What does the word "Soroptimist" mean? Loosely translated from Latin, Soroptimist is a coined term meaning "best for women".
soror\ [Latin] sister optimus\[latin] best
Is Soroptimist a new organization? No. Soroptimist began in 1921 in Oakland, California when the first club was formed for the purpose of joining together executive business and professional women to render service. Other clubs were quickly formed in North America. 1924 saw the first clubs in Europe. By 1928 there were enough clubs in these continents to form two Federations -- American and European. A link between Federations was established by the creation of the "Soroptimist International Association" in 1928. Today Soroptimist clubs in over 120 countries are joined in four Federations that are linked together through the International Association. Soroptimist International of Williamsburg is the name of the local Williamsburg club. Chartered in 1949, it is part of the South Atlantic Region in the Soroptimist International of Americas (SIA) Federation.
How is the Williamsburg Club organized? We operate with a board of directors to conduct the business of the club. The decisions of the board are reviewed with the club membership. The membership is called upon to vote on items of interest to the club as the Board deems necessary. Committees address the areas of finance, service, membership, fund raising and programs, making recommendations to the board and membership. Other committees are formed as needed. Committees report regularly to the board and membership.
Why does Soroptimist focus on women and girls? Soroptimist was formed because in 1921 women who were interested in volunteer service were not permitted to join male service organizations. Since that time, the organization has worked to help women improve their standing in the world. Despite tremendeous strides, women still do not enjoy equal economic or social status with their male counterparts. As an organization of and for women, Soroptimist feels uniquely qualified to tackle the challenges facing today's women and girls.
What programs does Soroptimist offer? Soroptimist offers several programs that improve the lives of women and girls. A couple of the programs include the Women's Opportunity Awards as well as the Violet Richardson Award.
How are Soroptimist programs funded? Soroptimist programs are funded by member dues, fundraising projects, grants and contributions from members. As a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, Soroptimist also depends on outside contributions from people who support the Soroptimist mission. The Williamsburg club participates in a number of fun group fundraising activities such as the annual Pancake Supper and the spring fashion show.
Why should I become a Soroptimist? Because you like the "Think Globally, Act Locally" philosophy of Soroptimist. Because you want to participate with others in service to the community. Because you want to build friendships with remarkable women, locally and around the world. Because you want to build leadership skills by accepting positions of responsibility in the club.