On December 17, the Woman's Club of Greenwich will turn 100. For nearly a century, the group has been addressing the community's civic and philanthropic needs -- from supporting a free milk program for undernourished school children in the 1930s, to working with servicemen and families during the World War II in the 1940s and providing facilities in the 1960s for Meals on Wheels.
In more recent years, the group has established an ongoing scholarship for graduating Greenwich High School students, helped put in a garden for seniors at Nathaniel Witherell and has supported groups that include Neighbor to Neighbor, YWCA Domestic Abuse Service, Call-A-Ride, Greenwich Adult Day Care, Greenwich Symphony Young People's Concerts, Dana's Angels Research Trust, and more.
Today, club members are out talking with town officials and responding to requests for assistance from the many not-for-profit and other organizations in the town of Greenwich to see where their help is most needed.
The Citizen caught up with members of the group to talk about the Club and its wide-ranging accomplishments over the last 100 years.
When was the club founded, and who founded it?
The Woman's Club of Greenwich was founded on Dec. 17, 1910 by a group of 14 woman who were interested in improving children's education and in taking an active part in community affairs. It was originally called the Mother's Club and in 1917 changed its name to The Woman's Club of Greenwich.
Why was it founded, and what is its mission?
The mission was then, and is now, to bring together women to promote civic, philanthropic and educational activities and exert helpful influence in the community.
Where do you meet, and how long have you been at that location?
The club meets at 89 Maple Ave., where we have met since l952.
What are some of the memorable fundraisers you have held, and what community programs did they benefit?
All proceeds have gone to fund our scholarships and philanthropies. Our second House Tour in 2009 was specifically organized to raise funds for a design garden at Nathaniel Witherell Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Greenwich.
Currently our two fundraisers are "Appraisal Mania," which will be held on October 16 and "Holiday Boutique," to be held on Nov. 12 and 13.
What has the organization done to date to celebrate the anniversary?
On June 3, we held a Spring Tea and Open House to celebrate our 100th anniversary. The entire community was invited. Among the invitees were town officials and officers of the various organizations the club has aided.
Any plans for future events in honor of the 100th?
We have two upcoming events scheduled.
"Meet the Woman's Club Day - Past and Present," on Oct. 2, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., will be held on Greenwich Ave. in front of the Post Office. This event will demonstrate the various activities the club is now, and has been, involved in.
And, on Dec. 17, we are planning to hold a brunch for our members to celebrate the centennial.
What are some projects you currently have underway in the community?
Current projects include:
"¢ Finding ways to help in increasing the number of children enrolled in the Head Start Program
"¢ Finding volunteers for the elementary schools in "Reading for Champions" program
"¢ Finding volunteers to help with elementary and high school math programs
"¢ Holding an ESL training course at the Club for the community
"¢ Planning a joint venture Garden Tour with McCardle's Garden Center, which is also celebrating its 100th
"¢ A sale of "Precious Treasures" donated by members.
How do you become a member, and how many members do you have?
You become a member by filing an application that one can obtain from the Club's Secretary. All women are welcome to join. We have about 130 members. We would like to increase our membership to help further our philanthropies.
What would you say is the age range of members?
The age range is 40-plus. However, there is no upper or lower age requirement.
How often do you meet?
The general membership meets once a month. The various committees and special interest groups (Gardeners, Bridge Group, Out to Lunch Group, Theater Group, Scrabble Group, Book Discussion Group, Crafts Group, Knitting, etc.) meet throughout the month.
How do you come up with projects to undertake/
Various ways of keeping abreast of social service and educational need of the community - reading local papers; speaking to town officials; responding to specific requests. Also, members of the club who are active in other organizations may bring projects to our attention.
Who has been a member for the longest, and for how long?
Irene Martin, who has been a member since the 1960s.