It’s A Great Day To Be An Altrusan!
Altrusans make communities better through leadership, partnership and service. Hmmm, you say ….but what is an Altrusan? An Altrusan is a member of Altrusa and let me share with you our humble beginnings.
In 1917, Dr. Alfred Durham, a member of Kiwanis, founded The Altrusa Institute in Nashville. He saw the need for women’s civic groups as a result of a the large number of ladies joining the work force due to World War I. He was a man of vision and saw The Altrusa Institute becoming national. He began in Nashville, TN; Louisville, KY; and Dayton, OH before he moved to Indianapolis, IN where he met Mamie L. Bass.
At that time, Mamie and her brother were architects and together organized a Rotary Chapter in Indianapolis. After meeting Dr. Durham, Mamie became a member of The Altrusa Institute but she saw a higher purpose for this new organization.
In June of 1918, Mamie was elected National President at the first Altrusa convention held in Indianapolis. With Mamie’s vision, The Altrusa Institute became a classified service organization for women. Currently, Altrusa has done away with the classification system. Mamie soon created the Principles of Altrusa including the moniker of being “a builder of women”
In 1935, Altrusa became international with the first club outside the United States formed in Mexico.
In 1946, Altrusa sent its first representative to the United Nations.
In 1962, Altrusa International Foundation, Inc. was formed as the philanthropic arm of Altrusa. The Foundation provides grants to club projects and contributes to disaster relief efforts worldwide.
First and foremost, Altrusa is a community-based, grassroots organization that helps to solve problems in our backyard. Altrusa of Lawrence has been proudly serving the Lawrence community since its founding in 1951. Our busy Lawrence Altrusans provide hands-on service and raise money for worthy agencies such as:
* Douglas County Senior Services
* Family Promise of Lawrence
* Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)
* Willow Domestic Violence Center
* New York Elementary School & Lawrence Education Achievement Partners (LEAP)
A specific Altrusa service area of focus is literacy. The Lawrence Club’s signature Literacy Service Project is Born to Read, which has been ongoing since 2001. Lawrence Altrusans purchase and provide books to Lawrence Memorial Hospital to be provided to every newborn at the hospital. Books are available in both English and Spanish. Babies love to hear you read!
Thoreau inspired Mamie to quip “It is not enough to be good; Altrusans need to be good for something.”
Come check us out – we would love to meet you! If you have questions or would like more information, please contact me.
Debbie L. Schmidt
Lawrence Club President 2014-2015