What is Soroptimist?

Soroptimist was founded in California in 1921 and Soroptimist International of Ashland (SIA) was chartered in 1946. The organization now has more than 80,000 members in 127 countries and territories and is the only service organization with representation at the United Nations.

Our vision is that “Women and girls have the resources and opportunities to reach their full potential and live their dreams.” We accomplish this through our mission “to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to economic and social empowerment.”

Who is Soroptimist International of Ashland?

SIA currently has 50-plus members and is always interested in new members who want to be involved in community service, while having fun! Membership is open to both women and men who are interested in improving the lives of women and girls.

How do Soroptimists serve the community of Ashland?

SIA and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival have been community partners since 1949. By managing and staffing the pillow and blanket booth every summer, SIA is able to donate almost $25,000 annually to the OSF FAIR (Fellowships, Apprenticeships, Internships and Residencies) program.

The remainder of the proceeds support scholarships to recognize local women and girls for their achievements in education, sports or community service and other non-profit organizations supporting, health, education, environment, human rights and status of women and international goodwill and understanding. This is all possible due to the ongoing support of OSF patrons.

Our signature project, Soroptimist Strong Girls Strong Women, initiated in 2008, develops leadership and academic strengths in math and science for K-5 girls at Helman Elementary School. In addition, we support international and local projects such as disaster relief, small business loans for African women and an annual Ashland conference to educate law enforcement personnel and community members about sexual assault and sex trafficking.

Contact us for more information

SIA meets from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesdays from September through May at La Casa del Pueblo. For more information, contact Kathy Garrett-Canape at P.O. Box 544, Ashland, OR 97520, by phone at 541-482-6288, by email at Bkgco2@aol.com or siashland@soroptimist.net or visit www.soroptimisrv.org/siashland.html.

If you are involved in a community organization and would like to let our readers know more about it by writing a Community Contributor column, contact Daily Tidings Editor Bert Etling at 541-631-1313 or betling@dailytidings.com.