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For GFWC, the Time to Serve is Nothing New

In the cover story of the September 10, 2007, issue of TIME magazine, community service was touted as the next big idea for Americans. As GFWC clubwomen know, however, volunteering has long been the best way to enhance the lives of others. Though many nonprofit volunteer organizations were mentioned in the article, the omission of GFWC and the achievements of its members was an oversight that needed to be addressed. Here is the letter that GFWC International President Jacquelyn Pierce sent to TIME's editor.

September 14, 2007

Mr. Richard Stengel
Managing Editor
c/o TIME Magazine Letters
Time & Life Building
Rockefeller Center
New York, New York 10020

Dear Mr. Stengel:

Your recent article about volunteer service in the United States was fascinating, but you neglected to recognize one of the country's most significant corps of volunteers. TIME should share with its readers the resources they need to take action, and in the case of volunteer service, there is no greater resource than the General Federation of Women's Clubs. In 2006, GFWC and its members raised nearly $32 million and volunteered more than 8.4 million hours. This represents more than ten percent of the 8.1 billion volunteer hours you report for 2006.

GFWC's history and record speak for themselves: for more than 117 years, more than 100,000 women in 4,000 clubs across the globe-including more than a dozen countries-have worked in their communities to enhance the lives of others through volunteer service. On the first page of your article, you recognize three organizations that have a combined total of 69 years of service-just half that of GFWC's generations of committed members.

In fact, your article introduction highlights 11 individuals-seven men, four women-with an average age of 31.8 years old. Your caption indicates that these individuals represent "different ways Americans serve across the country" but you fail to include a key sector of the volunteer community: women over 40. GFWC members are mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, doctors, teachers, and community leaders. In fact, some of our members are even men! Ours is an organization of inclusion-we continue to work under the motto of Unity in Diversity, a fact that challenges your assertion that "Diversity…seems to breed distrust and disengagement" for volunteering-and our members include entire families who volunteer together on a regular basis.

To share more with you about our legacy, I am enclosing GFWC's profile. You can find more information on our website www.gfwc.org, and I would welcome the opportunity to talk with you directly about how GFWC has been making the case for national service for more than a century.

In Federation Service,

Jacquelyn Pierce
GFWC International President 2006-2008

GFWC's Call to Action





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