Service is our reason for being. We are committed to a world where women and girls achieve their individual and collective potential, realize aspirations, and have an equal voice in creating strong, peaceful communities worldwide. Through our three-pronged approach of Awareness, Advocacy and Action we work for a better world for all by making it a better world for women.
Throughout history—in every country in the world—women and girls face additional obstacles and discrimination solely because of their gender. By initiating club projects that benefit women and girls, and by honoring women who help women and girls, we improve their status. Soroptimist projects and programs aid women and empower them to make positive changes in their lives and their communities.
We approach our service with four goals:
- Ensuring women and girls enjoy equity and equality.
- Ensuring women and girls live in safe and healthy environments.
- Ensuring women and girls have access to education.
- Ensuring women and girls have leadership and practical skills
Soroptimists and their immediate families—whether they are members of our club or another club—are not eligible to receive any form of financial aid.
Making the Dream of Education a Reality
We believe that it is through education that many doors open and dreams come true. We honor those young women who are pursuing higher education as a means of reaching their goals.
Each year we award scholarships to graduating high school senior girls and when funds are available to deserving college students in local colleges and universities.
Scholarships are awarded based on financial need, scholastic achievement, motivation of the student, quality of recommendations, and to a lesser extent, extracurricular activities. All successful applicants meet with a selection board for a personal interview.
Scholarship funds are sent directly to the educational institution upon receipt of proof of registration for classes by the awardee. Scholarship funds are intended to be used for the year for which they have been awarded and can only be held over for a subsequent year with special permission.
Scholarship Applications are available from high school counselor offices, local college and university financial aid offices, and on-line.
Awarding Girls and Women Who Dream Higher
Live Your Dream Education and Training Award
The Live Your Dream Education and Training Award is the signature service program of Soroptimist International of the Americas and its member clubs. Women heads of household who have not yet attained their bachelor’s degree in their chosen field and are attending school (either college or training school) to improve their lives are eligible to apply. A woman who has a bachelor's degree is eligible for the award if she is seeking another degree in a different field.
Monetary awards are granted at our club level. The winner of our club’s award then competes for a region level award where again monetary awards are made. That winner is then eligible for one of the grand prizes, which currently are three $10,000 prizes. At all levels, the winner is chosen by an outside panel of judges.
To be eligible for this prize a woman must provide the primary financial support of her family, she must have dependents who rely on her for that support, and she must be enrolled in or planning to enroll in a college or training program.
You may access the Live Your Dreams application and reference forms here or by contacting our SIA Programs committee at email@example.com. Information packets are also available at most local college and university financial aid offices.
Ruby Award: Women Helping Women
The Ruby Award: Women Helping Women recognizes a woman in the community who either through her work or volunteerism has improved the lives girls or women.
Anyone – either a member of Soroptimist or outside of the club—may nominate a woman for this award. A woman may even nominate herself for the award. The winner chosen at the club level is given a monetary award for her organization. Her application is then submitted to the region for their award. The winner at that level then goes to the federation where a grand prize winner is selected.
If you know a woman who you believe qualifies for this award or if you are such a woman, you may complete a nomination form and submit it for consideration. Further information is available from our SIA Programs committee. firstname.lastname@example.org
Higher Dreams Through Fellowship …
Making a true difference by expanding the body of knowledge is the dream of doctoral students. We are here to support these women who are actively pursuing their doctoral degrees. Through Founder Region Fellowship we along with other clubs in our region provide funding for women in the final stages of their doctoral programs. We raise money for this program through special fundraisers and through direct donations by members.
For every $1000 raised for Fellowship, a member can be named a Fellow of Founder Region Fellowship. There are various ways this can be done—by a direct donation by an individual or a club, by entering your name into a pool with the name of one person being drawn for the honor, or by being gifted it by another member. We are enthusiastic supporters of this program and annually raise money for Fellowship. For the past several years we have been able to name multiple club members as new Fellows.
Celebrating Past Achievements of Women
The Heritage Chamber, a room celebrating the achievements of women, housed in the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum has been our Permanent Identifying Project since the 1970’s. It also serves as an auditorium for recitals and presentations.
This project was selected after long consideration and study by club members. While the museum staff has full latitude in selecting specific displays, they always celebrate women and their contributions to society. Our club supports the room with annual monetary grants. Several of our members have also served on the museum’s board of directors.
Foster Girls Graduation Basket[/caption]Our service projects evolve from year to year, but we always are involved in service. We have tackled such diverse projects as establishing a closet of clothing for women graduating from recovery programs, participating in cancer research projects, providing pigs for women in Nepal, furnishing and decorating a room at a long-term homeless shelter for women and children, sending items to servicewomen in the war zone, providing graduation pictures for foster girls, and many others.
Through our association with Soroptimist International, we participate in many programs where our contributions are combined with those from the over 3000 clubs internationally. These programs, such as Project SIerra, focus on improving the lives of women and girls in targeted ways.
Our service projects develop from suggestions made to us. If you are involved in a woman or girl centered program where we might be helpful in providing hands-on assistance, please contact us. Acceptable programs must focus on improving—not simply enhancing—the lives of women and girls. Tell us what work needs to be done, what the time commitment would be, and what resources would be available to us to complete the project. You may find it helpful to refer back to our four focus goals listed above.
Giving From the Heart
Additionally we make monetary donations to assist local projects, some of which include supporting girls wrestling teams, training in public speaking for young girls, young women’s health education, arts programs for girls, leadership training for girls, funding special celebration/empowerment programs for young mothers of limited means, purchased special bicycles for transporting Tanzanian women for prenatal care, and many others.
If you would like to apply for a grant, please contact us. Outline your programs, describing in detail your needs including the specific amount of money requested and explain how your program will improve—and not simply enhance—the lives of women and girls. You may find it helpful to refer back to the four focus goals outlined at the begining of this Service station.
Each request is carefully considered, so responses may take a minimum of a month and sometimes longer. Generally, our grants are disbursed from October through May.