Founded in 1890, GFWC’s roots can be traced back to 1868 when Jane Cunningham Croly, a professional journalist, attempted to attend a dinner at an all-male press club honoring British novelist Charles Dickens. Croly was denied admittance based upon her gender, and in response, formed a woman’s club—Sorosis. In celebration of Sorosis’ 21st anniversary in 1889, Jane Croly invited women’s clubs throughout the United States to pursue the cause of federation by attending a convention in New York City. On April 24, 1890, 63 clubs officially formed the General Federation of Women’s Club by ratifying the GFWC constitution.
Below, organized by decade, are selected accomplishments and highlights that tell the GFWC story.
Minnie Bell Johnson
Minnie Bell Johnson is described by her fellow clubwomen as the happiest person they know, with a smile that brightens the whole room. Having just celebrated her 100th birthday, she has many reasons to smile. During her time with the Portland Woman’s Club (Oregon), she has served as both the club treasurer and club president. She’s still an active member to this day, voting on issues and club elections, and participating in projects like handing out personal care products to homeless women at the Rose Haven Women and Children’s Day Shelter.
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.
GFWC Polk County Service Club
GFWC Polk County Service Club (Oregon) served as the coordinators for the Polk County Fair Talent Contest. There were two divisions (Youth from age 3-12 and Young Adult from 13-19) with 17 contestants. Laurel Jones, Vice President of GFWC Polk County Service Club, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies. Parents, grandparents, and friends all came out to fill the audience and it was very well attended. One of the Judges was GFWC Oregon State President, Pam Briggs.