On Thursday, May 24, a group of about 70 YW family, friends, board, and staff came together at Homewood in Montford to dedicate the new YWCA Legacy Community. The YW is recognizing friends who have remembered the YW in their will or estate plan with a display of ceramic tiles by Kathy Triplett, the same artist who designed the Capital Campaign tiles in the lobby of the YW.
The Legacy Community was inspired by and is dedicated to the YWCA Booster Club, a courageous group of friends (both African-American and White) who came together in 1976 to supplement the efforts of the Board of Directors, and to support the first African-American board president of the recently integrated YWCA.
The YW has identified 11 members of the Legacy Community. If you have remembered the YWCA of Asheville in your will or estate plan, or would like to discuss that possibility, please call Tami Ruckman, Director of Development, at 254-7206 ext. 206.
History of the YWCA Booster Club
In 1976, twenty-two Black retired YWCA board members formed the YWCA Booster Club to supplement the current board’s efforts and in particular to be a support to the first Black board president, Ollie Reynolds. They were determined to carry on the work of Thelma Caldwell, the first Black Executive Director of a YWCA in the South, who was instrumental in the integration of the two YWCAs. The group formed also to address the need expressed by some Black women to maintain their identity beyond the merger.
In the early 1980s, several White women who had been very committed to the integration of the YWCA were invited to join the Boosters. In addition to supporting YWCA financial needs such as purchasing business equipment, remodeling offices, and providing youth scholarships, this group of women Boosters also organized trips and developed enrichment programs.
While their initial purpose was to support the YWCA, what is remarkable about this group is that they became an interracial group of friends. The YW Boosters did not provide programs or services around diversity, but were simply and profoundly living testaments to a vision of a multicultural community, a beloved community, a community of women who pray for each other, love each other, support each other, and enjoy each other.