BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE FOR ALL WOMEN, GIRLS AND THEIR FAMILIES IS AN HONOURABLE, EXHILARATING AND AMBITIOUS MISSION. THAT MISSION IS OURS, ONE THAT WE STRIVE FOR EVERY DAY, HAND-IN-HAND, OUR GAZE DIRECTED TOWARDS THE FUTURE, WITH THE CONVICTION THAT
TOGETHER, WE WILL ACCOMPLISH THIS.
In the history of the Montreal YWCA and its Foundation, 2018-2019 was without a doubt a landmark year. In fact, last January, the organization entrusted the Foundation with the task of implementing a major financing campaign. The goal is a big one: to develop and offer services that enable us to better respond to the current needs of girls, women and their families. A major undertaking: a new building adapted to these ever-changing needs, a place that fosters personal transformation and allows our participants to gradually build a new life and develop to their full potential.
INNOVATE TO BETTER MEET NEEDS
The needs of women and girls  are constantly changing, as are the many and varied means developed by the Montreal YWCA to respond to these needs. The virtual reality project Where are you from? is proof of this innovative spirit. Aimed at employers, and with the objective of promoting inclusion and ethnocultural diversity at the workplace, this awareness tool reached almost 800 people. Now more than ever, the YWCA hopes to bring about systemic change, and to do so, it is reaching out to decision-makers in various environments.
As for our direct action with women, we have among other initiatives – implemented a transcultural approach within our residential services. This allows our teams to more competently respond to the needs and realities of women from around the world who have chosen to settle here, and give them the time to rebuild their lives.
Innovation is also crucial to a modern and vibrant Foundation, which has completely redefined the concept of the Women of Distinction Awards. This significant event now allows patrons to participate in inspiring and rewarding panels, while celebrating the incredible contributions the award winners have made to society. In addition, last spring, as part of the My Bag is Yours campaign, the Foundation launched In My Bag of Tricks, a new fun-filled challenge aimed at rallying and raising awareness across an even larger audience regarding the relevance of the YWCA and the Quebec YWCA’s mission. 
SPEAK UP, WITH THEM AND FOR THEM
Now, more than ever, defending the rights and interests of women and girls, in all their diversity, has shown itself to be necessary, as demonstrated by the current social context. Over the past year, the Montreal YWCA has taken several opportunities to strongly and clearly emphasize the needs of women and girls regarding the three main issues that it champions: equality, non-violence and inclusion. Whether it was during a provincial election debate, by signing an open letter regarding mental health care (which made it all the way to the National Assembly!), by launching the #LaisseToiPasAcheter on social media, or submitting a brief on Quebec’s secularism law, Bill 21, the Montreal YWCA has not faltered in its mission to remind decision-makers and the general public of the inequalities still faced by women and girls.
None of this would be possible without the unwavering support of the two boards of directors. We owe our deepest gratitude to Sophie Fortin, past chair of the YWCA Foundation’s board of directors, for her four years of service, her strategic vision and her deep commitment. We would also like to point out the six years of significant contributions made by Josée Goulet, Ginette Richard and Jean-Sébastien Lagarde towards promoting the organization’s mission.
In October 2018, the winds of change blew through the Foundation’s board of directors with the nomination of Édith Cloutier as chair and the arrival of six new administrators: Mariama Zhouri, Sophie Roy, Katia Robillard, Rodrigue Gilbert, Daniel Trottier and Andrew Arnovitz. The Women’s Y Foundation is proud to be able to rely on their expertise.
As for the YWCA board of directors, we would like to thank Sylvie Bourdeau who, in her role as secretary, contributed invaluable expertise to the organization through her nuanced remarks, her relevant observations and her deep commitment. We would also like to thank Martine Collins, Julie Martineau and Lyse Des Rosiers, outgoing directors, for their informed contributions. As for Francine Belzile and Stéphanie Otou, we are grateful for their astute interventions within the board of directors over the past months.
Thanks to the expertise of this governance and its new members, the professional and passionate work of our internal teams, the help of our 440 or so volunteers, the generous support of our donors and partners, the combined force of the Montreal YWCA and its Foundation is now stronger than ever, ready to rise to the challenge and support women and girls in their search for a better future.
Kudos to each and every person who has helped in the building of our incredible organization.