The first Soroptimist club was formed in 1921 by a group of 80 women in Oakland, Alameda County, California. They chose their name from two Latin words meaning "best for women."
Soroptimists today continue the work begun by their predecessors. The heart of Soroptimist’s mission is to "make a difference for women" through volunteer service to the community. Projects are carefully chosen to address challenges unique to today’s women. Sample club projects include providing minority women with routine medical care, funding domestic violence shelters, sponsoring career development programs for teen mothers, and tutoring women in literacy and basic job skills.
Soroptimist clubs receive assistance in their volunteer efforts by participating locally in programs developed and sponsored by the organization. Soroptimist’s major service project, the Women’s Opportunity Awards program, provides cash grants for head-of-household women seeking to improve their economic situation through additional education and training.
Soroptimist, a recognized authority on matters that women value most, uses its international voice and official status with the United Nations to advocate on behalf of women’s issues.
Soroptimist membership provides an enriching environment for women to develop friendships and to support each other, while experiencing the satisfaction of their collective efforts to improve communities. These women, who represent leaders across all professional disciplines, also serve as role models for younger women at the beginning of their careers.