Our History

Our Name

The first question we are often asked about Soroptimist is: "what does the name mean?"

The name Soroptimist was coined from the Latin soro meaning sister, and optima meaning best. Soroptimist is perhaps best interpreted as 'the best for women'. From the founding of the first Soroptimist club in Oakland, California, in 1921, through to the present day where over 3000 clubs are flourishing throughout the world, Soroptimists have continued to strive to achieve 'the best for women' in every sphere of their lives.

What do we do?

Soroptimist members belong to local clubs that determine the focus of volunteer work in their own communities. Club projects range from renovating domestic violence shelters and providing mammograms to low-income women, to sponsoring self-esteem workshops for teenage girls.

Soroptimist International of Woodbridge (SIOW) has been serving the community since 1977. We are a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization; 100% of our income is through fundraising events. Our goal is to ensure that women and girls:

  • Enjoy equity and equality
  • Live in safe, healthy environments
  • Have access to education
  • Have leadership and practical skills

Notable Dates of Soroptimist International

The first Soroptimist club was formed in 1921 in Oakland, California.The founding club coined the name from two Latin words, meaning “Best for Women”. Today, Soroptimist International comprises four Federations: the Americas, Europe, Great Britain and Ireland, and Southwest Pacific in 130 countries and territories and 3000 communities.

The South Atlantic Region, comprising the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia one of the 28 regions of Soroptimist International of Americas. There are 26 clubs and 500 members in the region.

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Notable Dates of Soroptimist International of Woodbridge

1977 Soroptimist International of Woodbridge Chartered Maureen Weeks was elected SI of Woodbridge's first President

1978 Inauguration of SI South West Pacific Federation. The Founder President was Mary Whitehead. SI Woodbridge attended their first Spring Conference.