The General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC), an organization that has a location right in our Westminster backyard, is impacting the community through the emphasis of making the world a better place. This international women’s organization is dedicated to impacting lives through volunteer work.
With close to 80,000 members in all of the clubs, they support their local communities through “the Arts; the preservation of our natural resources; the promotion of education; the encouragement of healthy lifestyles; stressing civic involvement; and working towards world peace and understanding.” This organization is the oldest and largest women’s volunteer service organization in the world, while also extremely under marketed.
While men’s community service organizations have existed since the 1860s, women have been excluded from getting involved. Denial of admittance to male ran community service organizations caused the creation of female ran organizations, one of which is the GFWC. With many locations around the country, Westminster is home to one that impacts the community that we students exist within.
To bring awareness to this organization that impacts the community we live in, I conducted an interview with Andrea Lilly, GFWC Women’s Club of Westminster’s 2020 Junior Officer.
Lilly discussed some of the history of the GFWC, which was founded in 1890 during the Progressive Movement. By Living the Volunteer Spirit, as it reads across their website, the women involved in this organization provide an immediate impact on the lives in their community, not just in the form of monetary donations.
One extremely important program that Andrea shed some light on was the GFWC’s Domestic and Sexual Awareness and Prevention Program. The goal of this program is to “increase awareness of and help prevent the widespread occurrence of violence against women in communities across the nation.”
When it comes to the Westminster Club specifically, the list is long of the many programs and ways that the women support their local community. The Westminster GFWC supports the Dr. Seuss Books Reading program by donating books to local schools, the Carroll County Food Pantry, the domestic violence safe housing through the donation of supplies, and they are currently supporting a walk for Suicide Prevention month. These are just a few of the many ways in which the women of the GFWC help the local community of Westminster.
This organization, ran solely by women, does so much good for Carroll County. These women are making a real impact and bringing awareness to issues that exist within their community. Read more about this important women-ran organization here.