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
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."
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
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
Taken from the GFWC
Club Management 2004 Club Manual