Equity Institute

Equity Summit

Evanston and the North Shore are some of the most desirable places to live in our region. But our communities and systems are not always set up to give everyone an equal chance to succeed.

Over the last 10 years, YWCA has created space for our neighbors and partners to begin difficult conversations around race, gender, and injustice. We have heard people’s struggles to meet the changing needs of our communities. It’s clear from conversations at every level—national to grassroots—the time for change is now.

The Equity Institute brings people together and elevates the voices and experiences of those who haven't had a seat at the table, so that we can arrive at solutions together.

How will we increase equity?

The inequities we face are deep-rooted and pervasive—the result of a legacy of systemic racism and oppression that began long before us. 

There is no single approach to address this complex challenge. Real change requires action across four levels:

  • Individuals:  Empowering people to recognize the forces of inequity and take action to counter them
  • Organizations: Shaping equitable institutional practices 
  • Communities: Building inclusive, welcoming societies 
  • Systems: Changing and creating laws and policies to benefit many, not just a few

We work alongside members of our communities to create and advance solutions across all four levels.

What we offer:

Change starts with each of us. If you want to champion equity in your community or workplace, YWCA is here to help you.


Customized consultation for businesses and organizations. Our team works with you to assess all aspects of your workplace—recruitment, hiring, employee engagement, client experience, HR policies, and more—through an equity lens. We create detailed action plans, provide custom training, and follow up to evaluate progress with you. 


Open to groups and individuals who want to deepen their understanding of equity and learn actions they can take to level the playing field.


Annual program featuring speakers, learning sessions, and collective action—open to all!


Public policy agenda supports laws that advance racial and gender equity.

We invite you to contact Equity Institute Director Tiffany McDowell (847-864-8445) to learn more. And we encourage you to live the mission with us.