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About Us


Soroptimist International Alhambra, San Gabriel, San Marino is a diverse and dynamic organization of leaders who empower women and girls to be their best selves and live their dreams. Please consider joining us in this important endeavor.

Why Soroptimist?


Soroptimist was formed in 1921 in Oakland, California, at a time when women were not permitted to join service organizations. Our name, loosely translated from Latin, means best for women. Our first president was Violet Richardson Ward, a physical education teacher who fought for equal pay for women. When she retired from her presidency, her parting words were: "Let us continue the work together and with others, toward the development of a better womanhood, a better manhood, and a better citizenship."


We are one of five federations that make up Soroptimist International, has around 66,000 members 120 countries throughout the world.

Soroptimist International consists of Soroptimist International of the Americas, Soroptimist International of Europe, Soroptimist International of Great Britain & Ireland and Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific. SI's network of around 72,000 club members works at a local, national, and international level to Educate, Empower and Enable opportunities for women and girls. SIA currently has over 25,000 members in North America, Latin American, and the Pacific Rim.

The first project was to ‘Save the Redwoods’ – the great ancient trees which were being felled and the club lobbied the legislature, taking on powerful lumber companies, and winning public support, which resulted in a major portion of the forest being set aside as protected land, that still exists today.

By 1937, clubs had been established in Great Britain and Ireland, Europe, and Australia.  During World War II, Soroptimists embarked on rescuing members of the SI Vienna club and their families, threatened by the Nazi regime. American Soroptimists donated funds and clothing and many clubs across Europe were forced to meet clandestinely, making and mending clothes, and preparing all manner of items that were needed. Soroptimists opened Rest Rooms for women in the forces and a New Zealand club set up a refugee relief committee for people escaping from Europe.


In 1946 Soroptimists held a reception for delegates to UN conferences, which included Eleanor Roosevelt, and in 1948, the Soroptimist International Association was awarded Consultative status with UNESCO.

The Association was awarded category C Consultative status with ECOSOC (Economic & Social Council, United Nations) in 1950. In 1952 the governing body of Soroptimist International was founded, as it is today.

In 1966, UNICEF granted consultative status to Soroptimist International for service projects for children and in 1975, Soroptimists attended the First UN World Conference on Women which was held in Mexico City.

In 1978, South West Pacific Federation was born and in 1982, for the first President’s December 10th Appeal, Catherine Salt chose the very first President’s Appeal project on the island of Pulau Bidong, Malaysia, helping refugee women and children. Pulau Bidong was the first asylum centre run in co-operation with UNHCR and provided housing, care and maintenance, including medical and social services for refugees awaiting re-settlement. Soroptimist International was granted Category 1 Consultative status (now General Consultative Status) with ECOSOC, in 1984.

Soroptimist clubs receive assistance in their volunteer efforts by participating locally in programs developed and sponsored by the Soroptimist organization. SIA is headquartered in Philadelphia and SI is headquartered in Cambridge, England.

For more information on SIA and SI, please visit:



Charter members of the first Soroptimist club, 1921.


Soroptimists held an International Convention in Atlantic City.


US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt is the honored guest and speaker at a weekly luncheon of the Washington DC Club in 1943.

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Soroptimist is committed to:

EDUCATION: Women and girls deserve to lead full and productive lives through access to education.
EMPOWERMENT: Women and girls are free to act in their own best interest.
DIVERSITY & FELLOWSHIP: Women from varied backgrounds and perspectives work together to improve the lives of women and girls.
GENDER EQUALITY: Women and girls live free from discrimination.

90 Years and Counting!

Soroptimist of Alhambra, San Gabriel, San Marino was chartered in 1933. We are one of 22 clubs in the Camino Real Region and are one of five federations that make up Sororptimist International, which has clubs in more than 120 countries throughout the world.

1935 Alhambra Pres Dr. Alice McConaughy.jpg
Alhambra Charter in 1933.jpg
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1939: First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt devotes her entire column "My Day" to the Alhambra club's rehabilitation program at Tehachapi.


1967: Dr. Annie Chin Siu becomes Alhambra Soroptimist President. Dr. Siu has been a member of Soroptimist for years.


1967: Sorptimists of Alhambra-San Gabriel take the first step toward raising $149,000 for Alhambra Day Nursery.


1967: Soroptimists Dessie Vukanovich and Ann Henderson with the President of the Alhambra Day Nursery, Grace Parrish, look over the new proposed building.

More Coming Soon!

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