News & Notes – March 26, 2020

March 26, 2020

View our Important Dates page for upcoming events and milestones.

Suffrage at 100: Commemoration & The Portrait Monument


Image from the Architect of the Capitol

The centennial of the 19th Amendment has presented an extraordinary opportunity to acknowledge and rethink how women and the suffrage movement have been commemorated in public places. Although the American preservation movement was largely spearheaded by women’s groups, much of the 20th century’s preservation efforts ignored the memorialization of women. Out of 5,575 outdoor sculptures portraying American historical figures, the Smithsonian has found that only 200 of these depict women.

Currently, there are only nine statues out of 200 which depict women in the U.S. Capitol Building’s Statuary Hall. Only one of these statues is dedicated to women’s suffrage. The Portrait Monument, which was commissioned by the National Woman’s Party and sculpted by Adelaide Johnson, was gifted to the Capitol in 1921. It had been relegated to the basement until only 23 years ago.

The Portrait Monument depicts Elizabeth Cady Santon, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucretia Mott, carved into beautiful white marble. All three women are figureheads of the suffrage movement but never lived to see their work come to fruition. At the time of dedication, the monument was engraved with an inscription that read: “Women first denied a soul, then called mindless, now arisen, declaring herself an entity to be reckoned.” Congress immediately ordered the inscription wiped clean, and, declaring the statue “ugly,” moved it to the crypt, which was then used as a storage closet.

Over the years, various attempts were made to bring the statue out of storage. However, Congress repeatedly stated that it was too heavy, too expensive, or too ugly to move. Finally, on May 14, 1997, the statue was moved to the Rotunda. The move was funded by donors around the country after the Capitol Preservation Commission refused to foot the bill.

Today, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote, The Portrait Monument is still proudly on display. Its inscription is still missing.

To learn more about the Portrait Monument, please visit the Smithsonian Magazine.

Read the 2020 Call to Convention Yet?

Bring your cup of coffee to the desk in your study or get comfortable on the couch with your favorite portable device and read the online 2020 Call to Convention! Take this time while at home to read the proposed amendments to the Bylaws and proposed new, amended, rescinded, and unchanged Resolutions.

Actively participating in all Convention Business Sessions is a key way that you can make a difference. Resolutions kick off the legislative process and Bylaws define how our Federation will be governed in the future. Prepare to vote and read the online 2020 Call to Convention!

The early bird rate will now be offered through June 1 when registration closes. We will keep you posted if there are any other Convention updates. Register today.

Volunteers in Action

This week’s GFWC Blog features GFWC Bridgeport Junior Woman’s Club (West Virginia), GFWC South Baldwin Woman’s Club (Alabama), and GFWC Tennessee. Read and comment on their activities hosting a gala, being advocates for cancer survivors, and honoring the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

Have a success story to tell? Email

Cancellation: Photography Contest 

Based on the GFWC state leadership feedback received, the majority of Photography Contest judging has traditionally been completed during State Conventions. With the rise of COVID-19, a number of State Conventions have been cancelled to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines regarding large gatherings this spring. Because it will be difficult to proceed with judging under these circumstances, the GFWC Executive Committee has decided to cancel the Photography Contests for this year.

We appreciate all of the entries received to date and hope you’ll consider resubmitting in the future.

Deadline Tomorrow: Convention Program Ad Orders

Orders and payment for Convention Program ads must be received by March 27 to guarantee space. If your order isn’t already in process, submitting the order form electronically and paying via credit card is highly recommended.

Don’t miss this opportunity to share your love and appreciation for the clubwomen in your life. Whether they’re doing a great job as leaders or they’ve been there for you through difficult times, a 2020 Convention Program ad is a chance to shine a spotlight on them! Design your own or select from one of two designs in three different sizes.

Place your ad order now. Submit your form and payment via credit card to

WHRC Newsletter Spring Call for Articles 

The General Federation of Women’s Clubs has always been proud to support the brave men and women who make up the healthcare community. In 1894, GFWC established the Trained Nurses’ Club of NYC, granting professionals a place to perfect and educate others on their trade. Our support for nurses only grew throughout the twentieth century as we weathered both World Wars. In both instances, clubs across the country turned over their clubhouses to the Red Cross to be used as training hubs. During WWII, GFWC helped the Red Cross recruit new nurses and raised $234,834 for nursing scholarships.

Does your club or State Federation have a story to tell about its own health care professionals, or how you have supported them? Submit your story to the Spring WHRC Newsletter! Send submissions to WHRC Manager Alyssa Constad; they must be 500 words or less. Pictures are encouraged but not required. All articles must be submitted by April 9.

March of Dimes/ GFWC Blankets for Babies Project
Welcome Babies of Military Families with a Special Blanket or Hat 

While many Americans are working from home or spending more time indoors due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), let’s use this time to participate in a fun and rewarding hands-on project that supports healthy moms and strong babies. 

Are members of your club excited about sewing, knitting, or crocheting? This project is for you! March of Dimes hosts baby showers for military families through the Mission: Healthy Baby Program. Each year, clubwomen create hundreds of special blankets and hats that mean so much to these military families, who often are serving where they have no family nearby.

Handmade blankets and hats may be sewn, purchased, knitted, crocheted, or quilted. See the toolkit on GFWC’s website  to find specifics about size, materials, and shipping. Contact Amy Richardson at March of Dimes.

Curator’s Corner 

Edna St. Vincent Millay was first introduced to the public in 1912 when she submitted her poem “Renascence” to a poetry contest in The Lyric Year. Edna was only 19, but the poem was widely believed to be the best entry. When “Renascence” was awarded fourth place, the controversy that resulted attracted much attention within the literary field. The first-place winner even quipped that “the award was as much an embarrassment to me as a triumph.” 

The attention Edna received from The Lyric Year caught the eye of arts patron Caroline Dow, who offered to fund Millay’s education at Vassar College. Dow would come to represent a pattern of strong women in Edna’s life, who encouraged her talent for poetry. Millay was raised primarily by her mother Cora. Cora encouraged Edna and her sisters to pursue their interests and express their opinions, traits that often got a youthful Edna into trouble. Reflecting on her mother’s support, Edna later wrote that “I cannot remember once in life when you were not interested in what I was working on, or even suggested that I should put it aside for something else.”

In fact, it was Cora who encouraged Edna to submit “Renascence” to the contest. The poem is a lyric poem which is believed to have been inspired by a near death experience Edna suffered as a child. “Renascence” recounts the relationship of the individual to humanity and nature. Throughout the poem the narrator is overwhelmed by human suffering and nature but is ultimately brought back to feeling joy by feeling a friendly rain. Edna ends her poem with the hopeful lines:

The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.
But East and West will pinch the heart
That cannot keep them pushed apart;
And he whose soul is flat—the sky
Will cave in on him by and by.

“Renascence” and other books of poetry can be viewed online through GFWC’s Online Collections Database.

Caring for Caregivers
by Carolyn Forbes, GFWC Homelife Community Service Program Chairman

There is likely a shortage for adult caregivers, especially now, in your club’s local community. Take some time in the next few weeks to start organizing summer or fall projects to support caregivers. Plan to host an open panel; encouraging the community to participate could help open up vital doors for many people facing the challenges of adult caregiving. As the Baby Boomer generation gets older and many of them are in need of care, adult caregivers often find themselves lost and in need of advice, information, and resources. There are so many safety issues, financial challenges, and medical considerations that can create a very real burden on those who choose to enter into the task of adult caregiving. By making resources available to the public, we can address a growing need in every community. 

Here are a few representatives in the caregiving community to invite:
• Seniors Helping Seniors
• Family Services
• Memory Care Center
• Department of Palliative Care
• Alzheimer’s Association 

Give the speakers an opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with the attendees and provide information on the wide array of services available.  

The Office Depot: In Need of Home and Office Supplies?

With the constantly changing COVID-19 situation, understanding where to get the products your club may need to effectively work from home is important. The Office Depot and the GFWC Member Benefits team have been working to ensure product availability to support business. Many members may find they need desks, chairs, toner, office supplies, and more. They can order through the GFWC program at the negotiated contract price. Register and place orders online for delivery.

GFWC Western States Region: Patty Benskin

The GFWC Western States Region continued to “Celebrate the Magic” at the Region Conference in Boise, Idaho September 13–15, 2019. There were 120 clubwomen from ten states that attended the meeting. Tours of wineries, Aviation Mission Fellowship, and museums—including an unexpected tour of the Anne Frank Memorial—allowed members to network and catch up with friends. Speakers included Kenton Lee from Because International and Marilyn Gorenflo representing Mission Aviation Fellowship, as well as GFWC President-elect Mary Ellen Brock and GFWC International President-elect Marian St.Clair.

Many states in the Region continue to be challenged with small memberships. However, despite the small numbers, they all continue to provide needed support in their communities. All of the states have found ways to embrace the 2018–2020 Seven Grand Initiatives. They have put  books in the hands of children, planted trees, supported the military, encouraged members to join the Legislative Action Center, put shoes on the feet of children, and participated in Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. In addition, the Western States Region is a member of the Million Dollar Campaign, supporting the Capital Campaign for GFWC Headquarters.

In light of the recent health situation in the country, Western States Region will be rolling out its first Region newsletter. Hopefully, this will allow the clubwomen in our Region to stay connected while the situation continues.

State Director’s Project: West Virginia, Dana Richardson

The focus for West Virginia’s Director’s Special Project is supporting the three children’s hospitals in the state.The State President and Director decided to have one state project during this Administration. This project is near and dear to Dana because her oldest son was once a patient at WVU Children’s Hospital and had open heart surgery when he was only three months old. He is now 22 years old and is very healthy thanks to the care he received at WVU Children’s Hospital. 

Clubs were encouraged to raise funds for the hospitals, donate needed items, and donate books for the children to take home with them. Dana knew that the clubwomen in her state both Juniors and Women’s clubs would embrace this project. A luncheon highlighting the special project was held during the 2018 GFWC West Virginia Summer Conference. Physicians and representatives of the three hospitals attended and spoke to the members. Money was raised and books were collected and donated during the luncheon.This luncheon was the launch of this project.

One Junior club planned a black-tie gala to fund the construction of a family locker room whose children are in the NICU. Their second gala raised enough funds for a Milk Station and a Kitten Scanner. A Kitten Scanner is a miniature version of a CAT scanner to simulate the test to reduce the anxiety a child may have. Several clubs in one District worked together to have a successful dinner with entertainment to raise funds. They raised enough funds to buy two Vecta Machines. A Vecta Machine is a mobile sensory machine that the kids play with during procedures. Another club had a NICU reunion where children were invited back to celebrate their success in overcoming a difficult start. These are just a few of the many projects that West Virginia clubs completed for this special project. The clubs have donated over $175,000 to the three hospitals.

Parliamentary Pointers: Emergency Planning  
by GFWC Parliamentarian Deen J. Meloro

Even two months ago, none of us could have imagined the changes in our lives now. Our International President has written to all State Presidents telling them that she trusts their leadership and that they may handle elections as they see fit, no matter what Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised advises. I think that is more than fair to all of us.I hope that the challenges of this time never have to be addressed again. However, there is something you can do to try to prepare for a similar situation.

I am suggesting that clubs and states amend their bylaws. A new article can be added to your bylaws, just before “Dissolution.” This article could be titled “Emergencies” or whatever you feel best. It could read: “In the case of a national emergency, state emergency, or any type of event (man-made or natural) that could potentially put members in danger, the President, with the consent of the majority of the Board of Directors, may order that elections be held by mail. A ballot will be sent to each club and the club will return it by United States Postal Service mail by the designated deadline. Each club will be entitled to as many votes as the number of delegates it is allotted when a convention is held.” Of course, your club or state can make the wording what you feel is right for your group.

Since this proposal says that a ballot will be sent to each club, that would allow emailing the ballot if the clubs in your state, or the members of your club, communicate by email. Otherwise, the ballot must be sent by USPS mail.

It is a shame that this year our outgoing and incoming officers will not receive the accolades they are due. At least in future years, there will be a “Plan B” if a convention, or club meeting, cannot be held. However, when you make your plans, please remember that those elected take office as soon as they are elected, and plan accordingly. Stay healthy!

Marketplace: WHRC Collections Book


The WHRC Collections Book is the perfect way to brush up on your GFWC history this March before Women’s History Month ends. Detailing over a century’s worth of the organization’s history, it’s a recruitment tool that will have your guests wanting to be a part of that history. Get your copy for $15 in the GFWC Marketplace.

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September 23

Volunteers in Action: GFWC Florida, Village Improvement Association of Rehoboth Beach (Delaware), GFWC Woman’s Club of Aurora (Illinois), Alamo Women’s Club (California), GFWC Arizona Benson Juniors, and Woman’s Club of West Allis (Wisconsin)

Read the Blog

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.

Learn More