Founded in 1977, The Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women is one of Tampa Bay’s most venerable nonprofits. Operating continuously for the past 40 years, The Centre for Women, Inc. annually serves thousands of individuals and families through a comprehensive, holistic approach with six distinct yet interrelated programs all focused on empowering women and girls. The Centre is a nonpartisan organization whose mission is to help women in the Tampa Bay region to succeed personally and professionally; when women succeed, their families, neighborhoods, and workplaces benefit.
Our programs and services encourage, educate and empower women. Our dedicated staff and loyal volunteers are involved in helping more than 3,000 people each year through our programs and services: The Women’s Business Centre; Employment Services; Counseling & Wellness; The Centre for Girls; Construction Services, Senior Home Improvement Program (SHIP) for home repairs for low-income seniors and Women Building Futures, teaching women the trades.
Our founder was an iconic champion for women and civil rights. The late Helen Gordon Davis was the first woman from Hillsborough County elected to the Florida House of Representatives; she opened doors for women and minorities, confronting inequalities with poise and determination. Mrs. Davis, a fearless legislator, was revered by many in the Tampa Bay area. In 1952, she was the first white woman in Florida to join the NAACP at a time of civil unrest in the South. She established the Centre for Women as “The Women’s Survival Centre” to help women become financially independent. Her vision and foresight has made it possible for The Centre for Women to help more than 80,000 individuals to lead more successful and fulfilling lives.
Top to bottom: Helen at Florida Legislature demanding to be heard by the Speaker of the House. She stood defiantly for seven hours until she was allowed to speak.
Helen, on left, when we officially became The Centre for Women, at our main location at 305 S. Hyde Park Avenue
Helen with former Mayor of Tampa Dick Greco.