About Soroptimist

What is Soroptimist?
Soroptimist is a global women’s organization whose members work to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. Soroptimist programs focus on providing women and girls with access to education, which is one of the most effective ways to end social problems disproportionately affecting women and girls.  

What does the word "Soroptimist" mean?
Loosely translated from Latin, Soroptimist is a coined term meaning "best for women."  

When was Soroptimist formed?
The first Soroptimist club was formed in 1921 by a group of 80 women in Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA. 

How can women join Soroptimist?
Women who are interested in joining a Soroptimist club should visit the Get Involved section and fill out the Introduction Form. For more information, contact Soroptimist headquarters at //www [dot] soroptimist [dot] org/whoweare/siahq [at] soroptimist [dot] org" target="_blank">siahq [at] soroptimist [dot] org.

Why does Soroptimist focus on women and girls?
Soroptimist was formed because in 1921 women who were interested in volunteering in their communities were not permitted to join male service organizations. Since that time, the organization has worked to help women improve their standing in the world. Despite tremendous strides, women still do not enjoy equal economic or social status with their male counterparts. As an organization of and for women, Soroptimist feels uniquely qualified to tackle the challenges facing today's women and girls.

What programs does Soroptimist offer?
Soroptimist members belong to local clubs. Clubs participate in the Dream Programs of Soroptimist, Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women and Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls to help women and girls achieve social and economic empowerment. The Dream Programs of Soroptimist ensure women and girls have access to the education and training they need to reach their full potential and live their dreams. Soroptimist is committed to investing in programs that have a sustainable, measurable change for women and girls. Clubs also participate in local level projects such as providing mammograms to low-income women, working to end sex trafficking for women and girls and mentoring women in domestic violence shelters.

Soroptimist also sponsors LiveYourDream.org, an online community empowering volunteer action and activism. The self-motivated network is made up of people who wish to support women and girls in their quest to lead better lives, while gaining inspiration in their own lives. Members of the free online community work on topics such as women’s economic empowerment, ending violence against women, human trafficking, and more. They also have access to inspirational articles, tips, and blogs that can help them live their own personal dreams.

How are Soroptimist programs funded?
Soroptimist programs are funded by investment income, member dues, and contributions from clubs and members. As a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, Soroptimist also depends on outside contributions from people who support the Soroptimist mission.

How can I contribute to Soroptimist?
You can make a contribution that will help women and girls improve their lives by making a donation online or downloading and mailing a contribution form. Charitable gifts can be sent to: Soroptimist International of the Americas, 1709 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-6103 or faxed to 215-893-5200. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by United States law. Support for Soroptimist's programs also comes from corporate gifts and partnerships. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, contact susan [at] soroptimist [dot] org or 215-893-9000.

How can women apply for a Live Your Dream Award?
Live Your Dream Awards applications are available from local participating Soroptimist clubs. If the award has not been advertised in the local area, click here to access application information.

Does Soroptimist International of the Americas hold a convention?
Soroptimist holds its convention every two years. The 2016 convention took place in Orlando, Florida, July 20-23, 2016. Contact siahq [at] soroptimist [dot] org for more information.

Does Soroptimist have an archives?
The Soroptimist Archives, housed at Soroptimist headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is open to all researchers. Visitors are required to fill out an archives request form, and are requested to make an appointment to ensure adequate staffing during the proposed research visit. Email the archivist, Lisa Mangiafico, at //www [dot] soroptimist [dot] org/whoweare/lisa [at] soroptimist [dot] org" target="_blank">lisa [at] soroptimist [dot] org for a collections description, registration information, to schedule an appointment, or to learn more about the Visiting Researchers Grant program.

What is the relationship between Soroptimist International of the Americas and Soroptimist International?
Soroptimist International of the Americas, headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, USA, is one of four federations comprising Soroptimist International (SI), which is headquartered in Cambridge, England. The other three federations affiliated with SI are: Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland, headquartered in Cheshire, England;Soroptimist International of Europe, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland; and Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific, headquartered in Sydney, Australia.

How many members are in Soroptimist?
Soroptimist International has about 76,000 members. Soroptimist International of the Americas has about 32,000 members.

How many countries make up Soroptimist?
Soroptimist International members reside in over 120 countries and territories throughout the world. Soroptimist International of the Americas' clubs are located in 20 countries and territories: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guam, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Northern Mariana Islands, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, United States and Venezuela.

What is the Soroptimist relationship with the United Nations?
Soroptimist International has consultative status with the United Nations' Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which oversees U.N. activities and policies promoting human rights. Representatives from Soroptimist International can request agenda items, submit written statements for circulation to all members of the council, make oral statements at meetings, and contribute to other U.N. gatherings and seminars. Soroptimist representatives are volunteers and work in one of the four U.N. centers in New York City, Paris, Vienna or Geneva. It is in this forum that Soroptimist representatives can advocate for the Soroptimist mission of improving the lives of women and girls.