The Nonprofit’s NEXT! Centennial Celebration Honors its Legacy, Inaugurates Nine Women Leaders as Ceiling Breakers and Ushers in Plan for Next Century
MIAMI – (June 4, 2021) — YWCA South Florida marked its past and future efforts to eliminate racism and empower women during its NEXT! Centennial Celebration on Thursday, June 3. The milestone was virtually produced and watched by as many as 150 members of the community.
eMerge Americas’ President and long-time YWCA South Florida supporter, Melissa Medina, kicked off the commemorative program with a reflection on the organization’s rich 100-year history of fighting for social equity. With the help of a series of historical videos narrated through the voices of their legacy leaders, viewers got a front-row seat to watch how YWCA South Florida stood at the forefront of some of the most critical social movements in history while addressing the tremendous need for civil, social and economic justice in the community.
The dynamic event continued with a special inauguration of the first delegation of YWCA South Florida’s Honor Roll, titled “The First, but Not the Last, Women Leaders of South Florida.” The following nine women were honored as trailblazers for the glass ceilings they have broken for women and people of color across South Florida:
- Miami-Dade County Mayor, Daniella Levine-Cava
- Miami-Dade County 11th Circuit Court, Chief Judge Bertila Soto
- Southern District of Florida Senior Judge, Patricia A. Seitz
- Broward County Commissioner, Barbara Sharief
- Celebrity Cruises CEO, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo
- Miami Herald Executive Editor, Monica Richardson
- Miami Dade College President, Madeline Pumariega
- FPL Director of External Affairs, Juliet Roulhac
- AARP Board of Directors National Chair, Annette Franqui
At the event’s grand finale, YWCA South Florida President and CEO Kerry-Ann Royes delivered an inspiring speech outlining the organization’s ambitious pledge to invigorate women’s economic freedom and heal structural inequities for the next century.
“As we look ‘100 Years Forward,’ our north star will shine bright—to carry on the legacy of social action as a fearless institution of race and gender justice,” said Royes. “We’ve always known when it’s time to lean in, and the next century is no different.”
Royes affirmed YWCA South Florida’s immediate focus areas, starting with the expansion and advancement of its racial and economic justice work. Among their racial justice priorities is establishing the Office of Race & Gender Equity Advancement to enhance programming that builds youth, community, corporate and systems equity. Their economic justice goals include mobilizing its Economic Justice Council, in partnership with Kaufman Rossin and other corporate leaders, to place over 300 women of color into the workforce in the next two years and examine the way these leaders equitably transform corporate culture. Together with Kaufman Rossin, Anthem Health, Microsoft and McKenzie Scott, YWCA South Florida is also launching a Women’s Equity Success Fund, which will focus $100,000 to remove financial barriers—including childcare, transportation and healthcare costs—commonly experienced by women of color in the workforce.
Additionally, Royes announced the launch of a transformative new development project in partnership with 13 Pista and Bilzin Sumberg. The development, appointed as the area’s first “Social Innovation Village,” will be housed on YWCA’s Miami Gardens Intergenerational Center with groundbreaking scheduled for late 2021. The Village will serve as a model of collective impact for resident nonprofits, including The Arc, HisHouse Children’s Home and Center for Family and Child Enrichment, with plans to reimagine service with dignity and equity at the forefront.
Sponsors of the evening celebration included Holland and Knight, AARP, FPL, Health Foundation of South Florida, The Miami Herald, Northern Trust, Sapoznik, Bilzin Sumberg, Stearns Weaver Miller, Celebrity Cruises, Apollo Bank, rbb Communications, Karen Gilmore, BankUnited, N.A., UKG, Kaufman Rossin, The Children’s Movement of Florida, McDermott Will & Emery, Miami Dade College and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally A. Heyman.
For more information on YWCA South Florida and their work to eliminate issues that disproportionately affect women and people of color, please visit their website at ywcasouthflorida.org, or follow along for updates on their social channels, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, at @ywcasouthfl. To become an advocate for its mission, supporters can join YWCA South Florida’s growing network of Justice Movers here.
About YWCA South Florida
Now in its 100th year, YWCA South Florida is committed to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Affirming the motto, “Everything for HER,” YWCA South Florida is a leading voice for women, girls and all marginalized individuals across South Florida. Programs and services in economic empowerment, women’s health and safety, early education and youth development seek to eliminate the social justice issues that disproportionately affect women and people of color. Find out more at YWCASouthFlorida.org. Follow YWCA South Florida on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.