Our History

The history of our organization, the General Federation of Women’s Club began in 1890, but our GFWC’s roots can be traced back to 1868 when Jane Cunningham Croly, a professional journalist, attempted to attend a dinner at an all-male press club honoring British novelist Charles Dickens. Croly was denied admittance based upon her gender, and in response, formed a woman’s club—Sorosis. In celebration of Sorosis’ 21st anniversary in 1889, Jane Croly invited women’s clubs throughout the United States to pursue the cause of federation by attending a convention in New York City. On April 24, 1890, 63 clubs officially formed the General Federation of Women’s Clubs by ratifying the GFWC constitution.

In 1895 GFWC travelled to Atlanta, Georgia to talk with the women in Georgia at the Cotton States Exhibition held at Piedmont Park. Our founder, Rebecca Douglas Lowe attended the GFWC presentation and was inspired to begin a woman’s Club in Atlanta.  In 1895 she founded The Atlanta Woman’s Club.  After the formation of The Atlanta Woman’s Club, Mrs. Lowe realized the need to create a State organization known as the Georgia Federation of Women’s Club (GFWC Georgia) so that all local clubs throughout the State of Georgia could call upon for resources and guidance.  Mrs. Lowe was its First President in 1896 and went on to be GFWC’s third President.

Today, our International organization has over 80,000 members in affiliated clubs in every state, the District of Columbia, and more than a dozen countries.  Our State organization, GFWC Georgia has approximately 90 clubs within the State of Georgia with approximately 2,400 members.

By Living the Volunteer Spirit, GFWC clubwomen transform lives each day, not simply with monetary donations, but with hands-on tangible projects that provide immediate impact. With a grassroots approach that often thinks locally but impacts globally, GFWC, its clubs and members remain committed to serving as a force for global good, as it has done since its formation over 125 years ago.

The State Flower: CHEROKEE ROSE

Our Motto: Unity in Diversity

Our Collect:  Written in 1904 as a prayer for the day by Mary Stewart, a high school principal in Longmont, Colorado, and a member of women’s clubs of town and country. “I called it a ‘Collect for Club Women’ because I felt that women working together, with wide interests in large ends, which was a new thing under the sun and that, perhaps they had need for a special petition and meditation of their own”

Keep us, oh God, from pettiness;
let us be large in thought,
in word, in deed.
Let us be done with fault-finding
and leave off self-seeking.
May we put away all pretense
and meet each other face to face,
wtihout self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgement
and always generous.
Let us take time for all things;
and to grow calm, serene, gentle.
Teach us to put into action
our better impulses,
straightforward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realize it is
the little things that create differences,
that in the big things of life we are at one.
And may we strive to touch and to know
the great, common human heart of us all.
And, oh Lord God, let us forget not
to be kind!

Mary Stewart, April, 1904