News & Notes: November 10, 2022


November 10, 2022

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WHRC Houses Valuable Information and Hidden Historical Treasures

By Celene Post, Women’s History and Resource Center Chairman

View of 1734 N Street, GFWC Headquarters, circa 1925. From the National Photo Company collection at the Library of Congress.

The mission of the GFWC Women’s History and Resource Center (WHRC) is to collect, preserve, interpret, and promote the history of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs and women volunteers.

The WHRC opened at GFWC Headquarters on May 1, 1984, carrying on the Federation’s tradition of preserving historical records and providing quality reference service to members. Vice President George H.W. Bush cut the ribbon opening the WHRC. From the Federation’s founding in 1890, GFWC members have understood the significance of the organization’s mission to improve communities through volunteer service. Keenly aware of its 1901 federal charter mandate to locate its headquarters in Washington, DC, GFWC purchased the building at 1734 N Street NW, thus gaining a central location for distributing program resources as well as preserving them for their permanent research value.

The WHRC manages the organizational archives of GFWC, related special collections, and the research library. The archives document our historical development from 1890 to the present, while promoting action through our Community Service Programs and Advancement Plans. State Federation and club histories, photographs, and artifacts are among the treasures held within the WHRC. GFWC’s most significant “artifact” is our Headquarters building, which was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1991. GFWC’s Research Library consists of nearly 5,000 publications that provide a broad context for researching the history of GFWC and women volunteers.

We encourage you to explore the unique opportunity available for all clubwomen. If you enjoy women’s history, look at the records of activities in other State Federations; if you love spending time at art galleries, look at the paintings and sculptures within the walls of the center. Knowing our GFWC history and moving forward into the future, the WHRC should be a source of pride for all clubwomen!

Celebrate Your Love of Writing this November 15

By Donna Shibley, GFWC Writing Contest Chairman

Pull out your pen and paper this November 15 for I Love to Write Day! What better way to sharpen your writing skills and break out of your comfort zone than to compose a poem or tackle writing a short story?

Even though writing can be fun, it can also be challenging. People think J.K. Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter novel at a local pub on napkins. Not true. However, while on a flight without a single piece of paper on hand, she came up with the Hogwarts houses by writing on a motion sickness bag!

We all have unique experiences and outlooks on life, and getting these thoughts and life events down on paper or in a Word file can be incredibly rewarding. Not only can this be therapeutic and beneficial to you as a writer, but by sharing your experiences, you may be able to help others.

No matter what you choose to write, celebrate this day by embracing your creative spark and consider entering your work in the GFWC Writing Contest!

For more information about the writing contest, visit the “Club Manual” subfolder of the “C” Resources folder in the Member Portal Digital Library.

Cares & Concerns 

With great sadness, we announce the passing of Robert Lewis St.Clair, GFWC 2020-2022 International Past President Marian St.Clair’s father-in-law, on November 8. Please keep Marian and her family in your thoughts.

Volunteers in Action

This week’s GFWC Blog features the GFWC Windsor Woman’s Club (Connecticut) and the Woman’s Club of Newport News (Virginia). Read how Connecticut clubwomen donated more than 700 pounds of food to a local food bank and how Virginia members raised $1,700 for human trafficking awareness.

Have a success story to tell? Email to have your club project considered for the GFWC Blog.

Sharing the Federation Spirit Around the Globe

By Elaine Ko, International Liaisons Committee Member 

Did you know the first GFWC International Clubs were in Bombay, India, in 1891 and London, England, in 1897? Or that GFWC had a club in Shanghai in 1941 called the American Woman’s Club of Shanghai? How about that in 1929, several GFWC clubwomen traveled to Rio de Janeiro to organize a woman’s club, or that the Jamaica Federation of Women was formed in 1939?

Throughout the years, GFWC has had 260 clubs in 55 countries. We now have 20 clubs, two of which are Juniorette Clubs. The economy, wars, society, community needs, and leadership have caused clubs to ebb and flow. Our clubs today are from Belize, Ukraine, Taiwan, Korea, Uganda, Cyprus, Brazil, Grand Bahamas, Peru, Philippines, Canada, Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, and Curacao.

The GFWC International Liaisons Committee meets remotely with our International Affiliates twice a month and our GFWC officers and membership join us. Our officers and members have also attended the Federation of Asian Women’s Association (FAWA) meetings throughout the years, meeting and traveling to several Asian countries.

The Taipei International Women’s Club recently celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2021 after becoming an affiliate of GFWC in 1951 with Past Honorary President Madame Chiang Soong Mei-long. This club is one example of many that have a deep history of service in philanthropy and diversity in its membership.

As you travel, bring GFWC information with you to share with clubwomen you may meet and invite them to join the GFWC. We are proud that GFWC welcomes our international sisters to our meetings and International Conventions!

Register Now: GFWC’s First Engage Beyond the Page: Meet the Author/Book Review 

There’s less than a week left to register for GFWC’s first Engage Beyond the Page: Meet the Author/Book Review with Robin Yocum! This exciting event will take place on Zoom at 7:00 p.m. ET on November 16. Registration for the event will also take place directly through Zoom.2022-2024 GFWC Education and Libraries Honorary Chairman Robin Yocum is the Edgar-nominated author known for his fiction set in the Ohio River Valley. He is the author of six works of fiction, including The Essay, our choice for the Meet the Author/Book Review, a novel about a young boy who grew up in a rural town in Appalachian, Ohio with little hope for success. It’s a story of finding the path that leads outside of one’s current situation and the opinions of others. For our members who are educators, it will be a walk down memory lane as you remember students who surprised themselves and the adults who believed in them.Discussing a book with the author is a rare opportunity to gain more insight into the book, to learn about various inspirations, and to hear about what the author may be working on next.The Essay by Robin Yocum can be purchased on many online sites. You are encouraged to complete the reading prior to the book review.Register today through Zoom to join GFWC and Robin Yocum for this exciting opportunity.

Why Should You Form a State Leadership Education and Development Seminar?

By Ann Landis, GFWC Leadership Committee Member

The strength of any group is based on the success of its leaders. GFWC members recognize that leaders don’t happen by accident. We know leadership development is critical, and we have been providing that since 2002 with the development of GFWC LEADS (Leadership Education and Development Seminar), which provides a day of training for one member of each State Federation during the GFWC Annual Convention.

State Federations benefit significantly from offering State LEADS. When a state holds LEADS, it provides the opportunity to numerous members: the more who attend, the more who will want to attend.

The GFWC Leadership Committee is ready to help you establish a LEADS program. See the Leadership Toolkit in the “L” Resources folder of the Member Portal Digital Library for ideas. If what you want isn’t there, ask a committee member, and we can develop a program to meet your needs. State Federations that currently run LEADS are also willing to share details of their programs.

After reviewing the materials, select trainers, set a time, and choose a location. You may want to offer LEADS the day before your State Convention convenes, eliminating additional travel and costs.

Who are the leaders who have led successfully? Who has on-the-job training in the offices they have held? Who started a new club? These people have organizational and membership recruitment ideas. Your LEADS should include lectures, videos, interactive workshops, and handouts to accommodate different learning styles. Consider scheduling a panel of past leaders or past LEADS graduates. These women are filled with experience and can share insights and their personal paths to leadership.

Make your training event special. Have FUN: laugh, learn, and share. Learning opportunities produce positive results.

Let’s work together to share knowledge and skills! Our future depends on it.

Support Operation Smile’s Service Projects

For more than 30 years, GFWC clubwomen have combined their efforts to support Affiliate Organization Operation Smile’s surgical programs and patients in need. Now, members can show their continued support by providing Service Project items for the nonprofit’s surgical programs. This year, Operation Smile is asking clubwomen to come together and champion the volunteer spirit by using their crafting skills.

Members are encouraged to make various handmade items such as blankets, Smile Bags, Smile Splints, and hospital gowns. Clubs can also donate Child Life Therapy supply items, including toys, playmats, building blocks, and more.

To learn more about providing these needed items, view Operation Smile’s GFWC Service Projects Guide located in the “Affiliate Organizations” subfolder of the “A” Resources folder in the Member Portal Digital Library.

In addition to supporting Operation Smile with Service Project items, clubs can help share the organization’s work through fundraisers and by advocating for their programs in the local community.

Support the Success for Survivors Scholarship Fund

Throughout the past 18 months, Starfish Project has helped 27 women escape the brothels and begin a new life of freedom. Each brave woman has been an integral part of creating their holiday collection, Rejoice. This new collection features a variety of stunning pearls, druzy, and timeless silver and gold. Celebrate the joy of the season by knowing your purchases are giving survivors of human trafficking and exploitation opportunities to establish sustainable lives of freedom and develop life-changing careers.Through a fundraising agreement with GFWC, purchasing any Starfish Project products at this dedicated link will give 25% of the sales price to the GFWC Success for Survivors Scholarship Fund.Starfish Project supports women escaping human trafficking and exploitation. The organization is currently working with more than 150 survivors to provide a fresh start in life by arranging safe housing, healthcare, education, and training, and by employing them to make jewelry and garments to support its mission. Order your next piece of jewelry today and help a survivor of human trafficking succeed!

GFWC Marketplace: USA and GFWC Flags in Desk Base  

The GFWC and USA flag set is a quick and easy way to decorate a head table, enhance a centerpiece, or promote GFWC at a community event. Each flag is 4 inches by 6 inches and set in a small black base. Order yours today.

For information on mail service in your area, visit the USPS Service Alerts page. To speed up the processing of your order, we request that you pay for your order at the time of purchase in the Member Portal.

Update Your Member Portal Profile 

Please visit your profile in the Member Portal and verify that your name, contact information, and home address are correct. If these fields are incorrect, select the pencil icon to make edits. If your primary club is incorrect, please email for assistance. Past positions are currently being archived by GFWC staff.