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Soroptimist: Empowering Women and Girls

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By Kay Stewart

Soroptimist International of Kansas City, or SIKC, is a club of resolute women who volunteer to make a difference for women and girls in our community. And we have been loving doing it for 98 years! We were founded in 1926 with 100 of Kansas City’s top professional women who were tired of being turned away from men’s clubs and told to join a sewing circle. SIKC is made up of women of all ages, professions and ethnicities. We enjoy each other and have made lifelong friendships as a result.

We support women and girls through education, grants and encouragement. Throughout the years we’ve provided financial assistance and support when organizations such as Ronald McDonald House and KC Shepherd’s Center were launched. One of our members founded Safehome in Overland Park. Our club worked hard to make sure it succeeded.

Each year, Soroptimist Kansas City Foundation, a part of SIKC, grants funds to nonprofit organizations that have projects to help and support women and/or girls in the community. Most nonprofits can manage the capital campaigns and day-to-day finances. But there always seems to be some small project that is shifted to the bottom of the list to be addressed later. That is where SIKC comes in. We give small amounts ranging from $500 to $10,000 for these projects. Last May we distributed almost $100,000 to 21 nonprofits that aid women and girls. Since our foundation was established in 1954, we have given out over $1,200,000 in grants.

Soroptimist International of Kansas City also does hands-on service in our community. We served monthly Sunday night suppers to Ronald McDonald House families for 25 years. We make blankets for families at Safehome. We collect toiletries, school supplies and anything else women may need and donate them to various organizations.

We provided funds to a Soroptimist Club in Harare, Zimbabwe, to help buy school supplies for an orphanage and to dig a well. We have helped them establish sustainable farming for residents at a nursing home called the Society of Destitute Aged that has no other financial support.

And we have fun! Monthly meetings always include social time, dinner, and an engaging speaker.

If you are a woman who enjoys volunteering in a worthwhile way, you are invited to join us. Please check out our website, or contact us at