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A global volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Soroptimist?
Soroptimist is a global women’s organization whose members work to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. Soroptimist programs focus on providing women and girls with access to education, which is one of the most effective ways to end social problems disproportionately affecting women and girls.

What does the word "Soroptimist" mean?
Loosely translated from Latin, Soroptimist is a coined term meaning "best for women."

When was Soroptimist formed?
The first Soroptimist club was formed in 1921 by a group of 80 women in Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA.

How can women join Soroptimist?
Women who are interested in joining a Soroptimist club should visit the Get Involved section and fill out the Introduction Form. For more information, contact Soroptimist headquarters at siahq@soroptimist.org.

Why does Soroptimist focus on women and girls?
Soroptimist was formed because in 1921 women who were interested in volunteering in their communities 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 tremendous 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. Major programs include the Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women, the Soroptimist Workplace Campaign to End Domestic Violence, the Violet Richardson Award, the Soroptimist Club Grants for Women and Girls, and Soroptimists STOP Trafficking. In addition to participating in programs offered by the organization, clubs work on local projects that benefit women and girls, based on the needs of their communities.

Soroptimist also sponsors Live Your Dream.org, an online community empowering offline volunteer action. The self-motivated network is made up of people who wish to support women and girls in their quest to lead better lives, while gaining inspiration in their own lives. Members of the free online community work on topics such as women’s economic empowerment, ending violence against women, human trafficking, and more. They also have access to inspirational articles, tips, and blogs that can help them live their own personal dreams.

How are Soroptimist programs funded?
Soroptimist programs are funded by investment income, member dues, and contributions from clubs and members. As a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, Soroptimist also depends on outside contributions from people who support the Soroptimist mission.

How can I contribute to Soroptimist?
To contribute to programs that significantly help women and girls to improve their lives, contribute online or download a donor form. Charitable gifts can also be sent to: Soroptimist International of the Americas, 1709 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-6103 or faxed to 215-893-5200. (Soroptimist International of the Americas is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent provided by United States law.) Support for Soroptimist's programs also comes from corporate gifts and partnerships. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, contact susan@soroptimist.org or 215-893-9000.

How can women apply for a Live Your Dream Award?
Live Your Dream Awards applications are available from local participating Soroptimist clubs. If the award has not been advertised in the local area, click here to access application information.

Does Soroptimist International of the Americas hold a convention?
Soroptimist holds its convention every two years. The next convention will take place in Vancouver, Canada in July of 2014. Contact siahq@soroptimist.org for more information.

Does Soroptimist have an archives?
The Soroptimist Archives, housed at Soroptimist headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is open to all researchers. Visitors are required to fill out an archives request form, and are requested to make an appointment to ensure adequate staffing during the proposed research visit. Email the archivist, Lisa Mangiafico, at lisa@soroptimist.org for a collections description, registration information, to schedule an appointment, or to learn more about the Visiting Researchers Grant program.

What is the relationship between Soroptimist International of the Americas and Soroptimist International?
Soroptimist International of the Americas, headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, USA, is one of four federations comprising Soroptimist International (SI), which is headquartered in Cambridge, England. The other three federations affiliated with SI are: Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland, headquartered in Cheshire, England; Soroptimist International of Europe, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland; and Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific, headquartered in Sydney, Australia.

How many members are in Soroptimist?
Soroptimist International has about 80,000 members. Soroptimist International of the Americas has about 35,000 members.

How many countries make up Soroptimist?
Soroptimist International members reside in about 120 countries and territories throughout the world. Soroptimist International of the Americas' clubs are located in 19 countries and territories: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guam, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, United States and Venezuela.

What is Soroptimist's relationship with the United Nations?
Soroptimist International has consultative status with the United Nations' Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which oversees U.N. activities and policies promoting human rights. Representatives from Soroptimist International can request agenda items, submit written statements for circulation to all members of the council, make oral statements at meetings, and contribute to other U.N. gatherings and seminars. Soroptimist representatives are volunteers and work in one of the four U.N. centers in New York City, Paris, Vienna or Geneva. It is in this forum that Soroptimist representatives can advocate for the Soroptimist mission of improving the lives of women and girls.

 
     

 

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