An Outstanding Year of Helping Women and Girls

I know we are all busy but I urge you to use a coffee break today (or a wine or soda break tonight) and read through the Program Impact Report. Yes, it’s a 6 page report, but we all know that our scope as Soroptimists goes so much farther then our own little bubble here in Dundas/Ancaster/Flamborough and this report truly puts that into prospective.

For those of you less patient, here are some highlites:

  • 1,120 women helped through the Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Awards and $1,353,463 was disbursed
  • 7,414 women and girls wer reached through the Soroptimist Club Grants for Women and Girls
  • 1,328 women and their families benefited from the Soroptimist Disaster Relief Grants where over $62,100
  • 528 outstanding women were honored with the Making a Difference for Women Award

You can download a PDF copy here »

Making a Difference for Women Award is Being Renamed

The Soroptimist Making a Difference for Women Award recognizes women who have worked to improve the lives of women and girls through their professional or volunteer work. Each year, clubs honor women around the world with this award and donate more than $90,000 to support their important work.

The SIA Board has decided it’s time to give this great program a new name. “Making a Difference for Women” is a phrase used by many organizations for programs and awards, and therefore does not succeed in setting Soroptimist or the award apart. It is also a long and rather cumbersome name. Soroptimist has asked clubs and members for their suggestions for a new name, and thanks to the many members who responded.

There is an online poll to narrow down the two choices. Soroptimist members, check your email to find out more information about how you can vote!

SIA National Disaster Relief Fund

Recently, the board of directors of SIA approved three $20,000 disaster relief grants to help women and girls to rebuild their lives following disasters. The grants were given to SI/Cedar Rapids/Marion, USA, the Philippines Region, and SI/Kalibo, Philippines.

As a result of recent need, the SIA Disaster Relief Fund is dangerously low. Please help us remain responsive to the special needs of women and girls when the next natural or man-made disaster strikes. Send club or individual donations, earmarked Disaster Relief, to SIA Headquarters (SIAHQ). Find out more »


Soroptimist International received a request from the United Nations to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They are hoping to have a billion signatures and they are only at 35,321 as of today.

Please share this and help support our cause by signing up today! Here is the link:

2008 is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 60th anniversary. It’s time for a global conversation about human rights and the values that unite us. It can also be a time when each of us chooses to take human rights into our daily lives, individually and collectively.

Image courtesy of Franklin D Roosevelt Library

Image courtesy of Franklin D Roosevelt Library

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Live Your Dream Art Contest!

Soroptimist announces the Live Your Dream Art Contest! Open to all kindergarten-12th grade students, this contest asks kids to draw a woman who inspires them—be it their mom or grandmother, a teacher, a woman from history, or even a woman depicted in fiction.

The contest is open to both boys and girls, and because it involves a visual medium, children from every SIA country can participate. The success of this project depends on your participation, and SIA hopes you and your club will promote the contest. This is an exciting opportunity to get your schools involved and raise awareness about Soroptimist and the Live Your Dream Campaign.

Visit and click here for contest rules, deadlines, submission guidelines, information about prizes, and an online publicity kit to help you spread the word. Contact for more information.

Fall Area Meeting

The Fall Area Meeting this year was hosted by SI Humber, Credit Valleys and Brampton on Saturday October 18. It was a packed agenda with speakers from SIA Headquarters, including an inspiring workshop with SIA President Alice Wells. Leontyne Anglin, the SIA Membership Director, conducted a hands-on presentation on how to match the needs of the clubs with the skills and interests of it’s members.

One of the after noon speakers was Clare Freeman, Executive Director of Interval House and Making A Difference for Women winner for the Eastern Canada Region. Her heart felt story was emotionally charged as she explained her life story and the challenges she faced on her path.

Clare’s story was supported by Alfredo Marroquin from the Ontario Domestic Violence Initiative: Neighbours Friends and Family. His presentation and 15-minute documentary provided critical information about how neighbours, friends and families are impacted by woman abuse and illustrated the importance of community-based strategies for ending woman abuse.

There were so many opportunities to support other clubs – diabetic jam, raffle tickets, handmade note cards. We raised $180 on a draw on a 20″ strand of 5.5mm Akoya pearls from Japan. Congratulations to the winner, MaryLynn Koekkoek from SI Peterborough, and thank you Sandy Gray for being so prepared and making the Hallowe’en earrings and pins.

Women’s Opportunity Award Statistics for 2008

This year, a record 946 clubs participated in the Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Awards and honored 1,120 deserving women in their communities. These awards provided more than $1.3 million to help women reclaim their dreams of a better life for themselves and their families. All participating clubs will receive a certificate and the sincere thanks of the women they helped.

Thank you to all the Soroptimist clubs working to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world.


President Machiko Yamada
SIA President

40th SIA Biennial Convention: Taipei, Taiwan

The SIA 40th Biennial Convention was held on July 16-19, 2008 at Taipei International Convention Center and Grand Hyatt, Taipei, Taiwan. The theme of this convention was “Sharing Good Fortune,” which encouraged members to be thankful for what they have and to pass their good fortune on to women in need.

Alison Levine served as keynote speaker. Team captain for the first American Women’s Mount Everest expedition, Alison shared lessons she learned while climbing the world’s highest peaks. Many of Alison’s experiences on the mountain became tenets she now follows at work, such as daring to move backwards in order to go forward, and making sure fear does not dictate decisions. She also shared the power of partnering, portraying a positive attitude as a leader, and asking questions in order to achieve goals. Hear an excerpt from her talk >>

Some Encouraging Statistics:
This past year, 773 clubs participated in the Violet Richardson Award, and gave nearly $300,000 to girls and $130,000 in donations to the girls’ volunteer organizations, totaling $430,000.

Making a Difference for Women Award recognizes women who are working to improve the lives of women and girls. This year’s recipient, Anne Ream of Chicago, Illinois, was also in attendance to accept the finalist award — a $5,000 donation to The Voices and Faces Project, the organization Anne founded in 2003. Its mission is to give a voice and face to rape survivors, offering a sense of solidarity and possibility to those who have lived through abuse, while raising awareness of how this human rights and public health issue impacts victims, families and communities.

New 2008/09 SIA Board of Directors

New SIA 2008/09 Board of Directors

Soroptimist is doing such important work, and to be recognized by your organization is indeed humbling,” Anne said. “It is good to be in the company of an international community of women who believe that we can, and must, work collectively to make the world a more fair, just, and safe place for women and girls.”

Special Thanks
Shirley McCoy attended on our behalf this year and there were 1700 members at the convention and 778 of them had attended convention for the first time. Shirley wrote us to say “Taipei was very busy with sooooo many people and motor scooters everywhere. It was an experience of a life time.”

Shirley also very kindly bought each of our club member the new SIA pin with our the new logo. We are very grateful for her generosity!

Spring Conference in St. Catherine’s

Spring confernce this year was the 76th annual and hosted by SI Stoney Creek-Niagara and held in St. Catherine’s.

We as SI – DAF won 4 (yes four!!!) awards: Highest Conference Attendance (as a percentage), Recruitment Award, Retention Award and the coveted Rose Bowl!!!  The Rose Bowl is for the greatest percentage in membership increase from March 2007 to March 2008.  We all should be proud for sharing our passion for Soroptimist with our friends, and truly being the little engine that could!!

Also, Brooke donated a basket that was raffled at the Spring Conference and raised $ 585. Way to go ladies…