Empowerment starts here

EmBe is a growing, active community partner offering quality and affordable programs, services and opportunities. EmBe has a history rich in being the first to respond to the needs of area women. In its early years as the YWCA, it was a place for girls and women to gather and learn, a place for young women to live, a place to find safety and shelter from violence, a place to provide childcare and early education for children, a place for women and children to grow and be healthy through fitness and aquatics, and a place to develop leadership skills and find friendships. Over the years, many programs and services from which the community still benefits, were developed.


Empowering women and families to enrich lives.


The lives of women and families are better.

In April 2013, the organization changed its name from the YWCA to EmBe. This change came after long, thoughtful consideration. Now as a local organization, EmBe is positioned to serve the community and offer local decisions to local needs for years into the future.

Today, EmBe programming is mission driven and diverse in offerings, including:


Through these programs, EmBe strives every day to achieve a place of empowerment where women succeed, where children and youth strive, where there’s respect for diversity and where contributions are made towards the development of a community that is vibrant and healthy.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors governs EmBe providing leadership and vision to our organization. The board of directors consists of influential women and men of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds ranging from human resources and law to finance and communications.

Anne Rieck McFarland – Chair
Alex Halbach – Vice Chair
Sonja Theisen – Treasurer
Kendra Calhoun – Secretary
Dr. Amy Jacobson Bialas – Past Chair
Karen Lundquist – EmBe CEO
Nancy Fradet

Stacy Giblin
Lisa Irvine
Luke Lindberg
Valerie Loudenback
Michele Wellman

The EmBe Board of Directors and committee members are the connection between the community and our mission. They provide guidance and governance, often offering unique skill sets and support to our staff. If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to contact Karen Lundquist or complete the nomination form. We are actively accepting nominations now, but are always interested in having a conversation about being part of how EmBe serves the region.

Nomination Form

Community Partners

The EmBe vision encompasses collaboration and partnerships as a vehicle to enhance the programs and services our organization provides to the Sioux Falls community. As a supporter of EmBe programs and services, these relationships help to ensure:

  • Women are able to choose a career outside the home because her children have safe, quality childcare in her absence
  • Girls are taught leadership skills that carry with them into adulthood
  • Skill enhancing and fun programs are available to kids throughout the year (i.e. volleyball league, soccer league, summer camps, babysitting camps)
  • Programs are offered on “no school” days allowing parents to maintain a full work day if desired
  • Health and wellness services can be expanded to those that cannot afford the services and to entire families

EmBe Fitness and Aquatics – State-of-the-art fitness space puts the focus on playing together. EmBe has expanded the focus of building healthy habits. In December of 2013, EmBe partnered with GreatLIFE. Through the partnership, EmBe’s multiphase renovation began with an expanded space for fitness and new Precor equipment and a whole new interior look that reflects the energy of its members. This new venture is a fusion of family golf, fitness and recreation that offers an unprecedented value and an opportunity to get together, have fun and get fit – all at a family-friendly price.

Eight percent of EmBe’s total budget comes from United Way contributions. Below are EmBe programs that are partially funded by United Way gifts:

  • Adult Fitness: we offer an adult exercise program that is available for everyone
  • Aquatics: we teach children and adults to swim and to learn important water safety procedures
  • Childcare: we give families safe, affordable childcare services focused on child development
  • Girls on the Run/Girls on Track: we educate and prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living.
  • Youth Recreation: we develop important mobility, flexibility and balance skills through recreational activities for all children

Thank you to the community of Sioux Falls who help support EmBe through their United Way gift.

In December of 2006, the EmBe partnered with Avera McKennan via a naming gift and became EmBe Avera.

With a shared vision, this partnership provides great opportunity in program development and marketing strategy between the two organizations to truly impact the community.

Want to keep up with happenings at EmBe? Sign up today.

Subscribe to the EmBe mailing list and get the information you are looking for.

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Get In Touch

300 West 11th Street

Phone: (605) 336-3660

Fax: (605) 336-2238


Childcare Center
6:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sat Closed
Sun Closed

Fitness Center
Mon-Thur  6:00 am – 9:00 pm
Fri 6:00 am – 6:30pm
Sat 7:00 am – 1:30 pm
Sun Closed

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