The Winthrop General Federation of Women Club (GFWC) is involved in a number of projects in Winthrop and Sibley County.
What projects is the club involved with?
- City of Winthrop Nativity Scene
- Eagle City Historical Marker
- Kids Against Hunger
- March of Dimes
- Sibley County Relay for Lake
- Sibley County Santa’s Helpers
The Club supports the following community improvement projects:
- Flowers In The Park
- Operation Smiles
- SE District Art Fund
- SE District Scholarship Fund
- Winthrop Library Friends
- Winthrop Art Fair
- Winthrop Area Arts Society
- Christmas Cookie Walk
- Farm City Fun Fest Parade Entry
- Winthrop Good Samaritan Projects
The club also provides networking and leadership opportunities for members.
The Winthrop GFWC was founded in 1920 and is a member of the Southeast District of GFWC of Minnesota. The state GFWC was founded in 1895 and is a member of a seven-state region that includes the states of Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas.
The Winthrop chapter meets the last Monday of each month at 7 p.m. Agenda items include a business meeting, educational trips, tours and a dessert and beverage. Dues are $25 a year.
The Club’s motto is: “Unity in Diversity”
For more information on the Winthrop club contact Karen Klenk at 507-647-2822.
The History of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs International
The General Federation of Women’s clubs had its origins in 1890 when Sorosis, a women’s literacy club founded by journalist Jane Cunningham Croly, issued invitations to other women’s literacy clubs to form an umbrella organization with the goal of uniting “women’s clubs to enhance community service by volunteers throughout the world.” The resulting body elected Charlotte Emerson Brown as its first president. Five thousand clubs had joined by 1906 and had embraced the GFWC’s national agenda.
The organization’s goals included the establishment of an eight-hour workday, an end to child labor, the reform of civil service and conservation. One of the group’s important early victories was a massive letter writing campaign that was instrumental in passing the Pure food and Drug Act.
For some years in the early 1900s, the GFWC was the largest national women’s organization before being overtaken in membership by the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Its national membership peaked at 1,700,000 in 1914, the same year the organization finally agreed to lend its support to the suffrage movement.
During the 20th century, the GFWC remained dedicated to community-based volunteer services. Major achievements of the GFWC include establishing a large number of public libraries, assisting in the passage of child labor laws, and helping establish the National Park Service. During the 1990s, with local clubs in all 50 states and in more than 20 countries, the organization addressed such issues as literacy, discrimination against women, family and child welfare and world hunger.