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YWCA of Genesee County

Millie Tomidy-Pepper announces retirement from YWCA

By Press Release

Press Release:

Submitted photo of 
Millie Tomidy-Pepper

The YWCA of Genesee County Board of Directors is announcing that Executive Director, Millie Tomidy-Pepper will be retiring from her position on Sept. 30. Board of Directors President Christi Waldron says the board has formed a search committee and is actively working towards finding Millie’s successor to facilitate a smooth leadership transition.

Waldron says, “For over five years, Millie has truly embodied the mission of the YWCA of Genesee County. She works diligently alongside staff and board members to ensure our programs reach as many community members as possible. It will be extremely difficult to say goodbye, but the board and I are dedicated to finding the right person to fill her shoes.”

“Millie’s integrity is unquestioned and apparent. It is because of her integrity that the YWCA is respected by both our community/funding partners and by our contributors. She sets the example for board members and staff alike,” says former board treasurer, Linda Rost.

“I have always been passionate about the mission of the YWCA and the work we do, so the decision to move on has been an extremely difficult one. However, I leave knowing that the agency is fiscally strong with excellent programming, dedicated staff, and a board of directors that will continue to move the agency forward. We have worked diligently alongside a very supportive community, and I know that will continue. It has truly been an honor and privilege to lead this historical agency and I am very proud of all that we have accomplished together,” said Millie Tomidy-Pepper.

Millie was hired as Executive Director of the YWCA of Genesee County in 2018. She quickly realized that organizational restructuring was needed to ensure the future of the YWCA and the programs and services it offers to the community.

She brought on all new board members, and together they embarked on a strategic assessment of the organization, which included evaluating programmatic impact and fiscal sustainability.

Building ownership was also evaluated and eventually, a decision was made to sell the YWCA building to Three Little Birds Pediatric Office, a woman-owned business, operated by Dr. Emily Fraser-Branche. The YWCA was able to remain in the building it called home for over 50 years by renting office space from Fraser-Branche. It has been a win-win for all involved!

Simultaneously, Millie focused on the internal infrastructure. A Grant Manager was hired and when additional grant funding was secured, new office computers and replacing the 25-year-old server was top on the list. The main office, domestic violence (DV) offices, and common areas were renovated to be welcoming to clients and customers. 

The extremely popular, “My Sister’s Closet” boutique that provides affordable women’s clothing to DV survivors and the community was relocated within the building and renovated to make a more enjoyable shopping experience for all.

Human Resource Services, Technical Support and Accounting Consulting Services were added to support agency operations. A Bilingual DV Outreach Coordinator position and a Safe House Case Manager position were added to complement the Domestic Violence Program and services we offer. 

The Safe House, which houses survivors of Domestic Violence was renovated initially through a partnership with the Rotary Club of Batavia and thereafter through grant funding and community support. The house provides safety and comfort to families fleeing domestic abuse.

Critical to the mission of the YWCA, under Millie’s tenure, multiple social justice initiatives and programs took place. The YWCA was the host agency for the first Juneteenth Celebration in Batavia, organized by Just Kings, the YWCA hosted yearly Stand Against Racism events, participated in the March for Our Lives event, and hosted “White Fragility”, a workshop to address systemic racism.

Millie also assisted in organizing the first Women’s March in Genesee County, revived a yearly award for local women, renaming the event, “Women of Inspiration”, and honored our founding mothers on the 110-year Anniversary of the YWCA with a Gala Celebration.

Through all this, there was a pandemic and the YWCA’s Domestic Violence Program was critical for the safety of victims during this unprecedented time. Under Millie’s leadership, services continued to be delivered uninterrupted and staff (essential workers) found innovative ways to reach out to individuals in need throughout the pandemic. 

“The staff and community have been critical to the mission of the YWCA and the services we provide. We could not do what we do without them,” says Waldron.

The Board of Directors is currently seeking candidates for the Executive Director Position. Candidates should possess strong fundraising and financial management skills, have the ability to build strong partnerships both internally and externally, and most importantly; live the YWCA mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promote peace, justice, and dignity for all. 

Qualified candidates can submit their cover letter, resume, and three professional references to Board President, Christi Waldron, at for priority consideration by Monday, August 7. To view the job description, please visit

Domestic Violence awareness 5K set for 9 a.m. Saturday at YWCA

By Joanne Beck

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the related Run Until Their Voices are Heard 5K begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at YWCA, 301 North St., Batavia.

Registration is at 8:30 a.m., and the event will take place rain or shine. Fee is $35.

Register at YWCA tomorrow or online

YWCA of Genesee County issues statement on the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota and the outrage it has sparked

By Billie Owens

From Millie Tomidy-Pepper, executive director, YWCA of Genesee County:

We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd, and to the larger Minneapolis and St. Paul community. YWCA continues to be outraged by the violence and deaths of people of color in America due to police brutality.

We at YWCA of Genesee County felt outrage following the death of George Floyd, a black man suffocated by a white police officer earlier this week. We send our condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd and also to the families of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and to all communities of color.

We are also thinking of our sisters and brothers at YWCA Minneapolis and the whole Minneapolis-St. Paul community through this difficult and frightening time.

YWCA Minneapolis’ Midtown location, located in the heart of the area where George Floyd was murdered and the scene of current protests, alongside YWCA St. Paul have served the Twin Cities community for over 100 years. We stand together with the people that we serve and our community stakeholders to eliminate racism and empower women.

This work and our mission are at the core of what we do, and today we lift our collective voices to demand justice.

“George Floyd was one of ours," said Gaye Adams Massey, CEO, YWCA St. Paul. "He took advantage of a training program offered by YWCA St. Paul and, like many of those we partner with, he was taking steps to build a brighter future.

"The anger, anguish, and grief we are feeling in this community are real. And yet, we must channel those emotions into positive action that demands justice, drives change, and most importantly honors his memory."

“We condemn the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Department officers," said Michelle Basham, MPA/ESQ, CEO/president, YWCA Minneapolis. "We have seen this tragedy before.

"Unfortunately, George Floyd is just one of countless other black lives lost to police violence, including that of Jamar Clark and Philando Castile. We must work toward racial justice. And we must work in partnership with others to hold our elected officials and law enforcement accountable.”

Together with YWCA Minneapolis and YWCA St. Paul, over 200 YWCAs across the country unite to answer the cry for justice, peace, and dignity for all. YWCA continues to call for dismantling systemic racism and equal protection and opportunity under the law through its public policy and advocacy work.

At YWCA, we demand a world of equity and human decency. We envision a world of opportunity. We commit ourselves to the work of racial justice.

We will get up and continue to do the work until injustice is rooted out, until institutions are transformed, until the world sees women, girls, and people of color the way we do: Equal. Powerful. Unstoppable.

Three GC nonprofits get money from WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund

By Billie Owens

Press release:

The Western New York COVID-19 Community Response Fund, announced that it has awarded nearly $1 million to an additional 47 nonprofit organizations, bringing the total grant amount from the Fund to $6.6 million, supporting a total of 156 nonprofit organizations.

This collaborative philanthropic effort was created in mid-March in response to the COVID-19 health crisis and has been coordinated by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, The John R. Oishei Foundation and the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County.

Grants were awarded to organizations serving all eight counties of Western New York that are addressing immediate needs in our community as a result of the COVID-19 crisis in the areas of food, housing, healthcare, childcare, mental health, transportation, and other emergency services.

This is expected to be the final phase of grantmaking to individual organizations from the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund. Additional funds raised will provide microgrants ranging from approximately $500 - $2,500 to grassroots organizations in all eight counties. Going forward, the collaborative effort is evolving into a “Build Back Better” initiative to support developing strategies focused on recovery efforts through collaborative systems work to address specific needs such as sourcing personal protective equipment for nonprofits and food security.

The following nonprofit organizations in Genesee County received a grant (amounts not specified) from the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund in May:

  • Arc of Genesee Orleans
  • Project Stork
  • YWCA of Genesee County

“The sudden arrival of the COVID-19 crisis necessitated an immediate response to meet the significant need in the community with everyone working together on solutions," said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, president/CEO of Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. "We are grateful that so many foundations, corporations, community leaders and individuals continue to generously contribute time and resources to support more than 156 organizations to date working on the frontlines at a time of great need."

Robert D. Gioia, president of The John R. Oishei Foundation added, “We are just at the beginning of this crisis and it will take a sustained, collaborative effort to continue to assess critical needs and find new, creative solutions to rebuild our community.”

"It’s clear that COVID-19 will have a long-term, serious impact on the people and communities of Western New York," said Nora OBrien-Suric, Ph.D., president of the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York. "We remain committed to supporting nonprofit organizations in our region as they work tirelessly to meet the evolving needs of the community."

"We are facing unprecedented need and are only just beginning to grapple with the effects caused by COVID-19," said Michael Weiner, president and CEO United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. "Extraordinary times call for an extraordinary response and we will continue to support our community and the nonprofits on the ground throughout this unprecedented crisis."

To date, the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund has raised approximately $7 million from 60 local foundations and private sector companies, more than 40 community leaders and approximately 1,900 individuals. To see a full list of contributors, or to join the effort, please visit  

On April 8, the Fund announced its first round of grants totaling just over $4.5 million to 74 organizations and on April 29, the Fund announced grants totaling $1 million to an additional 35 organizations. To see the full list of grantees, visit

Le Roy's Women of the Moose host Pig Roast Sept. 29 to benefit YWCA of Genesee County

By Billie Owens

Women of the Moose in Le Roy will host a Pig Roast to benefit the YWCA of Genesee County from 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Loyal Order of Moose No. 1132, located at 21 Bank St. in Le Roy.

Open to the public.

There will be basket raffles, prize raffles, and 50/50. Also, the YWCA will be on hand selling their cash raffle tickets for a chance at the Grand Prize of $10,000. Only 200 tickets at $100 apiece will be sold for the Grand Prize. Drawing will be held Dec. 6.

Food: roasted pork, salt potatoes, macaroni salad, corn on the cob, baked beans, roll and butter, dessert. All you can eat; includes a bottle of water. Cash bar. No take-out containers will be provided for in-house dining.

Price: Adults -- $12; Kids 11 and older -- $7; Kids 10 and under eat free.

Tickets available at the Le Roy Moose Lodge or at the YWCA, 301 North St., Batavia; or by calling Martha Bailey at 261-0714.

All proceeds benefit the YWCA of Genesee County to help with the important work they do in our community.

YWCA of Genesee County joins national campaign to reintroduce itself

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Today, YWCA of Genesee County, alongside YWCA USA and more than 220 other YWCAs around the country, launched a brand awareness campaign meant to reintroduce YWCA, share its life-changing work and invite people to join us on our mission to empower women and eliminate racism.

“Our agency has really worked hard to get out into the community, and this awareness campaign will only further our efforts to reach those in need of our services,” Executive Director Jeanne Walton said. “Since domestic violence is not going away, we are excited to be able to serve more victims and survivors, in addition to providing quality, licensed child care to families, in Genesee County.”

YWCA is on a mission
For more than 150 years, YWCA has been at the forefront of the most critical social movements — from voting rights and civil rights, to affordable housing and pay equity, to violence prevention and health care reform. But despite important work being done on the ground by more than 220 local associations across the country, not enough people understood the size, impact or relevance of YWCA.

This organization helps more than 2 million women and children each year in the United States; and worldwide, YWCA serves 25 million women and girls in 120 countries. In the past year the Batavia-based YWCA has:

  • Assisted nearly 800 new people for domestic violence services;
  • Taken 7,353 crisis calls at the Care & Crisis Helpline;
  • Served as a bridge for hundreds of people in the throes of being suicidal to find needed support;
  • Provided safe shelter for 81 women and children fleeing domestic abuse;
  • Established four satellite offices to assist those with domestic violence issues in Byron, Bergen, Darien and Pavilion.

There are still unmet needs. With a population of about 60,000 in Genesee County, it is certain there are still many people to reach with our services. With this brand awareness campaign, we invite the public to join us on a mission, and help even more women, children and families.

YWCA of Genesee County is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families and strengthen our community. For more information about how you can help with this vital effort, go to or call (585) 343-5808.

Organizers of Garden Party awards dinner thankful for community support

By Billie Owens

This was sent in by Barb Toal, Friends of Batavia Peace Garden, and Jeanne Walton, YWCA of Genesee County.



This year for the first time, Friends of Batavia Peace Garden and YWCA of Genesee County combined efforts to throw a fantastic "Garden Party" awards dinner on May 10. We could not have done it without the tremendous and overwhelming support of this wonderful community, and we
offer our heartfelt thanks to all involved.

In attendance was an incredible mix of people from many walks of life, all who were joined together in a mutual effort to support the goal of two organizations: to bring more peace and harmony to our community.

We have learned that a common goal helps to create the common thread that ties us all together to
accomplish great things. Thank you to everyone for helping us to turn our vision into reality.

We can't say it was all easy to merge the desires and goals of two organizations for one big event. But it was a terrific lesson that with change comes challenge, and with challenge comes learning. It was the learning that ultimately gave us the ability to overcome the challenge.

Let’s all learn from our experiences and change the things we often accept without question, because they are familiar and comfortable. That can result in "the greater good," and we all prosper and grow in the end.

Our mantra for the evening, a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, now holds true more than ever: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

Country singer/songwriter Deanna Spiotta performs at The Market at North Street

By Billie Owens

From noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 29, Deanna Spiotta, country singer/songwriter, will be performing live at The Market at North Street.

The county's newest farmer's market is located at the YWCA of Genesee County, Inc., 301 North Street in the City of Batavia.

The market is open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. every Sunday.

Come shop the variety of local vendors and enjoy the beautiful vocal and instrumental talent of our guest musician!

Event Date and Time

5K Run/Walk at GCC to benefit domestic violence prevention and awareness

By Billie Owens

The Honors Program at Genesee Community College will sponsor a "Break the Silence - End the Violence" 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, Sept. 11.

It's at the Batavia campus. Registration starts at 8 a.m. in the college's Forum; running starts at 9.

Registration is $15 per person if registered before Sept. 4, or $20 after.

All proceeds from the run will be donated to the YWCA of Genesee County's Domestic Violence program. Registration costs include a chicken barbeque lunch after the race. (A vegetarian alternative will be provided.)

This event will kick-off the start of Genesee's Honors Program service projects as well as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which starts in October.

"The domestic violence initiative is very dear to my heart," Lori Mould, Honors student at Genesee said. "We hope that community members come out to support this worthy cause and to spread how important domestic violence awareness is."

Pre-sale registration can be made at the Student Activities office of Genesee Community College by calling 343-0055, ext. 6261 or the Genesee County YWCA at 343-5808.

Interested participants may also contact Lori Mould at <>  or

Gretchen Knuth

at <>.

Tuning into the 40's!

By Linda Olson

Come join us on a journey through the 1940's presented by Helen Batchellor.

This event will be held at 7pm on Monday, April 12th 2010, at the YWCA on 301 North Street, Batavia, NY.

Dessert & coffee will be served. Donations are greatly appreciated.

 Please RSVP by phone, (585)343-5808.

(The YWCA of Genesee County is Celebrating 100 Years of Service)

Event Date and Time

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