History Moment: Soroptimist Founders Day

Image may contain: one or more people and crowd

Soroptimist celebrates Founders Day on October 3, which acknowledges the day in 1921 when the first club in Alameda County, California, called to order its first business meeting. Clubs celebrate the founding of the organization with activities to promote the organization and its early mission to “foster the ideal of service” through programs that now focus on improving the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world.

The collection of “Founders Pennies”, an important Soroptimist tradition, is often linked to Founders Day. Each year, every Soroptimist is offered the opportunity to make a voluntary contribution of six pennies for each year of Soroptimist’s existence. These contributions directly fund SIA’s annual programs such as the Women’s Opportunity Awards, Soroptimist Club Grants, and the Violet Richardson Awards. The Founder Pennies tradition began in World War II as the Madame Noel Fund, which collected one penny for each year of Soroptimist’s existence, and used the money to help re-establish clubs in Europe that had disbanded as a result of pre-war political conditions and the war itself. After World War II, the fund was renamed the Founders Fund, and provided international fellowships, scholarships and other award to improve the status of women. Beginning in the 1960s, Founders Pennies provided funding for the Youth Citizenship Awards, and in 1972 the Women’s Opportunity Awards (then called the Training Awards Program.) Founders Pennies are now used to fund SIA’s programs that support Soroptimist’s mission to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world.

Harvey Relief Donations!

Soroptimist make a difference, and you can too!

Soroptimist International of Bidwell Rancho is sending donations to SI Alvin and SI Austin at this time of the disaster. Many of us want to help, but aren’t sure how. This is what we’ve heard from our club in Alvin:

“Thank you so much for your heartfelt message and offer of support. This storm has been huge and heartbreaking. This morning we were working to get support for the local shelter. That shelter is now being transported to another location. Since the rain just stopped this evening we are not sure we have a true plan of (how) our club will be able to assist our community. As soon as we have a plan I’ll let you know. Thank you again for your support.”

Right now, just getting them money for pillows, blankets, towels, toilet paper, trash bags, paper towels, hand sanitizer, paper plates, air mattresses, and water (items on their request list) will make a difference. Please donate today and add the notation “Harvey”. Donations may also be made by check, payable to SI Alvin or SI Austin, and mailed to HARVEY, C/O Soroptimist International of Bidwell Rancho, PO Box 9170, Chico, CA 95927.

Thank you  and please follow the “Make a Donation” Button below!

Want to join Us?


Soroptimist International of Bidwell Rancho is inviting prospective new Members to our Mixer on Tuesday, September 26th.2017 at Paneghetti’s Eatery,  1851 Esplanade, Chico, CA 95926
Learn about Soroptimist International and the work our club does.
Please send RSVP with your contact information by Sept 22nd, along with any questions to sibidwellrancho@soroptimist.net

Another piece of history…

SOROPTIMIST SEPARATES FROM STUART MORROW: At the first world conference in San Francisco in June 1927, members discussed a way to separate the organization from Stuart Morrow. One of the most notable facts about the Soroptimist charter is that Morrow was the only signer. History also records that Morrow named himself as originator, founder and general manager of the Soroptimist corporation, retaining 90% of the voting power, property rights and interest in the corporation. In other words, he owned Soroptimist. This, of course, had to change. The clubs decided to pursue a complete buy out and a committee was appointed to negotiate with Morrow. The committee was instructed to try and reduce Morrow’s $6,000 asking figure. Morrow and Soroptimists agreed to a settlement of $5,500. The $5,500 purchase price may sound reasonable or even a bargain today, but this was 1927 and women were not making significant salaries. The world was still reeling from World War I (1914-18), the 1919 pandemic influenza epidemic that killed between 20 and 40 million people worldwide and the U.S. was gripped by the wild stock market gyrations that two years later, in 1929, would result in the Great Depression. Times were anything but perfect for acquisition. But early Soroptimists worldwide recognized the pressing need to control their organization and while eight clubs underwrote the purchase, all clubs, including those in Europe and Great Britain, contributed in spite of these catastrophic events. From this point forward Soroptimist showed steady and determined growth towards the global organization it has become today.


Soroptimist History Moment

SOROPTIMIST INTERNATIONAL DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR: During and after the First World War, woman had achieved greatness. However, the Second World War was to show them at their very best. There is little doubt that in many countries it was the women who “battled on” to relieve suffering, hunger and perform tasks normally carried out by the men of their nations. In the October 1939 issue of the British Soroptimist magazine, the editor wrote, “Two things are clear to us in the midst of the bewilderment and distress of these present days. One is that as a band of women whose aim is the furthering of international understanding, we must stick together and keep in active working order our Soroptimist organization, the value of which is greater than ever before. The other is that when we emerge from this nightmare and the struggle is over, we must be stronger than ever to see that all our influence is cast on the side of a just and lasting peace.” During this time, the British Federation embarked upon rescuing members of the Vienna Soroptimist Club and their families who were threatened by the Nazi regime. Over thirty refugees arrived in England from Vienna and Soroptimists arranged their passage to a safe harbor in the United States where the brave and harassed women were helped by American Soroptimists. In addition, clubs in the American Federation generously gave gifts of money and clothing for distribution to stricken cities throughout Europe.IMG_2725

Welcome to the Soroptimist International of Bidwell Rancho’s Website!

30 years of service! Soroptimist International of Bidwell Rancho- Chico received its Charter on June 29, 1987. Happy anniversary and congratulations on raising more than a half a million dollars and changing and improving lives of women and children in our community and around the world!