Impact & Accomplishments
GFWC is distinguished from other service organizations by the breadth of our outreach. Our community service programs span all areas of the lives of our members, their families, and communities: arts and culture, civic engagement and outreach, education and libraries, environment, and health and wellness.
GFWC has earned a reputation as a powerful force in the fight against domestic violence. GFWC was recognized on the floor of the United States Senate as “a gem among our midst” by then-Senator Joseph Biden (Del.) for our work in bringing hope to victims and survivors of domestic violence and abuse, and our early support for the Violence Against Women Act.
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.