Building a career as a legal secretary, taking care of her and her husband’s home, and caring for her mother kept Nancy Anzalone’s plate full for many years. These responsibilities made finding opportunities for volunteering in her community difficult, but when she saw a notice in the local paper about a woman’s club having a coffee meetup for potential new members, Nancy felt called to attend.
After this fateful day in 1989, Nancy joined the GFWC Woman’s Club of West Covina, in California, and began her journey with the Federation.
Since Nancy was still grieving from the death of her mother in 1984, joining GFWC gave her an opportunity to meet new people and expand her community and support system.
“The women really became my friends and I love everything the woman’s club does as projects,” she explained.
While community service may not have been a large part of her life initially, Nancy is now dedicated to helping others and spends her time planning projects to make a difference in the lives of others.
As club president in 2021, Nancy said this new role has given her a chance to get to know the members on a deeper level, such as who is shy, who wants to be involved in everything, and what everyone is interested in. She said understanding these dynamics can help her plan and organize projects for the club.
“Being president really is knowing your members,” Nancy said.
One of the projects Nancy has enjoyed being part of is Penny Pines, a reforestation program to plant new seedlings in areas where forests have been devastated by fires, disease, and insect infestation. Since starting to work with this program in 1948, Nancy said clubwomen have raised more than $1 million to plant acres of trees in California.
In addition to being a part of these impactful volunteer projects, Nancy said being a member of GFWC is a wonderful opportunity to connect to a great group of women.
“Even though we do good things and we reach out into the community, part of it is seeing our friends every month for our meetings,” she said. “They become your close girlfriends.”
Nancy said members of the GFWC Woman’s Club of West Covina are always trying to make each other feel recognized and appreciated for the work they put in to help others. One way they do this is by nominating a club “Queen” each year. The member who is selected does not have to pay for lunches or big events throughout the year and is shown extra appreciation for her dedication to GFWC.
“That’s our way of saying thank you to them,” Nancy relayed. “We feel everyone should be honored.”
Nancy said new people are always welcome to try out a meeting and that current members are friendly and receptive to anyone who thinks GFWC might be right for them.
“Come to a meeting and you won’t be disappointed,” she said.
Volunteers in Action: GFWC Mesquite Club of Las Vegas (NV)
With a background in nursing, hospital administration, and leadership training, Phyllis Sippel has always been dedicated to helping others. When she learned that a woman’s club was going to be organized in her community, she knew it would be a good fit for her.
Success For Survivors Scholarship
Each year, GFWC awards scholarships to help intimate partner abuse survivors obtain a post-secondary education that offers a chance to reshape their future by securing employment and gaining personal independence.
The Rochester Junior Women's Club
The Rochester Junior Women’s Club (Michigan) was established in 1956 with 16 members, and today has over 70 members that always come together to support one another. The club chooses three or four major charities to support and several smaller ones, donating approximately $30,000 each year. In total since its inception, the club has provided more than 1 million hours of community service, and raised more than $928,000 to support their community!