YWCA Evansville Announces Major Gift from the City of Evansville Endowment Fund


The YWCA is thrilled to announce that the preliminary funding goal needed to replace the roof on its aging building has been secured through an emergency capital grant from the City of Evansville Endowment Fund (CEEF), a stand-alone supporting organization of the Community Foundation Alliance. Funds are still being sought to repair the extensive interior damage to residential and common areas of the historic building.

In a meeting of the CEEF board on February 27, an off-cycle award of funding of $50,000 was approved that, along with an outpouring of private community donations and a generous matching gift from an anonymous donor, catapulted the YWCA’s ‘Raise the Roof!’ campaign past its initial fundraising goalneeded to replace the roof on its historic building downtown. The City of Evansville Endowment Fund is not governed or administered in any way by the City of Evansville.

In early February, an urgent call for help went out across the city, as Erika Taylor, CEO of the YWCA, facility shelter for women and children and residential housing mobilized an urgent full-press campaign seeking donations to help ‘Raise the Roof!’ for its Serving as emergency and domestic violence for homeless women recovering from substance abuse, the YWCA building at 118 Vine Street is well-used and well-loved, but the roof had finally failed, though the organization has worked tirelessly to fund its repair over the years. Inside the YWCA where families they serve are housed, rain now fell into bedrooms and hallways; the interior had become a maze of trash cans and buckets strategically placed to capture the water pouring in, and damage to walls and ceilings in residential and common areas was compounded with each rainfall or snowmelt. Taylor was sleepless with worry.

page1image52139264Though emergency repairs to the roof had been completed over the decades and a contractor was in place, the YWCA still found itself short of the more than $100,000 needed to fully fund the necessary roof replacement. On February 8, Taylor sent a plea for donations through social media, local news networks, and the Courier and Press. The release in part read: “It is imperative that we have our roof replaced as soon as possible.

We are calling upon the Tri-State community to open their hearts and their wallets to help fund this urgent need.”

The community responded enthusiastically–both new and long-time supporters saw the coverage and wanted to help, often sending notes, letters, and touching messages of encouragement with their gifts.

Completely overwhelmed by the outpouring, Taylor says, “It reassures me so much to know people really do pay attention and care about our mission and the women and children we serve!”

page2image52124608A week of steady donations and a generous matching gift from an anonymous donor moved the needlesignificantly toward their campaign goal, but it was still not enough to cover the full cost of replacement significantly toward their campaign goal, but it was still not enough to cover the full cost of replacement.

page2image52125760However, one of those who had paid attention to Taylor’s plea and the Raise the Roof! campaign was Jill Carpenter, Executive Director of the Community Foundation Alliance of Evansville. Knowing the City of Evansville Endowment Fund had, in November 2018, granted to the YWCA for repairs to roof-related damage to the interior of the structure, Carpenter asked the CEEF Board of Directors at their February 27 meeting whether an additional amount, outside their regular grant cycle, could be granted specifically for roof replacement. The Board listened to Carpenter describe the urgent need and deteriorating living conditions inside the facility and was moved.

Jerome Stewart, CEEF Board president, explains, “The women and children being served by the YWCA have already been through so much, and we knew that providing this grant would greatly improve theirenvironment. We knew we needed to help them.” By unanimous action, the Board approved the grant.

Taylor, though relieved this goal has been met, now wants to send out another important call to thecommunity: The extent of damage caused by the leaking roof to the building’s interior is still an evolvingunknown. Any and all donations toward costs of repairing the significantly damaged residential and common areas throughout the building are welcomed. Donations can be made online at ywcaevansville.org or by check to 118 Vine St., Evansville, IN 47708.