On a mission: an update for YWCA supporters
YWCA alumnus Carolyn Murray Murray emcees a TWIN banquet
Photo caption: NBC News 2 anchor Carolyn Murray took YWCA ballet classes as a young girl. Years later, she emceed the YWCA TWIN banquet shown above. 

Five women. Five impact-filled YWCA experiences.

Generations of strong women led the effort for gender & racial equality in Charleston… and still do today.

Carolyn Murray 

Carolyn Murray, YWCA of Greater Charleston alumnusToday she's a popular and respected news anchor at Charleston's NBC News 2… but when Carolyn first encountered the YWCA, her perspective was different. She was a 6-year-old girl. 

"Ask many young girls born between 1962 and 1972, and they will tell you "the Y" was a place where we learned we had a voice and the world should hear it," she says.

Carolyn took ballet classes for 6-8 years at the Charleston YWCA's historic 106 Coming Street location.

"At my second home—the YWCA—Mrs. Christine Jackson and her staff set the course of my professional and my personal life," she recalls.

"The YWCA of Greater Charleston is essential to the person I have become," she says. "It's a place where I learned the power of high expectations and the value of molding women leaders."

Most memorable moment:

A ROLE MODEL "Seeing Mrs. Christine Jackson was always a class in itself," Carolyn says of the former executive director. "She was the first black woman I ever heard speak with such elocution and diction. She was always dressed beautifully. She walked with her head held high, her shoulders back, and she expected the same of us. I believe she respected us as much as we respected her. She was preparing us for the world."

Elizabeth (Betty) White 

Elizabeth Betty White, former YWCA of Greater Charleston board memberBetty was a human resource manager with a local manufacturing company in 1980 when she was selected as an honoree for the YWCA's annual Tribute to Women in Industry (TWIN) program.

She served on the YWCA board for ten years. Christine Jackson, a strong and dynamic executive director and leader, asked many TWIN honorees to serve on the board, Betty remembers.

"We were a diverse group who bonded well and worked hard!" she says. "As leaders in our companies, businesses, or organizations, we were able to transfer our work-related skills to setting YWCA goals and carrying out objectives, which resulted in many worthwhile projects and programs."

"My association with the YWCA was invaluable and memorable!" she says.

Most memorable moment:

TWIN "I co-chaired the TWIN program twice. Hundreds of people—honorees, company sponsors, family members—attended the event each year, which included dinner, a notable speaker, and of course, the recognition of the honorees, who were from diverse backgrounds. We were so impressed with the women's accomplishments! It was more than just an enjoyable evening; it had a great impact on improving race relations in our community. Thank you, Christine, for starting and implementing this program!"

Rita Worthy 

Rita Worthy, former YWCA of Greater Charleston board memberRita was introduced to the YWCA by her predecessor at the office: Miriam Green, now mayor of Awendaw. Their employer, Berkeley Electric, had been active with the YWCA's TWIN program for years.

Rita went on to serve on the YWCA board for several years in the early 2000s, and still supports YWCA events today.

"During my tenure on the board, I had the opportunity to meet some phenomenal women from different nationalities and cultures," Rita recalls. She formed long-term friendships with many of them. "Networking and connecting with them and interacting—they really enriched my life."

What attracted her to accept the invitation to join the YWCA board in the first place? "I believe in the mission of empowering women and eliminating racism," she says.

Most memorable moment:

INVESTING IN WOMEN "Years ago, the YWCA offered a financial investment workshop, and it really empowered me," Rita says. "I still had some funds invested in a former employer's 401(k). The advice at the YWCA workshop was to keep that money there and let it grow. That was one of the best pieces of advice I'd ever gotten. That money has grown. And I always wanted to know more about finances after that; for instance, I'm a stickler about making sure your credit is in good shape. Women should be empowered financially."


Kitty RobinsonKitty Robinson, now the executive director of the Historic Charleston Foundation, also recalls the impact the YWCA of Greater Charleston had on her life. "It was indeed an honor and a privilege to serve on the YWCA board and to be able to participate in furthering its stellar mission, to which I subscribe fully," she says. "I learned so much from Christine Jackson and was inspired by her leadership, not only within the YWCA but within the broader community. Her unwavering commitment to the ideals of the YWCA inspires me to this day."

Kendra Snipe 

Kendra Snipe, YWCA of Greater Charleston board memberSince February 2015, Kendra has been the YWCA of Greater Charleston’s youngest board member, and she chairs the board’s organizational committee, developing strategies to engage new members in the organization.

"I remember Kerri [Forrest, the current board chair] saying, 'Listen, we don’t need you to come on the board and observe. We want you to jump right in,'" she says.

She also recalls viewing the YWCA’s strategic plan soon after her first conversation with Kerri. "I was completely impressed," she says. "Kerri told me the YWCA here was undergoing a transition, recreating itself to continue to be current and relevant to the challenges women in Charleston face today. This transition appealed to me. And now, all the planning and work we’ve been doing as a board is bearing fruit."

"The YWCA has such phenomenal women on the board," she says. "And with LaVanda now as our executive director, with all the skills she brings, we're really an organization to be reckoned with."

Most memorable moment:

REV. PINCKNEY "Last year, when we hosted the Requiem on Racism, I had the opportunity to meet Reverend Clementa Pinckney, and he amazed me," Kendra recalls. "It's bittersweet now [after the Mother Emanuel shootings], but I will never forget him. I remember how welcoming he was, how supportive he was of what we were doing. He was standing by us and with us because we were trying to fight racism and open a dialogue. He supported open dialogue between all cultural barriers."
Generations of women have made an impact in Charleston. Will you?

Gender & racial inequality still persists in Charleston. Help us put it in the rear-view mirror: join us as a member today! 

Your annual membership of $50 is a contribution toward helping us make a difference in the lives of women across the tri-county region. Members are also part of a worldwide network of more than 200 organizations serving 2 million women, girls, and their families. 

Our members enjoy:
  • Being in the know: you'll receive our e-newsletter and program updates
  • The opportunity to develop leadership skills by serving on YWCA committees and task forces
  • Invitations to events
  • A 10% discount on YWCA events, including the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Business & Professional Breakfast

Honoring Dr. Ida Spruill

Dr. Ida Spruill, former YWCA board chairWe mourn the passing Dr. Ida Spruill, who died Wednesday, March 16, 2016, after a two-year battle with ovarian cancer. The extraordinary Dr. Spruill was a longtime member of the YWCA of Greater Charleston, a board member for five years, and board chair from 2013 to 2015. Dr. Spruill, an associate professor emerita in the College of Nursing at The Medical University of South Carolina, had over 30 years of nursing and social work experience and, among other honors, was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award by President Obama in 2014. The impact of this strong woman on our organization and our city was great and she will be dearly missed!

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