April 24th is GFWC Federation Day
On April 24, 1890, the GFWC constitution was ratified. Sixty-three clubs from across the United States met in New York City and officially formed the General Federation of Women’s Clubs under the leadership of Jane Cunningham Croly. Today there are approximately 3,200 clubs and 80,000 members worldwide. We have certainly come a long way since that day 129 years ago! Every year, Federation Day gives us the opportunity to reflect on where we have been as an organization and to look forward to the goals we hope to accomplish in the future.
“It occurred to them that union is strength. Then they began to reach out toward each other.” This quote from GFWC clubwoman Julia Ward Howe, author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, in 1889 is still relevant today. Just like our sisters in 1890, we continue to find strength in federation. GFWC unites us all to one common mission to celebrate Unity in Diversity.
Federation Day can be commemorated in many ways. One of the best ways is to attend the GFWC-NC Annual Convention in Wilmington on April 26th-27th. Imagine a hotel packed full of clubwomen sharing ideas and brainstorming on how we can improve our communities and enhance the lives of others through volunteer service!
If you can’t make convention and are dedicated to sharing the good works of GFWC, there are many ways to celebrate: host a new member drive, ask your mayor to make a proclamation on April 24th as your club’s Federation Day, offer to teach a women’s history lesson in a local classroom and dress in vintage clothing for impact, or plant flowers or trees around your town with a placard announcing your club name and date of service (this fulfills one of the Grand Initiatives, too.) The opportunities are endless, only limited by your imagination!
Finally, once your club has participated in an activity, remember to record it in preparation for the Federation Day and Women’s History and Resource Center Awards!
Let us unite our voices in honor of this Sisterhood of Service on April 24th, Federation Day, and continue the celebration throughout the Volunteers in Action Week, April 21st -27th.
A FEDERATION PRAYER
Gathered here are women, Lord
A sisterhood by plan
Pledged to do our very best
In every way we can.
Some have within us, God
The means to promote zeal.
Others have a heart that’s touched
By what the others feel.
All here feel the need to serve
And bring about Thy way
Of understanding, truth and love.
This is the way we pray.
By action toward the things in life
That need our care and love.
So, look with favor on us Lord
And help to guide our ways
Let us see there is need
With love please fill our days.