General Federation of Women’s Clubs
Founded in 1890, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) continues to be a unifying force, bringing together local women’s clubs from around the country and throughout the world. Although there is considerable diversity in the ages, interests, and experiences of GFWC clubwomen, all are united by a dedication to community improvement through volunteer service.
Today there are chapters in all 50 states and more than a dozen countries. Members work locally to create global change. From our historic headquarters in Washington, D.C., GFWC leaders and staff offer support and guidance to more than 100,000 members and more than 4,000 clubs.
What distinguishes GFWC from other service organizations is the breadth of our outreach. Our community service programs span all areas of the lives of our members, their families and communities: arts, conservation, education, home life, public issues and international outreach. In addition, GFWC has earned a reputation as a powerful force in the fight against domestic violence.
Accomplishments during GFWC’s first century include:
- Establishment of 75 percent of the country’s public libraries
- Development of kindergartens in public schools
- Involvement in working for food and drug regulation
During its second century, GFWC has pledged to maintain its commitment to working for a better world. With “Unity in Diversity” as its motto and a strong umbrella of programs that clubs may adapt to suit the needs of their local communities, GFWC encourages the flexibility that has enabled it to expand its reach in a rapidly changing society.
The GFWC web site offers comprehensive information on its wide variety of achievements, activities, and leadership.
GFWC Maryland Federation
The purpose of the GFWC Maryland Federation of Women’s Clubs is to unite the women’s clubs of Maryland. This allows the clubs to work for the betterment of their communities through the support of the arts; the preservation of our natural resources; the promotion of education; the encouragement of healthy lifestyles; stressing civic involvement; and working towards world peace and understanding.
The Maryland Federation serves 46 active clubs divided into five geographic areas. These are: Baltimore, Eastern Shore, Montgomery County, Southern and Western.
The first Maryland clubs started forming around 1872 in the Baltimore area. In October 1899, several of these clubs met to discuss forming a state federation. In December of that year, they adopted a constitution with 19 Charter Clubs.
The first annual meeting of the Maryland Federation took place in March 1900 in the Baltimore area. A month later, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs admitted the Maryland Federation into its ranks.
The Maryland Federation website provides more detailed information on its activities.