As we enter into the season of gratitude and thanks, we remember the generosity that spurred our beginnings and empowers us today. From the original charter members to our Mission Making Society members, we are thankful for all those in our history who gave to support our cause.
YWCA O’ahu was founded on the porch steps of Mrs. Dillingham’s home in 1900. The founding women wanted a place where women could meet and support their community. One of the first programs developed was The Homestead, a residence for working women, which opened to address concerns regarding insufficient safe and affordable housing.
The Atherton Family donated the original Fernhurst Building as a tribute to their daughter Kate in 1919. Over the course of its history, it helped to provide safe, transitional housing to some 10,000 women.
In 1924, the members and community were able to raise the $350,000 for the grounds on Richards Street in less than a week and work began on our Laniākea facility in 1926, which was completed in 1927. This year we recognize the generosity of the community as Laniākea celebrates 90 years of providing a safe space to run our programs and offer our services.
In 1925, the Hawaiian Girls Club donated $1,000 to the new building and named the hall after Elizabeth Fuller, their first president. Fuller Hall is now a reception hall, meeting place, and community icon. Life changing moments occur in our well-loved hall, and we thank the Hawaiian Girls Club making it possible.
Camp Halekipa merged with Kokokahi Community Trust to create YWCA Kokokahi. Dr. Theodore Richards envisioned Kokokahi to be a place where all people of Hawai‘i could live and play together. This past year, we rededicated Kokokahi, as we continue to grow the camp and retreat property, fulfilling Dr. Richards’ vision.
The community continued to support us through fundraising events and capital campaigns, and today we are all beneficiaries of these individuals and the community’s generosity.
Over the decades, the generosity of our members continued. Most recently, we welcomed a new group of supporters, the Mission Making Society. These members pledged to support the mission and vision of YWCA O‘ahu. We are extremely thankful for their dedication and belief in YWCA O’ahu and invite you to join this esteemed group of dedicated women and men who are creating a sustainable future for us.
For more information on how to be our newest Mission Making Society Member, please visit: https://www.ywcaoahu.org/mission-making-society.