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YWCA Bradford Executive Director to leave in August

  • 4 mins

The YWCA Bradford is in the process of navigating leadership changes in the coming
months due to retirements and career changes. Vanessa Castano, executive director of
the YWCA Bradford, will be departing in August. Under her leadership, the YWCA
Bradford has seen a significant increase in grant awards and endowment funds and has
broadly expanded its community presence. The strong presence of the YWCA has been
noted by Daniel Wertz, Administrator for McKean County Health and Human Services:
“Vanessa really believes that everyone has a lot of potential and that we can make great
things happen when we all work together. Because of her dedication, the YWCA is a
trusted community partner which contributes to making our neighborhoods better places
for all so they can pursue their dreams.” In recent years, Vanessa successfully led the
YWCA Bradford through a capital campaign for the construction of a new programs and
services building, opening soon on Congress Street.
Vanessa has been an invaluable asset to our organization for the past nine years and
contributed significantly to our collective success. The YWCA Bradford expanded all
programs during this time. Housing and Employment Services made its shelter space,
previously for women and children only, available to all genders, and increased
accessibility. The Victims Resource Center has also expanded its services to include
rapid rehousing and transitional living services for domestic violence victims. With the
addition of a donated property, Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Services
has been able to provide affordable rentals and support for men with mental illness.
Moreover, the YWCA created its first development and marketing program and
implemented uniform guidance procedures for financial accountability. With Vanessa,
the YWCA successfully navigated the global COVID-19 pandemic with two shelters and
at-home services.
“Vanessa has been a strategic, visionary leader for the YWCA. Her dedication to the
mission of the YWCA is inspiring, and we are better for having had the opportunity to
work with her. Vanessa’s attention to detail and willingness to think creatively brought
our organization national recognition and raised it to a level of excellence that was
recognized with a seven-figure gift from a globally known philanthropist,” said Katherine
Randall, YWCA Board President. During Vanessa’s tenure, the Board of Directors has
reengaged in regular strategic planning, annual retreats that further understanding and

education of YWCA services, and has transitioned to a gender-neutral membership,
recruiting the first man as a director in the agency’s 109 year history. We are fortunate
to have a strong board of directors and robust systems in place as we seek a new
executive director.
“Vanessa is the definition of community! Her vision and dedication to the YWCA over
the past nine years is formidable and is evident in the numerous vital programs that
serve McKean County. She has been a humble champion for individuals in need,
always putting them first in her decisions as Executive Director. It has been a true honor
and privilege to have worked with Vanessa and she will certainly leave a void in our
community. We wish Vanessa all the success in her future,” said Mick and Michelle
We hope you will join us in celebrating Vanessa’s tenure. We look forward to sharing the
opening of our new building with you soon.
The YWCA Bradford is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and
promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.