more than 1,500 girls in Metro Nashville Public Schools since programming began.
- In 2013, YWCA became the Nashville affiliate for Dress for Success.
- In 2014, YWCA launched an innovative primary prevention initiative dedicated to ending violence against women and girls by engaging and educating men and boys. The AMEND Together program (formerly called MEND) seeks to challenge, cultivate and change the culture that perpetuates violence against women.
- In 2016, the Lethality Assessment Protocol (LAP) was implemented in Nashville through the Mayor's Office of Family Safety, Metro Nashville Police Department, and YWCA. Created by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence in 2005, LAP is an innovative strategy to prevent domestic violence homicides and serious injuries by providing an easy and effective method for police and advocates to identify victims of domestic violence who are at the highest risk.
YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee has met the challenges faced by women during each era in our history, and we will continue to adapt as new challenges arise.
To learn more about our history, read Women Helping Women: The YWCA of Nashville by Carole Stanford Bucy, available at the Metro Nashville Public Library.