History

South Atlantic Region History

For the better part of a century, Soroptimist members have been making a difference worldwide for women and girls in their communities. We are a service organization for women in business, management, and the professions through local clubs that are part of Soroptimist International. The first Soroptimist club was formed in 1921 in Oakland, California, and they chose the name from two Latin words meaning “best for women.”

Today there are four federations, the Americas, Europe, Great Britain and Ireland, and Southwest Pacific in 119 countries and almost 100,000 members. The South Atlantic Region comprised of the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, is one of the twenty-eight regions of Soroptimist International of the Americas. There are 28 clubs and 700 members in the region.

Each individual Soroptimist club identifies the needs of women and girls in its community and works to establish or support specific projects to address these needs on a volunteer basis, with financial support, hands-on service, or both. The goal is to improve the quality of life for women and their families by identifying needs and creating solutions through education, health, environment, economic and social development, international goodwill and understanding and the status of women programs.

Soroptimist projects are chosen to address challenges unique to today’s women. The Women’s Opportunity Awards Program is our identifying service project; it assists women entering or re-entering the workforce in obtaining the education and skills training needed to improve their employment and economic status.

The Violet Richardson Award, named after the organization’s founder, recognizes and honors young women between the ages of 14 and 17 who make the community and world a better place through volunteer efforts such as fighting drugs and violence and cleaning up the environment.

Domestic violence has been the organization’s identifying focus for action since 1994. Soroptimists developed a multi-part domestic violence initiative to prevent domestic violence and to assist victims of violence throughout its 19 countries and territories. Soroptimist have partnered with the Coalition Against Domestic Violence for the past several years to develop and distribute the booklet “Every Home A Safe Home”.

On an international basis, the 2007-2011 Quadrennial Project, Project SIerra, partners Soroptimist International with Hope and Homes for Children to transform the lives of some of the most deprived women and children in Sierra Leone by providing support to young mothers, assisting children living on the streets and working to assist the most vulnerable families in the country.

Soroptimists are committed to improving the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world through international goodwill and understanding, volunteer action, leadership development, fellowship and diversity. Membership in a Soroptimist club allows women to perform community service, make a difference in the community, share business or professional expertise with others, and forge new friendships.

For additional information contact us at info@soroptimist-sar.org.

Governors of the South Atlantic Region

1927-28

Ruby Lee Minar

Washington, DC

1928-30

Ethel Knight Pollard

Washington, DC

1930-32

Mary Catherine Lewis

Washington, DC*

1930-32*

Bernadine Schefneker

Detroit, MI*

1932-34

Nell R. Hysong

Washington, DC

1934-36

Jean Bennett

Washington, DC

1936-38

Jean Bennett?

Washington, DC

1938-40

Edith Reinhardt

Baltimore, MD

1940-42

Viola K. Almony

Baltimore, MD

1942-44

Pearle Sharpe

Arlington, VA

1944-46

Mae C. Bowman

Alexandria, VA

1946-48

Anna P. Rose

Montgomery Co., MD

1948-50

Ella C. Werner

Washington, DC

1950-52

Mary Bourke

Washington, DC

1952-54

Lula Feller

Baltimore, MD

1954-56

Margaret F. Schmidt

Williamsburg, VA

1956-58

A. Olivia Nicoll

Washington, DC

1958-60

Mildred Smart

Williamsburg, VA

1960-62

Elizabeth Moorefield

Asheville, NC

1962-64

Blanche T. Rogers

Baltimore, MD

1964-68

Katherine Stinson

Washington, DC

1966-68

Winifred G. Thompson
and Rebecca Tinker

Washington, DC
Williamsburg, VA

1968-70

Beth Bryson

Baltimore, MD

1970-72

Lyda Gordon Shivers

Greensboro, NC

1972-74

Margaret Supplee

Prince Georges County, MD

1974-76

Flora Lee Muth

Washington, DC

1976-78

Betty Jean “BJ” Cook

Bel Air, MD

1978-80

Jean Deardorff

Westminster, MD

1980-82

Betty F. Mendelson

Alexandria, VA

1982-84

Alma L. Higginbotham

Fairmont, WV

1984-86

Betty C. Roberts

Asheville, NC

1986-88

Lucinda Manarin

Upper Montgomery Co.,MD

1988-90

Karen Bautz

Laurel, MD

1990-92

Marie Y. Hughes

Virginia Peninsula, VA

1992-94

Betty Nester

Alexandria, VA

1994-96

R. Lynn Coleman

Jacksonville, NC

1996-98

Deborah O. McKinnon

Washington, DC

1998-2000

LouAnne Hunnicutt

Greenville, SC

2000-02

Janice Artemel

Washington, DC

2002-04

Sylvia Winterling

Alexandria, VA

2004-06

Warie Brock

Montgomery County, MD

2006-08

Gayle Griffith

Cumberland, MD

2008-10

Louise Skinner

Kent County, MD

2008-10

Christy Rumbaugh

Havre de Grace, MD

2012-14 Willie Mae McCracken Williamsburg, VA
2014-16

Robin S. Davis

Alexandria, VA

2016-18

Amy L. Harman

Hampton Roads, VA

* In 1932, the South Atlantic Region split, with clubs in Detroit and Akron forming the Midwestern Region.