Frequently Asked Questions

What does the word “Soroptimist” mean? Loosely translated from Latin, Soroptimist is a coined term meaning “best for women.”

      Soror \ [Latin] Sister
optimus \ [Latin] Best

Is Soroptimist a new organization? No. Soroptimist began in 1921 in Oakland, California when the first club was formed for the purpose of joining together executive business and professional women to render service. Other clubs were quickly formed in North America. 1924 saw the first clubs in Europe. By 1928 there were enough clubs in these continents to form two Federations—American and European. A link between Federations was established by the creation of the “Soroptimist International Association” in 1928. Today Soroptimist clubs in over 120 countries are joined in four Federations that are linked together through the International Association. Soroptimist International of Raleigh, NC is the name of the local Raleigh club. Chartered in 1987, it is part of the South Atlantic Region in the Soroptimist International of Americas (SIA) Federation.

How is the Raleigh Club organized? We operate with a board of directors to conduct the business of the club. The decisions of the board are reviewed with the club membership. That membership is called upon to vote on items of interest to the club as the Board deems necessary. Committees address the areas of finance, service, membership, fund raising and programs, making recommendations to the board and the membership. Other committees are formed as required. Committees report regularly to the board and the membership.

Why does Soroptimist focus on women and girls? Soroptimist was formed because in 1921 women who were interested in volunteer service were not permitted to join male service organizations. Since that time, the organization has worked to help women improve their standing in the world. Despite tremendous strides, women still do not enjoy equal economic or social status with their male counterparts. As an organization of and for women, Soroptimist feels uniquely qualified to tackle the challenges facing today’s women and girls.

What programs does Soroptimist offer? Soroptimist offers several programs that improve the lives of women and girls. Major programs include the Live Your Dream Awards, the Live Your Dream Plus program,  and Dream It, Be It Career Support for Girls, .

In addition to participating in programs offered by the organization, the local Raleigh club works on community-based projects that benefit women and girls. Some of these programs include the Raleigh Boutique of Dress for Success Triangle NC, Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program and Holiday Projects.

How are Soroptimist programs funded? Soroptimist programs are funded by member dues, fundraising projects, grants and contributions from members. As a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, Soroptimist also depends on outside contributions from people who support the Soroptimist mission. The Raleigh club participates in a number of fun group fundraising projects such as our Tag Sale, sale of Auto Bell Car Wash coupons, our Puzzle Mania event and our Mardi Gras Casino Night.

Why Should I become a Soroptimist? Because you like the “Think Globally, Act Locally” philosophy of Soroptimist. Because you want to participate with others in service to the community. Because you want to build friendships with remarkable women, locally and around the world. Because you want to build your leadership skills by accepting positions of responsibility in the club.

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