About YWCA Southeast Wisconsin

YWCA Southeast Wisconsin (SEW) is part of a national network on a mission to eliminate racism and empower women.  Our goal is to help build and serve a community that is based on equality, peace, justice, freedom and dignity for everyone.

We focus on social and racial justice initiatives and advocacy, using education as an agent of change and the foundation of our approach with world class, progressive educational programs on offer to all.

This combination of educational programming and advocacy has three focus areas: racial justice, economic empowerment and the health/safety of women and their families. Since our inception in 1892, we continue to offer resources to women and their families – from the first auto mechanics training for women in 1920s, to the first racially-integrated cafeteria in the Midwest, to today’s innovative and progressive initiatives.

Our mission today remains ever-more relevant as the impacts of systemic oppression continue to disadvantage many members of our community, often by design. We are renewing our efforts and commitment to a progressive vision for the future – a future founded upon equality for everyone, as we also seek to model and be the change we want to see in the world.

You can read more about our educational programs and how they can help you and us to deliver on our mission here →

Our Mission

YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

Our Vision

A thriving and just Southeast Wisconsin with racial & gender equity as the foundation for a healthy & equal community.

Our Timeline

On January 10 2023, YWCA Southeast Wisconsin (SEW) celebrated the 130th anniversary of our incorporation. Since then, we have championed many social movements important to our community then, and now, including civil rights, affordable housing, healthcare, racial justice and pay equity…

1892 – 1898

  • 1892 – Two hundred women sign a petition to form YWCA Greater Milwaukee.
  • 1893 – Our organization was officially incorporated as YWCA Greater Milwaukee.
  • 1894 – With an annual budget of $2,000 our YWCA headquarters moved to Mason Street, which had a gymnasium and a lunch room.
  • 1898 – We opened the first cafeteria in the Midwest, providing respite and camaraderie for “factory girls” and shop workers in the city.

1901 – 1917

  • 1901 – Our organization opened another headquarters building at 626 N. Jackson, which was donated by Elizabeth Plankinton.
  • 1917 – The Blue Triangle and the Grace Dodge House residences open to accommodate an influx of working women arriving to the city of Milwaukee to help with World War I efforts.

1946 – 1950

  • 1946 – The Girl Reserves Group is renamed to Y-Teens to capture the needs of a new generation.
  • 1950 – $75,000 was raised to convert a market into a north side center at 2578 N. 8th Street. The purpose of the center was to increase interracial membership.

1972 – 1974

  • 1972 – The National Convention in Cleveland resulted in adoption of the YWCA’s ONE IMPERATIVE, “to eliminate racism wherever it exists by any means necessary.”
  • 1974 – The north side center at 3940 N. 21st Street is renamed the YWCA Vel Phillips Center.

1986 – 1988

  • 1986 – Our organization adopted a long-range strategic plan focusing on programs to foster economic self-sufficiency for low-to-moderate income women, girls, teens, senior women and single parent headed households.
  • 1988 – The Transitional Housing Program (THP) begins serving homeless women and their children.

1991 -1999

  • 1991 – The First Annual Racial Justice Convention is held in January. Our organization receives Racial Justice Award from YWCA USA for its efforts to improve race relations.
  • 1995 – The YWCA Women’s Enterprise Center (WEC) opens – and provides a new location for a one-stop center of services aimed at helping women and their families achieve self-sufficiency.
  • 1996 – Our organization forms YW Works, a limited liability corporation, to help transition individuals from welfare to work.
  • 1997 – Our organization created Generation 2 Plastics, a plastics processing plant supplying injection molding and compounding products to the plastics industry while serving as a workplace skills training center.
  • 1999 – YWCA Greater Milwaukee opens YW Global Career Academy, a public charter school for grades K4 through 5. We also opened “Creative Workshop”, an employment training program designed with a creative work experience in an environment that promotes problem solving and sharing among participants.

“Progress is not always progress…”

Geneva Johnson, Honorary Co-Chair 2018 Circle of Women: Empowering Truth 125th Anniversary Message

2000 – 2009

  • 2000 – Our James W. Anderson building opens on Capitol Drive/Teutonia Avenue. The restored building offered affordable senior housing and retail storefronts. During 2000, our organization experienced an economic downturn and sharpened mission to meet the needs of the community.
  • 2005 – Our organization launched An Evening to Promote Racial Justice with Naomi Tutu as the inaugural speaker. An Evening to Promote Racial Justice is an annual event that promotes our racial justice efforts in the community, and features a nationally known keynote speaker and an  awards ceremony recognizing individuals for their commitment to eliminating racism and empowering women in their professional and personal lives.
  • 2007 – We launched the Unlearning Racism: Tools for Action© pilot. Since the pilot, more than 1,500 people have attended the full six-part series or modified versions in the region.
  • 2009 – Our organization gained full responsibility of Camp Everytown and provided a co-ed experience for youth. The program moved to all girls in 2016 & 2017.

2012 – 2019

  • 2012 – Our organization, YWCA Greater Milwaukee expanded programming to Racine and changed name to Southeast Wisconsin.
  • 2013 – An Evening to Promote Racial Justice hosted largest audience with Harry Belafonte as the keynote speaker.
  • 2015 – PI 5.09 High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) program began in Milwaukee. Program expanded to Racine in 2017. We also joined YWCA USA’s national program Stand Against Racism.
  • 2017 – We launched the Women’s Professional Image Program, a clothing boutique that provides image guidance and prepares women for job interviews and employment.
  • 2018 – YWCA Southeast Wisconsin expanded Unlearning Racism: Tools for Action© course to Racine and kicked off with 45 participants. YWCA celebrates 125 years of being at the forefront of positive social change.
    2019 – An Evening to Promote Racial Justice celebrated is 15th anniversary with Maria Hinojosa as the keynote speaker.

Number of students YWCA Southeast Wisconsin has graduated since 2003.

Number of People Served Every Year in Southeast Wisconsin.

Number of years YWCA has been a leader in Southeast Wisconsin.

Leading The Mission

Tracy Williams is a nationally recognized leader committed to equality, racial and social justice, and diversity and inclusion with deep experience in uplifting underserved and disadvantaged community groups. She has served in several senior leadership roles at UW-Madison. Prior to her leadership at UW-Madison, she became the Diversity and Inclusion Advisor of American Family Insurance Corporate Headquarters, charged with leading the development and execution of a company-wide diversity and inclusion strategy.

She is a member of TEMPO Milwaukee, and formerly was a TEMPO Madison member. She has served several years as Commissioner for Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission and most recently served on Youth and Families Commission and the Mayor of Sun Prairie’s Ad Hoc Diversity Committee, responsible for recommending nondiscrimination ordinances, in which the Housing Discrimination Ordinance was passed 8-0 by the City Council. Williams’ education includes a bachelor’s degree in individual and family development with a minor in psychology from Northern Illinois University, a master’s degree in Business Management from Cardinal Stritch University, and additional study at Harvard University, New York University, and University of Washington.

Tracy is deeply committed to and unfailingly passionate about leading YWCA SEW as an organization that walks its talk, models the change it seeks to see in the world, and understands the need to look internally as much as externally to lead an organization with such a challenging mission to a progressive and equal future.

To join Tracy and the YWCA SEW team in its mission, find out about our open positions here →


Tracy L. Williams, President and CEO

Photo of Tracy Williams, CEO & President of YWCA SEW

Meet The Team

Heather Bennett

Adult Education Coordinator

Janita Bonner

Director of Mission Programs

Meisha Bridges


Debra Bryant

Executive Assistant to the CEO

Jackie Carter

Economic Empowerment Director

Tanisha Carter

Program Coordinator Work Experience

Sarah Chojnacki

Adult Education Outreach Specialist

Timothy Foran

Instructional Lead

Jacob Gorges

Director of Mission Programs

Marie Hargrove

Director of Mission Programs

Peter Hulbert

Community School Coordinator

Cassandra Hurt-Flinn

Help Desk Supervisor

Jean Joseph

Security Lead

Kelley Dawn

Adult Education Compliance and Enrollment Manager

Destiny Kirksey

HR Generalist

Carl McCorkle

Job Center Coordinator

Jean Joseph

Security Lead

Kelley Dawn

Adult Education Compliance and Enrollment Manager

Marcella Miller


Pedro Nunez

Adult Education Coordinator

Jada Proctor

Project Evaluator

Tywone Redmond

Adult Education HSED Manager Tri-County

Tammy Shepard

Adult Education Enrollment and Compliance Coordinator

Kiara Stewart


Kailey Taebel

Project Facilitator

Meet The BOard

Uniqua J. Adams, M.Ed, CFRE

Milwaukee Academy of Science

Jomarie Coloriano

Gateway Technical College

Lindsey Davis, JD

Quarles & Brady, LLP

Bobby Griffin, III

Rockwell Automation

Brigitte Hyler Richerson

Advocate Aurora Health

Preston J. McGlory, (Esq)

Molson Coors Beverage Company

Ann Przybysz CPA

Clifton Larson Allen (CLA)

Jaquilla Ross, MPA

Rockwell Automation

Steve Stall

Community Volunteer

Geof Storms

Rockwell Automation

Tammi M. Summers, PhD

Gateway Technical College

Alonzo P. Walker, MD

Community Volunteer

Bregetta Wilson, MS, BSHS, LPG-IT

Embrace Improve Empower, LLC

Tracy L. Williams

President and CEO, YWCA SEW

YWCA Southeast Wisconsin

Phone: (414) 374-1800

Fax: (414) 374-2680

Our corporate offices are located in Milwaukee:
1915 N Dr Martin Luther King Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53212

Business Hours: Monday-Friday / 8 a.m. – 5 p.m

Our service locations are: Milwaukee, Racine, Regency Mall.
5540 Durand Ave
Racine, WI 53406

Business Hours: Monday – Friday / 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Also at:
Racine County Workforce Solutions, 1717 Taylor Ave, Racine WI, 53403