Complete History

The first Zonta Club was established in Buffalo, NY by a group of women who saw the need for a women’s service organization. At that time, women were not able to join Rotary International (a male service organization), so they created a female service organization. Here is the rest of the history timeline.

1919 – Convention of Zonta Clubs founded in Buffalo, New York, USA. Mary Jenkins is elected as the first president.

1920 – Zonta colors and emblem are adopted and the first issue of The Zontian is published.

1923 – The first international project is funded to care for 115,000 orphan children and women in Smyrna, Turkey. 1927 – The first club outside the US is formed in Toronto, Canada.

1930 – “Zonta International” name is adopted as the first European club is established in Vienna, Austria.

1938 – The Amelia Earhart Fellowship is established in honor of the Zontian after her disappearance in 1937.

1948 – The first Z and Golden Z clubs are founded in Burbank, California, USA.

1963 – Zonta International is granted roster-level status by the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

1968 – Zonta International elects Helvi Sipilä as the first International President outside of the US. Contributions reach 1 million USD.

1970 – Zonta International elects Angie Brooks-Rudolph as its first International Honorary Member.

1975 – Zonta International President Eleanor Jammal and UN Committee Chairman Harriette Yeckel serve as Zonta’s official delegates to the UN International Women’s Year Conference in Mexico City, Mexico and Helvi Sipilä serve as secretary-general.

1980 – Zonta Club of Harrisburg-Hershey is chartered.

1983 – Zonta is granted consultative status with the Council of Europe.

1984 – Zonta International Foundation is established.

1986 – Zonta International becomes the first NGO to support UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women) and continues to support it today.

1990 – The Young Women in Public Affairs Award is established. Zonta Club of Harrisburg-Hershey approves its first service project in support of Shalom House.

1998 – Zonta welcomes its 1,000th club, Lomo, Togo. Zonta International Strategies to End Violence Against Women project (ZISVAW) is adopted as an on-going program. The Jane M. Klausman Women In Business Scholarship is established.

2001 – Zonta Club of Harrisburg-Hershey tours the United Nations in NYC.

2003 – Zonta Club of Harrisburg-Hershey donates 500 books in 125 decorated baskets to support the Central PA Literacy Council. Supports Program for Female Offenders where we helped a young lady go from prison to college.

2004 – Zonta Club of Harrisburg-Hershey does a Fly-In for special needs children at the CXY airport.  The Club delivered four complete computers, TV and VCR to the VK School in Bratunaz, Bosnia. Our “Computers for Bosnia” service project.

2012 – Zonta “Says NO to Violence Against Women” annual campaign is launched.

2014 – “Empowering Women Through Service and Advocacy” slogan is adopted.

2018 – Advocacy win!  PA Bill SB554 made into Law. Safe Harbor Bill against human sex trafficking.

2019 – Advocacy win!  PA Bill HB315 made into Law. FGM against female genital mutilation in PA. Zonta Club of Harrisburg-Hershey’s first joint rally with “Unchained At Last” to advocate against child marriage in PA.

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