The Zonta Club of Mount Vernon had its organizational meeting in April 1930 and received its Charter on April 28, 1931. The SOM Club was the Zonta Club of New Rochelle. There were 17 charter members. The club’s name was changed to the Zonta Club of Mount Vernon Area in 1979 and in 2003 the club’s charter was reissued in the name of Zonta Club of Westchester.
The first club minutes in the archives is dated October 1946. The minutes indicated that the club was meeting at the Westchester Women’s Club where members paid $6.00 each per meeting. This arrangement lasted two months when the club meetings were at the YWCA where no fee was charged. It was decided to make a contribution to a Y project. The minutes ended May 1951. In 1969 the Club met two times a month at the Knolls Inn. A member was the proprietor. The first Tuesday was a business meeting and the third Tuesday was a program meeting. This lasted until 1984 when we moved to the Davenport Club for one meeting a month until March 3, 1993. The Board of Directors began meeting at members homes. The club met at Tree Tops from April 1993 to March 1995 and then to Daniel’s until April 2002 and Otto’s to June of 2004. We have been at J.C. Fogarty’s restaurant from September 9, 2004 to the present where meet on the third Tuesday of the month from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM.
Club Board and Committees
The Board originally consisted of a President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. We presently have one Vice President and have 3 elected Directors. Board members are elected to correspond with the Zonta International Biennium. The nominating committee (3) is elected at the time of the Board election.
Committee chairs are appointed by the President. Current committees are Service, Advocacy, Membership, United Nations and Fundraising.
Initially the club had 17 Charter Members. The numbers increased continually to 51 in 1982 and subsequently decreased gradually to the present membership of 19. To keep the membership informed a monthly (Sept through June) publication entitled “Zontagram” has been published since 1967. The club has a mentoring program and a new member orientation packet. Our first ZING (Zonta International Network Gathering) was held in 2004 and continues to present Zonta to new and potential members. A Website (zontaofwestchesterny.org) has been on line since 2005. The membership has a
“Constitution and By-Laws of the Zonta Club of Mount Vernon” (not dated) but probably the original by-laws. It was amended 3/16/43 and there have been six revisions since then, the last one being in 2015.
The Zonta Club of Mount Vernon was organized during a period of economic concern and stress. Our program has been sufficiently flexible to adapt to current concerns-whether during periods of war, economic stress, social change or civic development and expansion. In 1953, the club worked for the election of a member, Frances Marlett for the Office of assembly Woman in the state of NY. In 1972, Dorothea Hopfer was elected to the National Council of Women of the U.S. She also represented Zonta International for several years as an alternate observer at the UN.
2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2013-RAVE (Rape and Violence Eradication) Walk to benefit VAS (Victim Assistance Services) and SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner).
2009 – Vagina Monologues presented by VAS and Zonta Club of Westchester.
2010 – Screening of “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.”
2012 – Rape Aggressive Defense System, a realistic self-defense tactics and techniques for women.
2012 - The club was one of the sponsors of the Westchester Women Agenda Summit.
2014 – Film and discussion at library “Human Trafficking Modern Day Slave Trade.”
2015 – The club hosted “Understanding Domestic Violence: Empowering Women.”
2017 – “Making the Most of the Gift of Longevity” and Panel Discussion.
2018-19 – In response to US Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos’s attempts to weaken the protection granted by Title IX to rape and sexually assaulted victims (mostly women) our club orchestrated and organized a series of responses which were posted on the US Government Citizen Response Page. One or our members took leadership of this project and guided several other members through the process of responding.
Club Service Projects
From the beginning Zonta supported local programs such as scholarships: to the local high school, the Hospital School of Nursing, local Music Academy, the Mount Vernon Chapter of the UN Association, the YWCA, High School College Fund, and Day Care Center. We pledged $2000 to Mount Vernon Hospital for a room known as the Zonta Room. In 1966, 700 Books were shipped to Southeast Asia, and $1000 was given to the Zonta Club of Sierra Leone for their Cathedral School Rehabilitation Project which allowed for the purchase of chairs for the students. Donations were made to the Teen Peer-to-Peer Education Program of Task Force on Aids and the Look Good-Feel Better Program for breast cancer patients. Members participated in Literacy Volunteers of America. Members donated and planted trees at St. Paul’s Church located at the National Shrine of the Bill of Rights in 1985, 2000 and 2003 to block the view of the industrial areas from the site. Donations of Pajamas and books were given to the Pajama Program of Westchester. Since 2005 to present, the club annually supports Ejayes Charities (a medical mission in Nigeria) with funds and donations of supplies. The club is collecting new and gently used bras for “Free the Girls”. Our donations help survivors of human trafficking. Additional projects include delivering clothes to “My Sister’s Place,” providing transportation to medical appointments for women who have been unable to drive, spending time in a safe hours with women who have been trafficked. And finally, we are providing clothing for refugee women and children, and we are distributing books to children at day care programs and to refugees. Annually we provide Holiday gifts to mothers and their children by adopting families at the Northern Westchester Shelter. We have always contributed to the Amelia
Earhart Scholarship Fund. And one/third of our income is sent to the Zonta International Foundation annually.
The first fundraisers were bridge parties held in members’ homes. In January 1934 a musical, silver tea bridge party was held, at a local flower shop. Auctions were popular among members. A member contributed a floral arrangement at each meeting that was raffled. We held a fashion show/brunch for 17 years along with a silent auction. On these occasions we honored a Zontian of the Year or a Woman of the Year. We have sponsored a “Stay at Home Tea.” Tag Sales have been held in the yards of members and we participated in County Wide Garage Sales. A masquerade party with raffle, books and authors dinners and/or luncheons have been held. We sponsored two raffles for an ipad. Finally, we have sponsored several Dinner Theater fundraisers entitled “an Opera Experience” where participants learned about the plot and music of various famous operas and the life of the composer over dinner.
District Activities and Projects
The club hosted the 1935 District Conference at the Hotel Gramatan in Bronxville.
1965 District III Conference in New York City - Our club along with New Rochelle co-sponsored the luncheon
1974 District III Conference in Port Chester, NY co-hosted with the New Rochelle Club.
2003 – Charter Luncheon of the Zonta Club of Queens. We were a sponsoring club.
2007 - District 3 Conference held at the Sheraton Stanford Hotel.
The club has had one District Governor.
In the early years of the club we held many inter-city events and encouraged members to attend inter-city events of other clubs. Our members have attended and hosted area workshops. The club has had two area directors.
Members participated in the Zonta International Convention held in New York City, July 2004 – working prior and during the event. Members have attended many of the International Conventions or have assigned a proxy.
A Young Woman in Public Affairs award of $1,000 has been given to 20 students since 1979. Five of these students have also won the District award and three have gone on to win at the Zonta International level.
The Zonta Club of Westchester has contributed to the Amelia Earhart Fund since its beginning and has given 1/3 of funds raised to Zonta International Foundation. Individual members are encouraged to contribute.
Archival material is held at a member’s home. It consists of seven 15x 5 x 11 archival boxes and one flat archival box. Brief History prepared February 2019.