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February 21, 2024
CWAH History


In 1988, Community Women Against Hardship (CWAH) was co-founded by Gloria L. Taylor and by the late Betty J. Lee. At that time, both were employed by the Chancellor of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Dr. Marquerite Ross Barnett. Taylor, while reading a report about the poverty line in the City of St. Louis, joined Lee, a respected journalist, in providing educational and developmental programs for families through our newly created Family Support Center located at 3963 West Belle Place. The Center represented the first permanent home for CWAH and is where we are located today. The building housing the Center was purchased from the City of St. Louis for $1 and completely renovated with more than $800,000 in cash and in-kind donations. 
Skilled volunteers donated over 30,000 hours to assist with the renovation. The Center has allowed us to increase the number of families we serve annually from 30 to over 500, with the average family having 5 to 6 children. Since 1988, CWAH has provided services to over 8,000 men, women, and children. It is important to note that one of our former clients of CWAH, who came to us needing a GED, went on to further her education and now holds a Doctorate of Education degree and is on our Board of Directors. The CWAH Family Support Center houses a library, a computer lab, a music laboratory, a warehouse (of donated furniture, appliances, and various household items), a clothing boutique, and a food pantry. All educational and developmental classes are held at the Center.
Helping children achieve success begins with helping parents become successful. Community Women Against Hardship's Parent Opportunity Program helps low- to moderate-income families gain success in the most important ways that support children: achieving economic and personal stability, improving their standard of living, and becoming better parents and strong, stable community members. Participants identify, set, and ultimately meet goals through engaging in our educational and developmental classes which focus on interpersonal and family relationships, education, job readiness, entrepreneurship, personal fitness, nutrition, and mental health. Our approach, focusing on quality and not quantity, ensures greater success and results in improved self-efficacy, parenting skills, community involvement, and initiative in the lives of women and men, who then positively impact families and the larger community.
Awards and Recognitions


St. Charles Lwanga Center – Torchbearer Award for Service To The Community


The Royal Vagabond Club


Christian Embassy Church Harvest Fest Recipient


Encore.org Everyday Heroes

YMCA Lifetime Achievement Award


St. Louis American, Lifetime Achievement Award Caring for the Community           

Excellent Community Service Award is given by “Our Second Act” 


St. Louis Empowerment Charitable Leadership Award, for her dedicated service and leadership to the St Louis community and legacy of charitable and civic work to the entire St. Louis region.

President’s Volunteer Service Award, for helping to address the most pressing needs of the country and her community.


CWAH Founder, Gloria Taylor was presented, along with other individuals, The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Non-Violence St. Louis Support Group Award. This award was given in recognition of the late Tyrone L. Thompson, who was the past president of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Non-Violence St. Louis Support Group.


CWAH Founder Gloria Taylor was honored as one of the 10 Chapter Champions at The African American chapter of the University of Missouri-St Louis' Alumni Association, celebrating its 25th anniversary. 

CWAH Founder Gloria Taylor was chosen as one of seven leaders of an organization to receive a Community Service Award that focused on the value of mentoring.
"Mentoring Saves Lives" from the Epsilon Lambda Charitable Foundation and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
CWAH Founder Gloria Taylor was honored as an "Everyday Hero" (making St. Louis a better place) for her outstanding service to the community, awarded by Verizon at the Urban League.

A Letter from the White House: First Lady Michelle Obama. (Founder Gloria Taylor wrote to the White House about the importance of volunteerism and community service. The First Lady echoed her sentiments in a response letter.)

Great Nonprofit Recognition (CWAH was recognized as one of the Top Rated Women's Empowerment Nonprofits by Great Nonprofits, a nationally recognized organization in this field).

The St. Louis Gateway Classics Sports Foundation African American Citizens of the Year Award recognizes and pays tribute to those individuals in the greater metropolitan St. Louis area who have made significant contributions to the community and/or their respective areas of work.

A Proclamation Award from Senator Robin Wright-Jones from the Missouri State Senate for making a difference in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. 74th Central Regional Conference 
ESP Centennial Platform Award 

CHUMS Inc. St. Louis Chapter Rose Award for making a difference in the community.  

Top Ladies of Distinction Confluence Chapter Award in appreciation for serving communities in St. Louis.

The Professional Organization of Women (POW) in honor of the 5th Annual African  American Women of Distinction Award. 

Traditional Home Magazine's Classic Women Award in recognition of exemplary volunteerism & outstanding contributions to the community.

Outstanding Community Service Award (The 21st Annual Unity Ball)

Mothers of Merit Award for Outstanding Service as a Career Woman for serving over 5,000 women and children.

Safeco’s Ruby Award honors individual leaders who have made extraordinary contributions to local non-profits and their communities. “Ruby Recipients are "beacons of light" in their community.

The Gateway Chapter Woman of Worth Award in Honor of Women  

St. Louis ARGUS Distinguished Citizens Award

The St. Louis American Stellar Performance Award (12th Annual Salute to Excellence Awards Banquet).

National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa Inc. Alpha Nu Chapter Community Service Award for efforts to promote human understanding and the inherent worth of all people.
Outstanding Community Service Award (The National Association of Black Accountants, St. Louis Metropolitan Chapter).


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Life and Legacy Award (the award commemorates the cause for humanity so that all Americans may benefit and progress in peace and harmony).