YWCA Greater Cleveland

What We Do

Established in 1868, YWCA Greater Cleveland is a unique and vital community resource in Northeast Ohio committed to eliminating racism and empowering women. YWCA Greater Cleveland is widely recognized as a thought leader on the issues of racial equity and the advancement of women, thanks to the deep subject matter expertise and extensive experience of our leadership team.

We provide transformative services in three focus areas: early childhood education, youth services, and leadership and inclusion initiatives.

Early Learning Center

The Early Learning Center provides high-quality early education for children ages three to five years. Conveniently located between University Circle and downtown, the highly-rated Early Learning Center enables working parents to pursue their career and educational goals while preparing their young children for a lifetime of learning in an environment that celebrates diversity.

Nurturing Independence and Aspirations (NIA)

Nurturing Independence and Aspirations (NIA) is a Trauma-Informed System of Care model focused on permanence, education, employment, housing, physical and mental health, and personal and community engagement for youth 14 to 24 years of age transitioning from failing systems – including foster care. No organization does more than YWCA Greater Cleveland to address the unmet needs of transitioning girls and young adults.

Advocacy, Inclusion and Public Policy 

YWCA Greater Cleveland advocates for the civil and human rights of women, children and people of color; educating and communicating public policies that impact underserved communities and populations.

Women’s Leadership Initiative

The Women’s Leadership Initiative empowers women to become effective leaders by providing them with the essential skills necessary at each stage of their career.  A variety of carefully tailored programs are designed to support women in all phases of their careers – and to ensure that organizations are prepared to do the same.  The YWCA Women’s Leadership Initiative propels professional women further and faster up their career ladder.

Tour the ELCHow to Enroll


Toni McCord
ELC Director

Cynthia Harrigan
ELC Administrator


“It’s easier to go back to work when you feel good about the care that your child is receiving.”
- ELC parent


Jerome Baker
Community Engagement Supervisor


Compared to peers, foster youth are three times less likely to graduate high school and half as likely to complete any college.

Approximately 200 teens age out of foster care annually in Cuyahoga County.

100% of young people living in Independence Place were previously homeless.


Heather Steranka-Petit
Manager, Learning Programs

Women's Leadership programs:



In 2016, women now make up 47% of the American workforce and are the equal if not primary breadwinners in 40% of families. 

In 2014, 4.6% of Fortune 500 CEO, 14.6% of Fortune 500 executive officer positions, and 17% of board seats were held by women.

In Northeast Ohio in 2015, from a survey of 85 local employers, only 16.2% of board members, 14.5% of senior management, and 8.5% of suppliers were non-white (GC Partnership, COEI)

In a 2016 Washington Post survey, 88% of black Americans believe there is still work to be done for black Americans to achieve equal rights, while only 53% of white Americans agreed.


We are on a mission for social justice. Get involved!