YWCA International Building Fund is Celebrating 50 Years in 2014!

YWCA International Building Fund is Celebrating 50 Years in 2014!

YWCA members and friends have helped YWCAs in other countries with upgrading and building of program centers and facilities for 50 years. Read the following article by Tracy Yellen, WSC member and Chair of the IBF:


Each year, members of the International Building Fund (IBF) Committee of the YWCA World Service Council (WSC) come together in person or by conference call to review requests from member YWCAs to invest in the buildings that make YWCAs safe and important places for millions of women throughout the world.

YWCA Kindergarten in the Solomon Islands after the fire
YWCA Kindergarten in the Solomon Islands after the fire

History of the IBF
The concept for the IBF began in 1964 when the International Division of the YWCA USA National Board established the “Building Fund for Capital Needs of YWCAs in Other Countries” with an initial $120,000 donation and plans by the YWCA of USA to build the fund with gifts and bequests. It was anticipated that the Fund would be used principally for loans but over time the fund has evolved to include grants as well. The Building Fund Committee made decisions on requests submitted by YWCAs, taking into consideration recommendations from the World YWCA.

Since 1993, the IBF has been under the umbrella of the YWCA World Service Council with funds raised annually by WSC for building projects. In 2003, the WSC transferred $200,000 in fund principal to the World YWCA to manage and invest the principal, providing income that is added to annual donations made to the International Building Fund.

Funding Projects Around the World
YWCAs from throughout the world can apply to the International Building Fund to help build new or repair or restore existing facilities. YWCAs applying for funds go through a rigorous application and review process. They also must adhere to the World YWCA’s Standards of Good Management and Accountability.

Records since 1977 show that the IBF has provided grants and loans for 110 building projects in 44 countries totaling $2,135,186 USD. IBF grants range from $1,000 to $30,000. A recent project completed with help from the IBF was a YWCA Kindergarten in the Solomon Islands. The IBF Committee approved a $22,500 grant to help rebuild the Kindergarten that had been destroyed in a fire leaving the Kindergarten ravaged and the building unsafe. The new building is complete with fire extinguishers on hand to prevent a repeat disaster.

The IBF has left its mark working with YWCAs in countries across the globe including Angola, Argentina, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Guyana, India, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Madagascar, Montserrat, Myanmar, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Portugal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, St. Vincent, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, Uruguay, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

How You Can Help
The need for investments in YWCA facilities continues as YWCAs grow and expand throughout the world. Making a gift to the International Building Fund is one way you can help support the facilities that are home to the YWCAs essential programs and services around the world. As you renew your annual membership in the WSC each year, consider an additional gift to the International Building Fund. Current annual gifts to the IBF range from $100 to over $10,000 a year.

As we celebrate 50 years of building YWCAs through the International Building Fund, help the World Service Council continue this legacy by making an annual and/or testamentary contribution to the IBF.

Donate on-line here.

Or by mailing a check to
YWCA World Service Council
1020 19th Street NW, Suite 750
Washington, DC 20036