Today is Equal Pay Day

Today, Tuesday April 8, 2014 is Equal Pay Day. Observed since 1996, Equal Pay Day is dedicated to raising awareness on the staggering gap between men’s and women’s wages. A woman must work from January 1, 2013 until today, April 8, 2014, to make the same amount of money her male counterpart did in 2013. This disparity affects not only women but society as a whole.

According to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, the median earnings for U.S. women working full time, year-round were just 77% of U.S. men’s median earnings – a gap of 23%. This means that on average, a woman working full time is paid $11,608 less per year in median earnings. A woman would have to work more than twelve years longer to make up this gap. The wage gap is even wider for women of color. Black and Hispanic women receive 64 cents and 54 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to a white male.

In her latest report, former California first lady Maria Shriver and her research associates offer a look at the status of women in this country, especially as it pertains to wages, child care and economic stability. The report found that if women received equal pay to their male counterparts, the U.S. economy would produce $447.6 billion in additional income. Where’s the common sense in not making that a reality?

And as much as we’d like to think that higher education can level the playing field, it doesn’t.

The report says: “According to a recent study by the American Association of University Women, one year after graduation, college-educated women earn an average of about 7 percent less than men, even when both went to the same kind of school, studied the same major, and now work full time, the same number of hours per week, in the same kind of job.”

So what can we do?

Start a conversation. Today at the YWCA, members of the staff are wearing red to start the conversation. If women are going to be “in the red,” we might as well wear it proudly to show our determination to end the wage gap. By starting the conversation with your friends, colleagues and family, you can help educate others on the wide reaching effects of this disparity.

Make your voice heard with your vote. Women make up the majority of American voters. We do have a voice and we can make a difference. Minnesota voter registration can be found here. North Dakota is the only state without voter registration.

Voice your opinion with your money and where you spend it. Women also make the majority of economic decisions as consumers in our country.

Speak up! If you are a woman in management, you are in a position to advocate for all women. Engage men who “get it” as allies. And if you’re a man who agrees, share your opinions and this information. We may be talking about your wife, your daughters, your sisters … maybe your mother.

As Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of, says: “Women deserve better – and must demand better – so that the benefits of achieving equality can be felt by all. When women thrive, our nation thrives.”

Annual Women of the Year Postponed

After much consideration, lengthy discussion and consultation with weather experts, the YWCA Cass Clay has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2014 Women of the Year event previously scheduled for tonight, Monday, March 31 at the Fargo Holiday Inn.  The event is designed as a night to honor 26 wonderful women and organizations for the positive impact they have made in our community.  To help ensure all who want to celebrate these women are able to attend safely, the event has been rescheduled to Monday, April 21, 2014 at the Fargo Holiday Inn.  Tickets purchased previously will be honored.

“The YWCA has elected to postpone Women of the Year out of concern for the safety of all who would attend,” said Erin Prochnow, YWCA Executive Director. “We are thankful to the vendors and event sponsors for their flexibility in rescheduling the event to Monday, April 21.  Although we’d like to celebrate tonight, this change is good news if you weren’t able to attend tonight but are able to celebrate with us on April 21!”

The YWCA Cass Clay will celebrate the accomplishments of these twenty-six women and organizations at the Women of the Year event rescheduled for Monday, April 21, 2014 at the Fargo Holiday Inn.  Social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m., with a dinner and program starting at 6:30 p.m. All nominees will be honored and the evening will culminate with the announcement of recipients in 12 categories.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the rescheduled event, please call (701) 232-2547 or visit  Proceeds from this event financially support the mission and programs of the YWCA Cass Clay.


Join the YWCA at Women of the Year

The YWCA Cass Clay will host the 41st annual Women of the Year event on Monday, March 31 at the Fargo Holiday Inn. This special occasion honors women and organizations whose passion and service inspire and shape the Cass-Clay community. In 2014, the YWCA will honor the twenty-six women and organizations nominated in twelve categories.

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of the nominees on Monday, March 31. The social hour, including a wine raffle featuring a variety of prizes, begins at 5:30 p.m., with the dinner and program starting at 6:30 p.m. All nominees will be honored and the evening will culminate with the announcement of the recipients.

Tickets to the 41st annual event are $75 and a portion of each ticket is a tax deductible donation to the YWCA.  Proceeds from this event financially support the mission and programs of the YWCA Cass Clay.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please call (701) 232-2547 or visit

Announcing…the 2014 Women of the Year Nominees

The YWCA Cass Clay is proud to announce the 2014 Women of the Year Nominees!

Recognizing area women since 1973, the Women of the Year event celebrates and pays tribute to women and organizations whose lives, talents and passions have shaped our community.  The twenty-six women and organizations nominated in 2014 embody what it means to be YWCA Women of the Year: Passion. Service. Inspiration.  All have demonstrated passion for their community, service to women and children, and are an inspiration to others.

It is our privilege to honor these outstanding women and organizations at YWCA’s annual Women of the Year event on Monday, March 31 at the Fargo Holiday Inn.  Please join us in celebrating their accomplishments as we honor the following 26 nominees and culminate the evening with the announcement of this year’s recipients.  For tickets, call 701-232.2547 or visit for more information.

Congratulations to the 26 women and organizations nominated!

Holly (Boub) Reinhardt (Sanford Health, Manager- Cardiac Rehab and Sanford Center for Screening)

Jodi Buchholz (DFC Consultants, Vice President of Business Services)

Deb Dondoneau (Fargo South High School, Teacher of Emotionally Challenged)

Eide Bailly LLP 

Susie Ekberg Risher (Self Employed)

Fargo West Rotary 

Teresa Gilbertson (Northwest Martial Arts Academy, Master)

Jane Greminger (Nokomis Child Care Centers of The Village Family Service, Center Director)

Sue Grundysen (The Village Family Service Center, Pregnancy Counseling & Adoption Program Director)

Amy Herrick (Discovery Middle School, Assistant Principal)

Anita Hoffarth (Reach Partners, Inc., Owner)

Dr. Mary Holm (Essentia Health, M.D.)

Carol Johnson (Ramada Plaza & Suites, General Manager)

Michelle Killoran (Scheels, CFO)

Gerri Leach (Jail Chaplains, Executive Director)

DeAnne Mason (Prudential Premier Real Estate, Realtor)

Annise Montplaisir (NDSU Student)

Bonnie Peters (Riverview Place, Marketing/Resident Relations Director)

Heather Ranck (U.S. Department of Commerce, Int’l Trade Specialist)

Carolyn Sanftleben (Relaxation Plus, Owner)

Lisa Schwinden (Fargo Park District, Osgood Golf Course, Head Professional)

LaVerne Seefeld (Retired)

Karey Stirling (Sanford Health, Director of Clinic Operations)

Karen Swanson (Sanford Health Peds ICU, RN, Clinical Care Supervisor)

Jane Taber (Sanford Medical Center, Emergency Center Director)

Andrea Wagner (Concordia College, Online Designer)

Open your heart to ours: Choose YWCA on Giving Hearts Day

The YWCA Cass Clay is grateful to again participate in Giving Hearts Day, a one-day on-line fundraising event jointly hosted by Dakota Medical Foundation and Impact Foundation.

With the generosity of people like you, the YWCA served over 1300 women and children in 2013, as they escaped domestic violence, homelessness and emergency situations.

Without judgment, we offered safe shelter, food, education, employment and support services, on each woman’s journey to independence. At the heart of this journey is our mission: peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

On this Giving Hearts Day – February 13, 2014 – please open your heart to ours. Donations of $10 or more will be matched. 

Everyone deserves to feel safe. To be heard. And to feel loved.

Choose the YWCA on Giving Hearts Days.

Give at

Finding the courage to take back control

Reba*, 12 year old son Austin*, and 9 year old son Robbie* do the usual things: homework, family dinners, household chores, but this wasn’t always what life looked like for them. Before, their lives were filled with hunger, fear, nightmares and abuse. Before, they were prisoners in their own home.

Reba’s husband, Kyle* controlled every aspect of her life. Kyle wouldn’t allow Reba access to their money. He wouldn’t let her have a job. When Reba’s mother sent her money, Kyle would take it. Kyle refused to allow Reba to use the money from her mother to purchase clothing for their sons. Even though Reba qualified for food assistance, Kyle denied food for her and their children. He used her food assistance to get food solely for himself. Kyle hid the family’s birth certificates and other legal documents so Reba and the kids would not leave.

If Reba displeased him, Kyle would beat her. He often left Reba bruised and bloodied. He not only left physical scars, but humiliated her by abusing her in front of others. Kyle’s mother, brother, and sister often witnessed the abuse and did nothing. Reba never told the police because she was afraid her husband would kill her. Kyle used to threaten Reba: “You’re never going to leave me, you don’t have anywhere to go.

When Reba learned of the YWCA, she knew that she did, in fact, have somewhere to go.

Reba summoned her courage to leave Kyle and his abuse. She took the boys to the YWCA Emergency Shelter. At the YWCA, she worked with her advocate to connect with legal counsel, transitional housing, food, education and support for her sons. Reba found hope. She was able to get back on her feet, reclaim their important legal documents, reconnect with her own mother and get a secure apartment that is now their home. Her sons are enrolled in school, have made friends and are happy.

“My life changed when I found the YWCA,” Reba said. “They helped me and my sons begin a new life with good memories, friends, and confidence. Now I am in control of my own life.”

Reba gets hugs from her sons Austin and Robbie

Reba gets hugs from her sons Austin and Robbie

*Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.

Who in our community inspires you?

Do you know a woman who lends her hand to those in need, inspires her students, advocates for others or makes our community a better place to live? Do you know a business or organization that empowers women? Nominate them to be a 2014 Women of the Year!

Recognizing area women since 1973, the Women of the Year event celebrates and honors women and businesses whose passion and service shape our community.

Now through Monday, February 17, the YWCA is accepting nominations of women and businesses in the Cass-Clay community. Women of the Year recipients will be named during the event to be held on Monday, March 31 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fargo Holiday Inn.

This leads us to ask: who in our community inspires you? Maybe it’s a co-worker, friend, relative, or teacher. Maybe it’s someone you’ve looked up to your entire life, or someone you’ve recently met. As you think about it, please consider nominating an outstanding woman or business to be recognized in one of the following twelve categories:

Categories for Individuals

  • Advocating for Equality
  • Arts & Communication
  • Business
  • Community Service
  • Education
  • Faith Community
  • Florence Reed Owens (Lifetime Achievement)
  • Volunteer Service
  • Wellness
  • Young Woman of Today & Tomorrow (ages 15-22)
  • Youth Advocacy

Category for Businesses

  • Business/Organization that Empowers Women

Nomination forms are available on our website by clicking here. Forms are also available at our administrative offices, located at 3100 12th Ave. N. in Fargo. Please call (701) 232-2547 or email with any questions.

YWCA's Women of the Year

Stuff the Bus- Help the YWCA

At the YWCA, this week is a flurry of holiday activity.  The YWCA Emergency Shelter is preparing for the annual Unique Boutique event on Friday, December 13 where women and children utilizing the services of the YWCA are able to shop for presents for their family members.  Plans are underway for the annual Client Party on December 19 where the women and children in YWCA programs will celebrate the holiday season.  If you can spare a little time to help others, we still need a few volunteer “elves” to make these extraordinary experiences possible!

This week also marks a fun and special event that benefits the women and children at the YWCA Emergency Shelter for the holidays. KFGO and Y94 are teaming up once again for Stuff the Bus 2013. Today and tomorrow (December 11 and 12), MatBus is generously providing a bus to be stuffed with donations for residents of the Emergency Shelter, as well as goods for the Red River Children’s Advocacy Center’s Kids Closet.

The bus will be cruising around the Fargo-Moorhead Area and will make stops at Heritage Homes, the Fargodome, the Moorhead Center Mall, the US Bank Plaza and the Midwest Communication studios at various times throughout Wednesday and Thursday. Visit the KFGO or Y94 website for inormation on where the bus will be when, more details on items being collected and information about the Stuff the Bus event.

By dropping off gift items at Stuff the Bus, you allow the women and children at the YWCA the chance to have happy holidays this year. Thank you to our friends at KFGO, Y94, and MatBus for making this unique event possible!

Stuff the Bus

YWCA is in need of some Elves for Christmas

With the arrival of winter weather this week, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Fargo-Moorhead!  For many this means it’s time to break out the Christmas tree, bake cookies and travel from store to store to select the perfect presents for our family and friends.

To the residents of the YWCA Emergency Shelter, the holiday season looks a bit different. The women calling the shelter home this winter haven’t always had the basics of food, shelter, or safety as a part of their reality. They dream of giving their children the gift they’ve been wishing for this year, but the reality is they have been struggling to provide their families with what they need.

This holiday season, the YWCA needs your help to ensure that no woman or child has to go without Christmas.  The YWCA Cass Clay has two special ways you can brighten the holiday season for women and children in our community.

The YWCA’s annual Unique Boutique event is Friday, December 13. Families utilizing the services of the YWCA are able to shop for presents for their immediate family members at Unique Boutique. Donations of new gifts, wrapping supplies, and volunteering before and during the event are needed. Gifts should be delivered to the shelter by tomorrow, Friday, December 6. Volunteers are needed for this event- visit here to sign up.

Holiday parties are a highlight for many during the Christmas season and it’s no different for the women and children in YWCA programs who are eagerly looking forward to the annual Client Party on December 19th. The event includes fun outings for the kids, a special meal for the women and holiday entertainment for everyone. During this event, volunteers are needed to help with childcare, kitchen assistants, kitchen cleanup, and servers. To sign up to volunteer, visit here.

Whether you give monetary donations, gift donations, or donate your time volunteering, your actions will help make this time of year special for those who need it. Thank you for your dedication to helping women and children in our community.

It just got a whole lot easier to help women & children in need

Today, the YWCA Cass Clay, Savers, and Stop-N-Go unveiled a new community donation bin program as part of an expanded partnership aimed to make it easier for community members to help local women and children in need. Beginning this week, new orange donation bins are located at Stop-N-Gos throughout the Fargo-Moorhead area and at both YWCA locations.

New Donations Bin

New donation bins can be found at Stop-N-Gos throughout the Fargo-Moorhead area and at both YWCA locations.

These new donation bins will give community members the opportunity to donate clothing and miscellaneous household items at your convenience.  In addition to making donating convenient and keeping usable items out of local landfills, this expanded partnership with Savers and Stop-N-Go will help the YWCA better meet the needs of women and children. 

Often women come to the YWCA with nothing- an unfortunate reality since many are escaping violence and homelessness. Rather than choosing from the limited items the YWCA has on hand, women will now have a more empowering opportunity to shop for clothes from Savers, which has a much wider variety.

In 2012, the YWCA Cass Clay served 1,482 women and children. For every item donated in the new orange bins, Savers will make a cash contribution to the YWCA to continue to help families in need.

Savers has partnered with the YWCA Cass Clay for years and today we’re thrilled to expand our relationship by offering community members even more ways to donate and support the YWCA,” said Kara Williams, manager of Midwest Regional Partner Relations for Savers. “Their programs advocate for and provide crucial services to women in the Fargo community, and we couldn’t be happier to help support their mission.”

To see a complete list of donation bin locations, see the map below or visit here.  To see a complete list of requested items, please visit Savers website.

Community Donation Bins Map