Our History


The YWCA of Worcester is founded by a group of 14 women having as its objective “to promote the temporal, moral and religious welfare of young women who are dependent on their own exertions for support.”


The YWCA rents space at 352 Main Street and soon rents more space to accommodate its growing membership and classes. A physical culture instructor is hired to teach the “art of standing, walking and sitting in a hygienic position and muscle exercises.”


The YWCA acquires the Upham Estate at the corner of High and Chatham Streets as its new home. Seventy-five volunteers serve more than 10,000 people in a five-month period in the cafeteria.


The YWCA opens a Boarding Home at Chatham Street that can accommodate 50 women.


The YWCA opens one of the first summer vacation camps in Princeton (MA) and initiates its Travelers Aid work at Union Station. Enrollment in classes and clubs grows necessitating the opening of a North Branch at 19 Main Street.


The YWCA begins teaching gymnastics and maintaining branch libraries in industries such as Sherman Envelope Factory and the Royal Worcester Corset Co. Residence rates were $3.50 to $5.50 for room and board and 10 pieces of laundry.


The YWCA expands its facilities on Chatham Street with the addition of a gymnasium and facilities for education.


The YWCA constructs a new activities building with a swimming pool.


The YWCA constructs a new home at its present day location of 1 Salem Square.


The citizens of Westborough (MA) contribute $100,000 so the YWCA could make capital improvements to the former Eli Whitney School. The town leases the building to the YWCA for $1 a year.


The YWCA celebrates the 100th Anniversary of its founding.


The YWCA’s childcare programs are one of the first to be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in Worcester.


The YWCA undertakes a $3-million renovation to its Salem Square facility. A new entrance and lobby, health & wellness center and pre-school childcare wing are completely redone.


YWCA Central Massachusetts establishes annual Tribute to Women event and presents first recipients with Katharine F. Erskine Award.


Daybreak Resources for Women & Children, a local battered women’s services agency providing emergency shelter and community-based services to victims of domestic violence, merges with the YWCA.


YWCA purchases the Eli Whitney School building from the town of Westborough for $51,000, and launches a capital campaign to raise money to renovate the building and expand its childcare programming.


YWCA “breaks ground” on the renovation of the Eli Whitney School in Westborough.


Camp wind-in-the-Pines, located on Stiles Reservoir in Leicester (MA), undergoes a major renovation.


Battered Women’s Resources (BWR), a local battered women’s services agency providing emergency shelter and community-based services to victims of domestic violence in 33 cities/towns in north Central Massachusetts, merges with the YWCA.


A High Risk Response Team for Domestic Violence was launched in Ayer (MA).


The YWCA celebrates the 125th Anniversary of its founding and launches a new initiative that strives to engage, inspire and equip girls and young women to become the next generation of leaders in Central Massachusetts.


The YWCA launches LIVE (leading with integrity & vision for equality) Capital Campaign  to raise $7.5 million for renovation of 1 Salem Square facility in downtown Worcester, the agency’s  first major renovation in the buildings 56-year history.


The YWCA “breaks ground” on historic $24-million facility renovation.


Renovation completed and building dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony held.

Longtime executive director, Linda Cavaioli, retires. Board of Directors names, Deborah Hall, as her successor. She is the first Black Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA.