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Federation Facts

Mission Statement:
The General Federation of women's clubs is an international women's organization dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service.

Capsule History of GFWC:

Founded in 1890, the General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC) - one of the worlds' oldest nonpartisan, nondenominational women's volunteer service organizations - is well into its second century of volunteer service in communities throughout the United States and the world.

GFWC traces its roots back to Jane Cunningham Croly, and accomplished New Yourk newspaperwoman, who wrote under the pen name of Jennie June. Indignant that she and other women were denied admittance to a a banquet honoring Charles Dickens in 1868 a the all-male New York Press Club simply because they were women, she determined to organize a club for women only.

The name chosen for the  club was Sorosis, a Greek word meaning "Aggregation: a sweet flavor of many fruits."

Although Sorosis' founders originally supposed they were starting new movement, they became aware over the years of the existence of other women's clubs that had formed independently to meet the needs of women in the expanding country.

In 1889, as Sorosis approached its 21st year, Mrs. Corly proposed a conference in New York to bring together delegates from 61 women's clubs. On the last day of the conference, the women took action to form a permanent organization. A committee to draft a constitution and plan of organization to be ratified the following year was chosen, with Sorosis President Ella Dietz Clymer as chairman. The constitution was adopted in April 1890, and the General Federation of Women's Clubs was born. It was chartered in 1901 by the U.S. Congress.

To this day, the middle day of the 1980 organizing conferences - April 24 - is celebrated each year as Federation Day

Goals and Accomplishments

As it unites member clubs, the Federations' goal is to encourage women to improve their skills, expand their rights, and apply their abilities and special sensitivity to the problems of  their communities and nations. Although clubs were originally founded as a means of self-education and development for women, gradually the emphasis changes to community service.

GFWC areas of activity include arts, conservation, education, home life, international affairs and public affairs, as well as other special projects. The Federation has a distinguished record of activity on issues of historical importance and this legacy is continued today.

The banding together of existing clubs in the early 1890's has become an international organization of community-based volunteers in thousands of clubs in all 50 states, plus U.SS. territories and foreign countries.

Taken from the GFWC Club Management 2004 Club Manual



 
 








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