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. To see updates on the Centennial Anniversary go to www.zonta.org and www.zonta100.org.

On November 14, 2019, The Zonta Club of Harrisburg-Hershey held a centennial party to celebrate Zonta International’s 100th anniversary of empowering women and children worldwide through service and advocacy at its monthly meeting at the Radisson Hotel in Camp Hill with a special program highlighting ZI’s history. At the party, several characters presented their decade of highlights in Zonta’s history over the past 100 years. Even fellow Zontian Emelia Earhart joined us. It was great fun. Also presented to Zonta member Kathleen O’Malley was the “Unsung Hero – Spirit” Award for her dedication to Zonta.

On November 14, 2019, The Zonta Club of Harrisburg-Hershey held a centennial party to celebrate Zonta International’s 100th anniversary of empowering women and children worldwide through service and advocacy at its monthly meeting at the Radisson Hotel in Camp Hill with a special program highlighting ZI’s history. At the party, several characters presented their decade of highlights in Zonta’s history over the past 100 years. Even fellow Zontian Emelia Earhart joined us. It was great fun. Also presented to Zonta member Kathleen O’Malley was the “Unsung Hero – Spirit” Award for her dedication to Zonta.

Presented at the party was a special Centennial Grant created this biennium to celebrate the 100th birthday to Denise Britton, Executive Director at Shalom House. The grant was to be used in partnership with a local agency that shared Zonta’s mission to empower women through service and advocacy. We were one of 62 clubs worldwide to receive this award.

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.