Centennial Anniversary

HONOR AND EMPOWER – THE ZONTA INTERNATIONAL CENTENNIAL THEME

Zonta International has been empowering women for nearly 100 years through service and advocacy. One hundred years ago, a small group of pioneering women came together in Buffalo, New York with a vision to help all women realize greater equality while using their individual and collective expertise in service to their community.

Their vision became Zonta International, an organization that has grown to more than 29,500 members in 63 countries, working together to make gender equality a reality for women and girls worldwide. The official Centennial Anniversary date is November 8, 2019, but we will be celebrating 100 Years of Empowering Women during the entire 2018-2020 Biennium.

We will see many updates on the Centennial Anniversary on the websites Zonta.org, and the newest centennial website – www.zonta100.org. This website is full of interesting Zonta facts, history and calendar updates. Check under history to read more about the International Service Project History (1923-Present) and the Zonta International Strategies to End Violence Against Women History (1996-Present).

The Zonta Club of Harrisburg-Hershey will be celebrating this momentous occasion at its monthly meeting on Thursday, November 14, 2019 with a special program highlighting ZI’s history. 

Centennial Anniversary Grants

In honor of the Centennial Anniversary, Zonta International offered grants of up to $5,000 to Clubs to recognize charitable organizations working to improve the lives of women and girls in their local communities.  The Zonta Club of Harrisburg-Hershey was honored to receive a $5,000 grant for our partnering organization, Shalom House, which will be used to continue its work of empowering women and transforming lives.

Club Centennial Champion Award

Another special celebratory program for local Zonta Clubs is the Club Centennial Champion Award presented to an outstanding individual in the community who has contributed significantly to empowering women.  On May 9, 2019, Denise Britton, Executive Director of Shalom House, was presented the Zonta Club of Harrisburg-Hershey’s Centennial Champion Award.

The Club will continue its celebration of ZI’s Centennial Anniversary throughout the 2019-2020 Zonta year and at the Club’s 40th Anniversary event to be held on April 26, 2020, at the West Shore Country Club.

Zonta’s History

In January 1919 in Buffalo, New York, Marian de Forest and four other women executives who attended a social meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Buffalo, were inspired to develop a new kind of service club, composed of women who were recognized leaders in their businesses and professions.

From this initial meeting of five women, Clubs were organized in Buffalo, Rochestser, Binghampton, Elmira and Syracuse followed by Erie, Ithaca, Utica and Detroit. The Confederation of Zonta Clubs was formed on November 8, 1919 in Buffalo with Mary E. Jenkins, newspaper publisher and civic leader as President.

In 1930, the Zonta International name was adopted. Today, Zonta International is a global organization of more than 29,000 members in nearly 1,200 Zonta Clubs in 63 countries with one clear mission – “empower women worldwide through service and advocacy.”

Our first international project occurred in 1923, when Zonta funded care for 115,000 orphan children and women in Smyrna, Turkey as a result of the Turkey-Greece conflict. In 1927 the first Club outside of the US was formed in Toronto, Canada, and Zonta became International.

Zonta started at a time in history when many women were just beginning to graduate from college, enter the workforce and vote for the first time. Today, 2019, Zontians around the globe are continuing the mission and passion of our founding members.