Updated: Aug 6
In honor of Soroptimist’s 100th Anniversary, October 3 is proclaimed Soroptimist International of Three Rivers Day
In 1921, a man walked into a secretarial school owned by two women and that is where Soroptimist history began. Since then, Soroptimist has grown into a global volunteer organization that provides women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment.
Isn't this cool?! To recognize SI3R’s many contributions to the community and the organization’s 100th anniversary, the mayors of Richland and West Richland have declared October 3, 2021 as Soroptimist International of Three Rivers Day.
Quick Look at Soroptimist History
When looking back at the beginnings of Soroptimist, many people are surprised that a women’s organization includes a man in its origin story. Stuart Morrow was Soroptimist’s man who helped propel the first clubs to their founding.
Stuart had been a member of the San Francisco Rotary Club in California. While searching for potential male members of a new club he was organizing, he instead meets Adelaide Goddard, co‐owner of the Goddard‐Parker Secretarial School in Oakland. Their conversation leads to the idea for a women’s club similar to Rotary. His vision for Rotary and his ideas of what the club should champion became a part of the earliest Soroptimist clubs, including the Alameda County Soroptimist Club.
Tri-Cities Clubs’ Bright Past …
The Tri-Cities is blessed with two clubs: Soroptimist International of Three Rivers (SI3R), chartered February 2, 2002 and Soroptimist International of Pasco-Kennewick (SIPK) chartered August 19, 1948. In Pasco and Kennewick, the mayors have proclaimed October 3, 2021 as Soroptimist International of Pasco-Kennewick Day.
The two clubs participate in Soroptimist’s Live Your Dream Awards®, which provide cash grants for women who are pursuing a degree or enrolled in a technical training program. Award recipients provide the primary financial support for their families and may use the funds in any way that helps them achieve their educational goals, whether it’s to pay for tuition, rent or childcare. Every year, Soroptimist distributes more than $2.8 million in education awards to about 1,700 women all over the world. Since 1972, the program has helped more than 33,000 women and their families gain financial independence.
Both clubs also participate in Soroptimist’s Dream It, Be It® program, which helps prepare girls for future career success by providing them with guidance, training and resources to overcome their obstacles, set goals and head towards success. More than 73,000 girls have gone through the program since it launched in 2015.
Since 2016, the Tri-Cities clubs have presented Live Your Dream Awards to 40 local women totaling $76,500. “In honor of our organization’s 100th Anniversary, our two clubs will be offering a combined total of $20,000 in Live Your Dream Awards®,” says SI3R President Mysti Meiers.
Since 2015 through the Dream It, Be It program, the clubs have given over 150 girls ages 14-18 tangible strategies to help make their dreams a reality, in formats including one-on-one sessions, one-day conferences and weekly mentoring sessions.
… and Brilliant Future
A lot has changed for women and girls in 100 years and the road to equality can still be challenging for women and girls solely because of their gender. Because they suffer disproportionately from poverty, racism, sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking, our work is not done.
In addition to Soroptimist Dream Programs, both clubs provide support and assistance to numerous community partners serving women and girls in the Tri-Cities, including working with local domestic violence and human trafficking organizations.
JOIN SOROPTIMIST INTERNATIONAL OF THREE RIVERS!