100 Year Anniversary

The first Constitution of Soroptimist was drafted in Oakland, California, and based on President Violet Richardson’s vision for a movement dedicated to justice and quality of life, the purpose of Soroptimist was stated as follows:

“To foster the spirit of service as the basis of all worthy enterprises and to increase the efficiency of its members in the pursuit of their occupations by broadening their interest in the social, business, and civic affairs of the community through an association of women representing diverse occupations.”

As envisioned by President Violet, the Soroptimist roots of service continue to grow worldwide, and when speakers are heard during Program meetings and Conference assemblies, more seeds sprout to “foster the spirit of service”, all the while broadening members’ horizons and understanding of issues, local and worldwide. Does your club continue to promote that purpose and vision cultivated nearly 100 years ago?

In 1921, the first Soroptimist club, Alameda County was formed in California with over 80 business and professional women from in and around the city of Oakland. With Violet Richardson as the first President, back then the first club, which changed its name to SI Oakland in 1928, met weekly, debating service projects and hearing speakers on various worldwide is-sues that would broaden members’ horizons.

The first project was to ‘Save the Redwoods’—the great ancient trees which were being felled and the club lobbied the legislature, taking on powerful lumber companies, and winning public support, which resulted in a major portion of the forest is set aside as protected land, that still exists today. Additional Soroptimist clubs soon followed along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, amounting to 15 clubs with 5 years, with a growing concern for women in their communities.

A similar club was established in Britain, and there the first project sought to befriend girls who had no mothers and support a local Children’s Society to establish an open-air hospital school. Despite their similarity, neither club knew of the other and as similar clubs began forming in other cities, all without knowledge of each other, a seed was sown and a global membership was taking shape.

Taken from: soroptimistinternational.org/about-us/history/

– Submitted by Jo Breneman