Supporting Our Community since 1870

In 1870, Black churchwomen in Philadelphia developed the institution that has become Southwest Belmont Community Association, Inc. First called the Colored Women’s Christian Association, its purpose was tied to the recent emancipation of Black people following the U.S. Civil War. It was founded to provide a haven for single, young, Black women coming to Philadelphia from rural areas seeking a better life and intent on taking advantage of opportunities growing out of the blossoming industrial age.

Ever since, SWBCA has had a rich history in the Philadelphia community continuing the legacy of the Colored Women's Christian Association through many transitions. A crisis led to a major restructuring of the organization in 1994 which led to it becoming the independent, non-profit organization that it is today.

During the crisis, Anne Marquess Garrott, an organization affiliate for more than fifty years, was the driving force to sustain the organization and its core programs: leadership development for women and youth to learn and grow, after school and summer camps for youth; and cultural arts built on the Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame which recognizes outstanding Black women from this community.

SWBCA honors the late Mrs. Garrott with the establishment of the Anne Garrott Leadership Scholarship Endowment. This endowment provides scholarships and assistance to students and educational programs.

1912 YWCA at 1605 Catharine Street
1912 YWCA at 1605 Catharine Street
anne m garrott
Anne M. Garrott

Serving Our Community

SWBCA has wonderful programs that continue the legacy of the Colored Women’s Christian Association and Anne M. Garrott. Join us in our efforts to empower youth, adults and families to promote a positive self-image and to develop their capacity to be effective leaders, communicate with efficacy, and strengthen family systems.