YWCA Clinton board includes men for first time in organization's history

Members of the YWCA Board of Directors are, front row, Jenny Boysen, Missey Sullivan-Pope, Theresa Judge OSF, Beth Freehill, Dave Sivright Jr., Jesse Lawson and Shannon Sander-Welzien; and back row, Kathy Hand, Andrea Barnett, Patti Robinson, Emily Schulz-Stiles, Kathy Holland OSF, Carrie Donaire, Pam Petersen, Jennifer Graf, and Charlotte Courtney. Not pictured are Jessica Baker, Heather Farwell, Christine Grant, Mardell Mommsen-Flippen are Tracy Reynolds. Submitted photo

CLINTON — YWCA Clinton recently inducted three new members into its Board of Directors and for the first time in the organization’s 104-year history, two of them are men.

Dave Sivright, Jr. and Jesse Lawson join Charlotte Courtney as the organization’s three newest board members.

“This marks a historic time for YWCA Clinton, and I am so pleased that Dave and Jesse, two of the men who have contributed so much towards strengthening the YWCA mission over the past several years, are joining along with Charlotte as our new board members. We are very honored by their commitment to serve,” YWCA Clinton Executive Director Shannon Sander-Welzien said.

Women serving on the YWCA Board of Directors has been an integral part of YWCA Clinton, serving on program and administrative committees, volunteering in numerous ways and making policy. Having a women-only board is mandated by YWCA USA bylaws, a requirement originally created to ensure women had the opportunity to serve in this type of executive capacity free from the threat of gender discrimination. YWCA Clinton petitioned for an exception to this requirement and received approval for the change earlier this year.

“Men have always been involved in YWCA Clinton as employees, department directors, volunteers, and committee members. Now, however, we are able to invite them to the board room,” said Sander-Welzien. “Pursuing a gender-neutral board membership has been on our agenda since 2013. The process to apply was simplified in 2018, so we are now looking forward to having more diversity of experience on our board. More importantly, as we work to advance our mission, women and men will be working alongside one another to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all."

For 104 years, the Board of Directors has guided YWCA Clinton through many changes, resulting in growth and expanded programs meeting the needs of the community.

“The YWCA Staff and Board of Directors work in tandem to provide programs and services that are unduplicated in our community," Sander-Welzien said. "We are proud to make a positive impact in the lives of the people that grace our facility each day. We are a place where families experiencing homelessness in our community can come to find safe, permanent housing. A place that families working second-shift can rely on to provide quality, affordable childcare as they try to make ends meet. A place that makes people feel welcomed as they take active steps towards improving their health. Together, we are on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families and strengthen our community. The board and staff of the YWCA work very hard and are truly dedicated to living this mission every day.”

For more information about YWCA programs or volunteer opportunities, contact the YWCA at 242-2110. Information may also be found on the YWCA website at ywcaclinton.org.