When was GFWC founded?
GFWC was founded in April 1890, when 61 clubs from around the country convened in New York City and formed the General Federal of Women's Clubs.
What is the GFWC motto and how did it originate?
The GFWC motto is "Unity in Diversity." The first time it was used was in a speech given by New York clubwoman and newly installed President, Mrs. Ella Dietz Clymer, at the birthday banquet of Sorosis, a founding club of GFWC, on March 20, 1889. The words "unity in diversity" expressed Mrs. Clymer's hope that the women of Sorosis would "form a lasting union of the women's clubs throughout the United States and possibly throughout the world. We do not feel that sectional differences will separate us; on the contrary, we hope that these very differences will form a bond of sympathy."
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Since it was founded in 1890, the General Federation of Women's Clubs has been a unifying force, bringing together local women's clubs from around the country and throughout the world. Although there is considerable diversity in the ages, interests, and experiences of GFWC clubwomen, all are united by a dedication to community improvement through volunteer service.
Accomplishments during GFWC's first century include: establishing 75 percent of the country's public libraries, developing kindergartens in the public schools, and working for food and drug regulation.
During its second century, the Federation has pledged to maintain its commitment to working for a better world. With "Unity in Diversity" as its motto and a strong umbrella of programs that clubs may adapt to suit the needs of their communities, GFWC encourages the flexibility that has enabled it to expand its reach in a rapidly changing society.
I pledge my loyalty to the Junior Clubwomen,
By doing better than ever before what work I have to do;
By being prompt, honest, courteous;
By living each day, trying to accomplish something, not merely to exist.
Keep us, Oh God, from pettiness;
let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with fault finding
and leave off self-seeking.
May we put away all pretense
and meet each other face to face,
without self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgement
and always be generous.
Let us take time for all things;
make us to grow calm, serene, gentle.
Teach us to put into action our better impulses,
straight forward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realize
it is the little things that create differences;
that in the big things of life we are at one.
And may we strive to touch and to know
the great, common human heart of us all.
And, Oh, Lord God,
let us forget not to be kind.
July 1, 2010
Dear Fellow GFWC Clubwomen:
It is with a deep sense of pride, a vast sense of humility, and a profound sense of purpose that I greet you as the 48thInternational President of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. Thank you for entrusting me with this amazing opportunity.
The theme for the 2010-2012 Administration is “Create a Vision–Build a Reality.” If we are vigilant, realistic, and wise, we will create the vision that will enable us to build a new reality, an exhilarating veracity that will steer GFWC beyond the threshold of greatness.
Creating a new vision and building a reality is not the work of one person or one group. We must all work together. The collective effort of more than 100,000 clubwomen joining together will make GFWC the organization it should be, the organization it is meant to be, and the organization we all want it to be.
We’re excited to announce some significant changes to the way GFWC will manage its community service endeavors during this administration. After 75 years, the six areas of service that GFWC specializes in will be referred to as Community Service Programs, not departments. We are also premiering the GFWC Signature Project: Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention. Throughout the newGFWC Club Manual you will find project suggestions, partnership information, and resource ideas that will assist you and your fellow club members in your efforts to enhance the lives of others through volunteer service within your community and our world.
Thank you for the amazing work you do to make life better for your neighbors. Together, we will make our vision a new reality for GFWC.
Yours, in Federation Service,
CARLENE A. GARNER
GFWC International President
© GFWC members to reproduce in whole or in part (indicate if excerpted) for GFWC member or personal use only using this credit line: © 2010, General Federation of Women's Clubs 202/347-3168 <www.gfwc.org>. Used with permission. May not be reproduced for sale or profit.