Soroptimist is an international organization for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world.
Soroptimist’s mission is to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world. In order to accomplish this goal, the organization administers several international programs. The organization’s major project is the Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Awards, which assists women by giving them the resources they need to improve their education, skills and job prospects.
Soroptimist Ruby Award: For Women Helping Women
The Soroptimist Ruby Award: For Women Helping Women acknowledges women who are working to improve the lives of women and girls through their personal or professional activities. Their efforts help to promote the issues that are important to the Soroptimist organization. Honorees are women who have worked in extraordinary ways to benefit women and girls. Examples of the type of work honored include: spearheading an effort to open a domestic violence shelter, working to secure health services for low-income women, starting a mentoring program for at-risk girls, or lobbing companies to provide on-site child care. The program enables local Soroptimist clubs and the Soroptimist organization to thank these women and encourage others to explore ways to assist women and girls. The program begins on the club level, where the type of recognition varies. Award winners at the club level are eligible for additional awards at other levels of the organization. The finalist receives a $5,000 donation to the charitable organization of her choice.
Soroptimist Violet Richardson Award
The program is named after Violet Richardson Ward, the first president of the first Soroptimist club. Richardson Ward was committed to creating opportunities for girls and young women through her affiliations with Soroptimist, the Girl Scout Council and the American Association of University Women. Her passion for volunteer service, particularly as it affected women and girls, has been an inspiration to Soroptimists throughout the years.
Participating Soroptimist clubs implement the program at the local level, where awards vary. Club-level recipients then become eligible for a $1,000 cash award, with a matching $1,000 cash award for the charitable organization of the recipient’s choosing. The Soroptimist organization grants one finalist $2,500 award to the recipient’s volunteer organization.
Soroptimist Club Grants for Women and Girls
Soroptimists work to improve the lives of women and girls in their communities and throughout the world. Often the abilities and ambitions of clubs exceed their financial resources. To help clubs meet community need, Soroptimist introduced the Soroptimist Club Grants for Women and Girls in 1997 to assist with community projects that improve the lives of women and girls. The Soroptimist organization funds about $175,000 each year in Soroptimist Club Grants. Since the program’s inception, nearly $1.4 million has been awarded and clubs have assisted more than 100,000 women and their families. Recent projects include providing resources for immigrant women fleeing domestic violence; funding a micro-enterprise artisan project for low-income women; providing reproductive health services for women in poverty; and teaching marketable job skills to girls with disabilities. The program is the recipient of an Award of Excellence from the American Society of Association Executives’ Associations Advance America designation.
Soroptimist Disaster Grants for Women and Girls
Soroptimists Disaster Grants for Women and Girls targets the special needs of women and girls during natural and man-made disasters. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable during disasters and lack access to resources. They also have special abilities to respond to disasters, which is often overlooked. Soroptimist’s disaster recovery program mitigates the barriers facing women and girls during disasters. In addition, the program honors the commitments made by the United Nations in the Beijing Platform for Action and the Outcome Statement of the 46th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women. Soroptimist gives funds to local clubs for use in communities needing disaster recovery . Funds are pooled from voluntary contributions sent in from Soroptimist members throughout the world.
Soroptimist recognizes that women have increased vulnerability during disaster, lack access to resources, and suffer disproportionately in the aftermath of disasters. The Disaster Recovery Fund began ad hoc following a 1964 earthquake in Alaska and was formalized as a Soroptimist initiative in 1988. In 2002, the program was redesigned to focus on women and girls. This fund helps support relief work that benefits women and girls in areas affected by natural disasters or acts of war. The Disaster Recovery Fund is supported entirely by voluntary donations from Soroptimist clubs and members.