News & Notes: May 7, 2020

May 7, 2020

View our Important Dates page for upcoming events and milestones.

From GFWC’s International President 

Dear Members,

I hope this note finds you well and staying safe. I have marveled at the many ways you have found to help others while adhering to the government restrictions that are in place. One of my favorites was a picture of a little library that one club had filled with toilet paper for the people who needed it. I urge you, if you feel that there is nothing you can do, to pick up a pen and write a thank you note to your police department, fire department, EMS squad, and hospital workers. You will make someone feel so appreciated.

In the absence of our Convention, the election of officers and voting on the Bylaw Amendment that pertains to Regions hosting an Annual Convention will be voted on by the full Board of Directors. It is my feeling that it is a fair representation of each of you. The remaining Bylaws and the Resolutions will be sent by the present chairmen to the incoming chairmen for consideration.

Plans are moving forward to address awards, the Success for Survivor Scholarships, CIP Awards, Jennie Awards, Millie Crom Awards, and Charlotte Emerson Brown Awards. Keep your fingers crossed that all the plans will work out. I will keep you updated, but if all goes as hoped, it will be fun.

I have been so touched by the many cards and emails I have received, and I thank you for them as they have made many difficult days brighter. As all of the members of the Executive Committee and the State Presidents know these are unique times that have presented many questions that have to be answered. You, the GFWC members, are always our first priority.

I close with my wishes for your continued good health and well-being and two of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes: “It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can be” and “Think and wonder, wonder and think.” Use this time to think and wonder about your projects for next year and what they can be.

With Much Love,
Mary Ellen Brock
GFWC International President

May 10-16: National Women’s Health Week

Planning your club’s observance for National Women’s Health Week (May 10–May 16) this year is more important than ever as we all continue to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Pull out your sewing machine—or needle and thread—to make protective masks for women who are medical personnel, police officers, nursing home personnel, grocery store clerks, or serving in other roles on the front lines.

These masks are not used in place of the N95 masks. However, they could be worn in place of respiratory masks by a medical person or other essential worker when performing tasks other than ones involved with the Coronavirus, and thus save the infection preventing masks. Please read and adhere to the guidelines below governing this project.

  • Do not go to the fabric store to purchase materials for this project unless you are in a non-restricted travel state.
  • If you have the materials at your home and other members of your club have offered to assist you in the sewing of some, drop the materials off in their mailbox and have them return the finished masks to you in your mailbox.

  • Visit the Turban Project website.

  • Suggestions: Apply interfacing to fabric, put right sides of fabric together and add one more layer of fabric. Be sure to double sew across elastic. Fabric should be tight-weave cotton fabric.

  • When you have finished the masks call your hospital/primary care physician, police department, grocery store, nursing home, or town health department to arrange a drop off, being sure to tell them that these are non-infection masks.

  • Above all, take care of yourself. It is not a help if you put yourself or members of your club at risk for the Coronavirus.

And, don’t forget to snap a photo of your completed masks—or host a Zoom meeting of you making them with other club members—before distributing them. Submit your brief write up to to be considered for the GFWC Blog.

Volunteers in Action

This week’s GFWC Blog features GFWC Northwest Suburban Woman’s Club (Illinois), GFWC Women’s Club of South County (Rhode Island), GFWC High Springs New Century Woman’s Club (Florida), and GFWC Julian Woman’s Club (California). Read and comment on their activities celebrating Earth Day, participating in the Arbor Day Grand Initiative by donating funds, donating an Automated External Defibrillator to their local fire station, and sewing masks for those in need.

Have a success story to tell? Share your clubs volunteer story with us! Email

Club Presidents: Update Your Club’s Profile in MemberSuite

During this pandemic, with many states under lockdown orders, many state conventions were postponed or canceled. Although life is on hold while the nation waits for COVID-19 to subside, new club presidents will step into their roles throughout this spring.

As a new club president, or current club president taking on another term, one of the first responsibilities club presidents should take on is making sure that their club profile in MemberSuite is accurate. Club presidents should make sure that the club contact information and number of club members is correct; as an option, you can list your club members. The first step is accessing the Member Portal and creating your profile in MemberSuite.

There are two ways to access the GFWC Member Portal.
  2. From the GFWC website at Click on the pink “Member Login” box on the top right of the website.
As a club president, you already have a MemberSuite account associated with your email address.

Once you reach this page, 

Click on the profile icon in the top right corner and select “Login” from the drop down. Enter your email address and password.

If you haven’t logged in before:
  1. Select “Login” from the drop down, then select “Forgot your password?”
  2. Enter the same email that you use to receive GFWC’s weekly newsletter, News & Notes. 

Once you are logged in to your MemberSuite account, you will be asked to choose either your personal profile or your club’s profile.

Select your club’s profile, then go back to the profile icon on the right and click on it. You will get a drop down box.

Choose “My Profile” to edit your club’s contact information.

Choose “Manage Organization Contacts” to edit the number of club members in your club and to add club members to your list.

If you have any issues updating your club information, please email or call 202-347-3168.

Mentoring … Needed Now More Than Ever

In this new world we are living in, mentors are needed to continue the link between the club and the new club member. Mentoring is an effective way to promote new members’ involvement in your club. A mentor’s responsibilities are to help explain the club structure and activities, as well as show them how your club fits into GFWC’s overall structure. Mentors need to be committed to GFWC and able to explain the various club committees and how to find the perfect fit for the new member to become involved. Most importantly, a mentor will share information about the State Federation and provide a list of the meetings at the club, District, State, Region, and national levels.

With social distancing we must work harder than ever to sustain the newest members. Share and comment on this month’s Thank You Tuesday post to let everyone know that GFWC is alive and well and working harder than ever in the communities we serve.

South Central Region: Pat Pisarski

Pat Pisarski is proud to be the South Central Region President and a GFWC Arizona Member. She thanks all of the Federated Sisters who had confidence in her to be one of their leaders.

Her theme for this Administration has been “There’s No Place Like Home.” Especially at this time, clubwomen are staying home, staying safe, and staying healthy.

At the 2018 South Central Region Conference, held in Texas, her project was for “Breast Cancer Awareness.” The Conference had a guest speaker from a local cancer group on Saturday. Members were asked to wear pink. From the podium, you looked at a sea of pink.

The 2019 South Central Region Conference was held in Arizona. Domestic violence awareness was Pat’s special project. Several clubs made cosmetic bags and one member had lots of female items donated. Clubwomen from the Region filled more than 120 bags. They were delivered to a shelter in Tucson. On Saturday, everyone all wore purple.

State Director’s Project: Illinois, Cherie Sieger

Pictured: Cherie Sieger; Jennifer Samartano, Northern Region Prevention Specialist of PCA IL; Annette Andretich-Gross, Past Board Member of PCA IL 

Cherie Sieger, GFWC Illinois Director’s Special Project is “Helping Children.” Helping Children in any capacity has always been at the forefront of Cherie’s emphasis. She encouraged clubs to do projects/programs to raise money for Prevent Child Abuse Illinois (PCA IL). Many clubs planted Pinwheel Gardens, put Blue Ribbons on posts, and recognize the month of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. Pinwheels are planted in parks, by city halls, or at libraries in communities. Clubs worked with their local hospitals to have pinwheels put on the property and recognize national “Wear Blue Day” and “Ugly Tie Day.” Clubs work with local businesses to sponsor pinwheels placed in front of their business or give a donation so pinwheels can be purchased. Cherie has applied to be nominated as a member of the Board of Directors for PCA Illinois. To serve on this Board would continue her emphasis of Helping Children.

The clubs collected toys and pajamas, made overnight bags for displaced children, and supported shelters for children and their parents. The clubs also donated money to March of Dimes, St. Jude, and Easterseals.

The Illinois Junior Special Project is Children’s Research Foundation (CRF), a foundation for the research and cure of diseases of children, based out of Chicago and Lurie’s Children Hospital. To support this foundation, clubs are encouraged to hold fundraisers to raise funds to support CRF. There was a club formed, GFWC IL CRF Junior Woman’s Club, of which Cherie is a charter member. Chartered specifically to raise money for CRF, this club has been very instrumental in providing the much-needed funds that directly go to CRF to provide seed money for doctors to continue researching ways to save the lives of children.

Parliamentary Pointers: Suspending the Rules
by GFWC Parliamentarian Deen J. Meloro

It is sometimes possible to Suspend the Rules, as long as those rules are not Bylaws, and as long as the suspension is not in conflict with local, state, or national laws. 

A motion to suspend the rules can be made when the assembly wants to do something at a meeting that is in conflict with its Standing Rules, the Parliamentary Authority (usually Robert’s Rules of Order) or Special Rules of Order. A two-thirds vote is usually needed to adopt the motion. An example might be if an agenda has been adopted, and two or more members want to bring up a subject that is out of order with that agenda.

If the motion to Suspend the Rules is adopted, the chair should “immediately recognize the member who moved the suspension of the rules” so that she can make the motion she wants to make.

The Bylaws can never be suspended, no matter how many members are in favor. Fundamental rules of parliamentary law, such as one member, one vote, can never be suspended. Rules protecting absentees can never be suspended, and that includes doing business when no quorum is present.

Since a club’s Standing Rules can be changed at any meeting when a quorum is present, the Standing Rules can be suspended by a majority vote.

If the suspension is non-controversial, the presiding officer may ask if there is any objection and if there is no objection, the motion to suspend can be adopted by unanimous consent. Suspension of the rules ends at the end of the meeting or the session. 

Marketplace: Seven Grand Initiatives T-Shirt 


Our GFWC clubs have been doing an awesome job helping to reach our Seven Grand Initiatives goals! Celebrate the projects that you have already completed in style with the GFWC Seven Grand Initiative T-Shirt. With its extra soft cotton and beautiful colors, this might just become your new favorite shirt! Order one at the GFWC Marketplace.  

Please be advised, GFWC Headquarters remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Marketplace shipments will resume as soon as we are able to reopen. 

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