Raleigh, N.C. — The YWCA of the Greater Triangle closed its downtown Raleigh location Wednesday after more than a century of service to women on the Triangle.
The YWCA is one of the nation's oldest and largest women's organizations and its Triangle chapter has been working to empower women and eliminate racism since 1901.
But, after 110 years, organization officials said financial challenges have forced it to close.
In a press release Wednesday, officials cited a "shrinking pool of available grants and a decrease in government and corporate funding forced us to downsize and eliminate programs that are no longer financially viable."
"We tried and tried everything we can think of and ultimately, we didn't see a light at the end of the tunnel," YWCA Board Vice President Debby Warren said.
The YWCA had four core programs: education advocacy, study circles and youth development; economic empowerment and self-sufficiency; health care access and health education; and supportive services for seniors.
"I think it's bad that they're doing it to the children of this county. I think it's terrible," parent Lori Kleeberg said.
Elementary school student Carlayasia Weaver had been going to the YWCA for a year.
"I'm missing my friends. It's just good here," she said.
Geraldine Lewis said she and other YWCA employees were given less than 24 hours notice of the closure.
"I moved down from New Jersey to get a fresh start. This is not what I moved for. It didn't turn out to be good," Lewis said.
The organization is looking for community partners to continue running some its current programs.
Neighbor Anita Keith said she was shocked at the closing.
"There's so many memories of dances, meetings, weddings," she said.