The "Maestrapeace" mural on the Women's Building in the Mission.
Who We Are
The Women's Building is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-service center for women and girls. Our mission is to provide women and girls with the tools and resources they need to develop their full potential and participate equally in the governance of their lives and communities. Our vision is a world where power is shared equally and diversity is valued. In our actions, policies, and programs we model this vision.
San Francisco Women's Centers (SFWC) was created in 1971 to act as an incubator for emerging Bay Area women's projects. To minimize the geographic isolation of these organizations, in 1979 SFWC purchased The Women's Building, a four story brick building located in the heart of the Mission district and accessible to low-income women and women of color. During the last twenty years TWB has built a rich legacy as a catalyst for women's community-based development and empowerment, leveraging the use of our facility to foster collaboration and coalitions. We are proud of the role we have played in San Francisco as a community resource, as an incubator, and as a force for social change.
The Women's Building supports the important work of community organizations that provide critical social, advocacy, and cultural services by renting office space at less than half the current market value (totaling over $80,000 a year in rental subsidy). Close proximity of many groups with shared values creates a powerful community center and currently, we are home to Mujeres Unidas Y Activas, the Riley Center, BRAVE People, Children Of Lesbians And Gays Everywhere (COLAGE), SF Chapter of NOW, Purple Moon Dance Project, Women's AIDS Network, Neighbor to Neighbor, and ICON. As neighbors, our tenant groups have a unique opportunity to share information and resources.
Bilingual Information & Referral Service
Information is a powerful tool in our society. Thousands of women and girls (and men) each year call or come to The Women's Building seeking information or a referral to address a need in their life. Our free bilingual (English and Spanish) service provides critical access to resources for employment, housing, health care, domestic violence, childcare and parenting, sexual harassment, and legal services.
The Women's Building provides meeting and event space to more than 100 community groups each year, supporting cultural events, educational forums, advocacy meetings, and support groups. Offering low-cost or free space (we donate an average of $15,000 in space each year) we enable thousands of people each year to participate in events that address a full spectrum of current social and cultural issues. By bringing together groups working on a wide spectrum of social justice issues, we build and link coalitions.
Sponsored Projects Program
We have launched nearly 170 women's endeavors, providing fiscal sponsorship, technical assistance and training in organizational and fund development, financial planning, and publicity. Our support and guidance helps emerging groups develop great ideas into thriving organizations such as The Women's Foundation, the Women's Alcoholism Center, La Casa de las Madres, and the Girls After School Academy.
Maestrapeace -- The Women's Building Mural
The culmination of a multi-cultural, multi-generational collaboration of seven women artists, this spectacular mural is a colorful work of art that sings to our community. As educational as it is inspirational, Maestrapeace is a visual testament to the courageous contributions of women across time and around the world.
Celebration of Craftswomen Crafts fair
We sponsor the country's largest juried women's craftsfair. Held annually at Fort Mason, our Celebration of Craftswomen craftsfair is attended by 20,000 people each year. Through this venue, nearly 300 women artisans are provided economic opportunity and high visibility.
The Women's Building History Project
The Women's Building History Project documents the oral histories of the women who founded The Women's Building and other community activists. A dramatic theater production, "She Rises Like A Building To The Sky," based on these oral histories, is currently in development. An accurate, well documented, properly archived history can be a valuable tool for other communities and future generations.
Reinforce The Dream—The Women's Building Renovations
The Women's Building is underway with a comprehensive seismic retrofit and renovation project. When completed these renovations will ensure that our 86-year old masonry building continues to play a vital role in San Francisco long into the next century. Renovation plans include space for a full-time childcare center; a community cafe; expanded bilingual information and referral services; additional meeting, training, and event facilities; appropriate space for drop-in child-care and short-term crisis intervention; additional office space for community-based organizations; and a two-story community atrium.
National and international visitors come to The Women's Building to behold a model for collaborative social change. If people are talking about issues relevant to low-income women, children, people of color, immigrants and refugees, gays and lesbians, or women over forty, then they are certainly talking about it here. The Women's Building is a place where organizations have been born, coalitions have been created, and lives have been changed. Women from all walks of life, people without welcome elsewhere, have found safe space here as well as the tools they need to achieve self-sufficiency and self-determination. Your assistance, whether as a volunteer, member, or major donor, sustains us and enables us to continue to make a significant impact on the issues that affect women's lives. Thank you for your support!