DECADE BY DECADE
The History of the Zonta Club of Frederick, Maryland, organized and chartered by the Zonta Club of Washington in 1930.
The Zonta Club of Frederick was organized and chartered in 1930 under the aegis of the Washington, D.C. club. The 15 charter members included two educators, a physician, a public health nurse, two musicians, several business owners, and, of course, artist Helen Smith, who remained an active member until her death in 1997 at the age of 103. Within a year the club membership had climbed to 24.
The club met for dinner weekly at the Barbara Fritchie Tea Room in downtown Frederick. Since the club had been publicized as a service organization, it was immediately asked to contribute to the Frederick County Emergency Relief Fund. In response, each member agreed to donate one day's pay a month for three months.
The first major project undertaken by the fledgling group was a prenatal clinic for indigent women of all races, which operated out of the Federated Charities Building. Dr. Ethel Brandfield, a member of the club, conducted the monthly clinic free of charge. She was assisted by another member, public health nurse Florence Garner. In addition to medical screening, Zonta provided gowns and supplies for the patients and layettes for the babies. The clinic continued for 11 years until it was transferred to the Frederick County Health Department. Over those years, 1200 visits were recorded, with 438 patients treated. In 1935, Helen Smith was honored by Zonta International with a bronze plaque for providing the winning design for the cover of the magazine "The Zontian".
In 1938, the club instituted an annual Donations Day to benefit what was then called the Frederick County Emergency Hospital. Huge quantities of canned and fresh food were gathered in order to stock the pantry. In addition, money was collected from other philanthropic organizations in order to purchase equipment and make repairs. Such coveted items as an electric ironer, heater and floor polisher, as well as a dumbwaiter, a piano and paint for the ground floor were donated to improve the lives of hospitalized patients and their caretakers.
In 1938 Zonta International established the Amelia Earhart Fellowship Fund, in honor of the famous aviatrix. The Fellowships were to assist graduate women to continue their education in the field of Aeronautics. Once Zonta International adopted this fund as a continuing project, all clubs were asked to contribute, thus establishing a precedent for the many international projects that were to follow.
In the early 1960s, Zonta helped with the remodeling efforts of the Montevue Home, by furnishing a room. It was then that Zonta began the practice of befriending a resident and remembering her with gifts on her birthday and other special occasions. This practice continues today through the efforts of Doris Beachley.
In 1962, Zonta once again utilized the services of the Foster Parents Plan to adopt a Greek child, 10-year-old Thelmelena Gati. We continued her support until 1969, when she married. Our last foster child was another Greek girl, Dmitra Panagoyannopou, age 11, whom we adopted in 1969 and supported through the mid-1970s. This was also the year that the Ramallah Training Center for Women in Jordan was established by the United Nations Relief Agency. This center was chosen by Zonta International as an ongoing project, to which our club contributed substantially. In addition, Frederick Zonta club pledged a second gift - this time $1,200 - to the Frederick Memorial Building Fund where Bess Schroeder, Frederick's first Zonta President, served as Chairman of the Lady Board of Managers.
One of the most significant years during this decade was 1969, the year that Elizabeth Remsberg became a member. Elizabeth is currently our oldest active member, and active is the appropriate word. Elizabeth's contributions of leadership, fundraising and international networking are legendary. As the hostess of our annual July picnic, Elizabeth always invited most of Middletown - all of them dear friends - to put our fundraiser over the top. As a tireless traveler, Elizabeth visited six continents and most of the countries of the world, making friends and establishing connections with clubs in Finland, Norway, New Zealand, Argentina, Kenya and Chile, to name a few. But Elizabeth didn't just establish those connections; she maintained them through faithful correspondence. Thanks to Elizabeth, our small club in Frederick became known around the globe.
With the advent of the Second World War, Frederick County Zontians geared up for the conflict abroad, supporting the war effort by participation in the American Women's Voluntary Service (AWVS) and the American Red Cross. From 1943-1946 Zonta Club members sold $22,991.65 in war savings stamps and bonds. The club also wrote letters to the families and friends of Frederick boys killed in action overseas, and sponsored one day of the Red Cross Mobile Blood Donor Unit.
In 1946 the club adopted an 11-year-old Dutch girl named Loekie Deikman at a cost of $180.00 a year. Gifts were sent and letters exchanged until she finished school and became a teacher in Amsterdam.
In 1947, the club began to sponsor a playground Arts and Crafts show under the aegis of the Frederick County Recreation Commission, thus beginning an association that continued through today as "Art in the Park. “Then, as now, Zonta financed the prizes and acted as judges.
In 1948, the club sponsored a series of radio broadcasts on careers for women. In addition, teas for High School juniors and seniors were held, providing the students with an opportunity to talk with business and professional women. Also, in 1948, the club made its first pledge of $500.00 to the Frederick Memorial Hospital Building Fund. There would be more in the years to come!
The decade closed with the 28th Zonta International convention in Quebec, Canada, where the theme was Community Leadership in a World Crisis. The two Frederick delegates apparently left the convention with a renewed commitment to the importance of fostering world peace. The Zonta Club News of April, 1950 reported on the convention and offered this challenge: "The world and all can be forever blest, If men will learn to value what is best, And learn to strive not for themselves alone But each for all, and all for everyone."
Frederick County Zontians supported the war effort during WWII. Pictured are, standing from left: Marie Wilson Hodgson, Dorothy Carty and Miriam Apple. Seated from left: Marie Dixon Young, Cornelia Bjorlee, Hal Lee Ott, Hilda Croghan & Florence Garner.
In 1970, the Zonta Club of Nairobi, Kenya was formed. When famine struck in 1973, Elizabeth Remsburg visited the Nairobi club and presented their president with a check from the Frederick Zontians to help relieve the suffering and malnutrition among the women and children.
In 1975, our club decided to participate in the Downtown Frederick Safety and Beautification Project. Zonta underwrote the cost of a lighted, planted traffic island at the site of the fountain on 7th and Market Streets. The idea originated with Elizabeth Burket, who was an Alderman and Zontian at the time. A plaque commemorating our gift can still be seen at the site.
In the late 1970s, two of our members achieved special recognition. Mary Storm was elected District 3 Governor for 1976-78, and Helen Smith created her beautiful illumination of the Zonta Code. Her creation not only brought our club great distinction, but served as a fundraiser at events around the world.
Zonta Club of Frederick members pose with some entries from Art in the Park, an event the club began and has supported since 1947.
In October of 1990, the Ruth Oltman House for transitional housing of abused women and children was opened. The house was named for Zontian Ruth Oltman, who was one of the founders of Heartly House, the women's shelter. The Frederick Club was proud to provide $1,000 to furnish a guest room, and plant welcoming flowers on the grounds.
Also, in 1990, Zonta International established the Young Women in Public Affairs Scholarship. Competition would begin with the local clubs and progress through the District and International levels. Later in the decade, another scholarship with similar competitive levels was established for business majors. Our club has awarded one scholarship annually for each of these competitions, but our first Jane Klausman Women in Business scholarship was special, since it went to Gretchen Duthoy, daughter of member Laura Duthoy.
In 1992, Donna Lane was elected District Governor, after which she was elected and then re-elected International Treasurer for two succeeding biennia. She became the International Foundation President in 1997 - the same year that member Dorine Kenney was named International Parliamentarian.
Nineteen ninety-four was a very special year for Helen Smith and for all of us who joined her at Hood College for a grand 100th birthday celebration. Another jubilant celebration occurred in 1995 when Miss Helen served as Grand Marshall for Frederick's 250th anniversary parade. Willard Scott, a network television personality, featured Helen in a brief spot on national television. We were all very proud to be part of Frederick - and Helen's - big day. Miss Helen's death in 1997 was a blow to all of us, but it did not diminish the devotion of her many fans.
In 1998 an opening of the Collection of Art and papers by Helen Smith, was held at Hood College. Later that year, 18 pieces of her art brought $4000 for the purpose of publishing a book illustrating her work. In November of that year, the finished product, entitled
"Frederick's Legacy: The Art of Helen L. Smith" was offered for sale.
The 1990s brought some occasional surprising recognition as well. In 1994, we were given five awards at the District Conference for outstanding contributions on the District level. In 1995, Zonta Club of Frederick was honored by a special stamp cancellation recognizing our 65 years in Frederick. In 1999, we received a monetary gift from a woman who had been a scholar recipient in 1971! Since the original grant had helped her to attend a graduate school, we used her gift to provide a one-time scholarship award of $500 to a woman pursuing a graduate degree at Hood. Sometimes a modest gift has a way of bringing unexpected results.
Zonta of Frederick's first project was a prenatal clinic, started in 1932. The clinic is shown in 1942.
This decade marked the collaboration of the Frederick Zonta Club and the Business and Professional Women's Club of Frederick, who joined forces to fund a full tuition scholarship at Hood College. Shin Hyung Kim, from Seoul, Korea, was selected as the recipient, one of the first international students to attend Hood College. Shin was the protegee of Mrs. Ethel Underwood, an American missionary in Korea who was accidentally killed, and whose daughter attended Hood. In appreciation for the club’s kindness, Shin's mother sent a black lacquered jewelry chest to each of the clubs' presidents.
In 1952, Mary Condon Hodgson, a Frederick Zontian whose name graces art spaces at both Hood and Frederick Community College, was named "First Lady of the Year", an award given for outstanding civic, religious and community service. She was the first woman in Frederick to be so honored.
In the mid-fifties, under the direction of Mrs. Hodgson, the Frederick Zonta Club began assisting the Esther Grinage Kindergarten for Colored Children, holding Christmas parties and providing books, blackboards and playground equipment. The project continued until kindergartens were incorporated into the curriculum of the local school system
The decade of the 50s was also the beginning of Frederick Zonta’s long involvement with the Salvation Army. In support of that involvement, Zontians became enthusiastic bell-ringers for the Christmas Kettle collections. Since the 1950s, we have also stuffed stockings for hundreds of children and provided gifts for needy families at Christmas. In 1957, we pledged $1000 to the Salvation Army’s building fund to be paid over a two-year period.
Charter members of Zonta of Frederick pose for a photo in 1955, the club's 25th year. From left are Nan Roderick, Elizabeth Schroeder, Hal Lee Ott, Helen Smith and Cornelia Bjorlee.
The 1980s began with our participation in the Zonta International Open House following the convention in Washington, D.C. Six members of the Frederick club served as convention hosts and two members entertained foreign delegates in their homes. In 1985 we again served as hosts - this time at the District Conference held at the Frederick Sheraton. We were able to present each attendee with a print of Helen Smith's Clustered Spires painting. These prints, along with the Zonta Code and Miss Helen's later rendering of Winchester Hall, have served as fundraisers for the past 20 years.
In addition to these activities, several events occurred in the 80s that had long -lasting effects. In 1982, Elizabeth Remsburg presented Zonta International with a framed print of Helen Smith's illuminated Zonta Code. The painting still hangs in Zonta International headquarters in Chicago. In 1984, our club held its first fashion show/luncheon. By the early 1990s this event had become our major fundraiser, especially after the introduction of a silent and vocal auction of donated items. In 1985, Frederick Zontians joined with others to help plan the first Frederick Women's Fair, an annual event in which we continue to take part. Also, in 1985 Helen Smith undertook the restoration of the huge mural on canvas entitled "Scales of Justice" which she had painted in 1924. To accomplish this task, the 91-year-old "Miss Helen" had to work on the floor of the attic in City Hall. Today it hangs proudly again in the refurbished building.
Lastly, in 1987, we established the Helen Smith Art Scholarship at Frederick Community College. Christine Conko, who has become a local artist of note, was the first recipient of the $500 award. In addition, it was during the 80s that our club one again made a commitment to help fund the Hospital Expansion and Modernization Fund. We pledged $1,000 to be paid over four years. It must have helped, because they are still expanding and modernizing today!
In the 1980s, the Frederick Zonta Club was given special recognition on several occasions for activities on the District level. But it was also a decade of personal recognition for Frederick Zontians as well. Both Elizabeth Derr and Ann Mossberg were honored as Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women's Club in 1982 and 1983 respectively, and Donna Lane was elected president of the Chamber of Commerce. Helen Smith was selected by the Frederick Jaycees as the Outstanding Senior Citizen of Frederick County in 1985, and Ruth Oltman was similarly honored in 1987, as well as receiving that year's Human Relations award. In 1989, Helen Smith received honorary degrees from both Hood College and Mount St. Mary's College, in recognition of her long career in Frederick County. To cap off the decade, Donna Lane, who had already served as District Treasurer, was elected District Lt. Governor for the 1990-92 biennium.
Jeannine Jennings, current Club president, is seen with a black lacquer jewelry chest that was a gift to the club president by the mother of a Korean girl the club "adopted" and sponsored until she was 18. The chest is now passed
from president to president with memorabilia inside.
Photo by Travis S. Pratt
The decade and the millennium began with a festive 70th birthday celebration which included many visitors and dignitaries. By 2001 congratulations were once again due Donna Lane, who was elected to a two-year term as president of Zonta International Foundation. More congratulations went to Zontian Nancy Bodmer, president of the New Carrolton Manor Land Trust, who published her fourth book about historic Buckeystown.
In 2002 we celebrated International Women's Day and Zonta Rose Day by presenting the women of Heartly House with four dozen yellow roses. This gesture, in conjunction with similar Zonta activities the world over, was designed to raise awareness of the need to eliminate violence against women.
Another event in support of women occurred in 2003 with the opening of the Women's Center at Frederick Community College. Thanks to the efforts of Anne Lynn Gross and other supporters, a Breast Cancer Research Room will be housed within the Center.
Also, in 2003 we were pleased to learn that our Jane Klausman winner, Heidi Duthoy, went on to win the District award as well. Imagine our delight when our 2004 winner, Teresa Lamb, did the same!
Another highlight of 2004 occurred at the opening ceremonies of the Zonta International Convention in New York City, held on July fourth. Frederick Zontian Anne Lynn Gross sang an acapella rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner - in English, of course - and then went on to sing the National Anthem of Sweden - in Swedish - in honor of International president Margit Webjorn.
The 2005 celebration of our 75th anniversary was a gala luncheon, with each table devoted to a decade of our past, and decorated with mementos of our club from that decade. Some Zontians even dressed the part! A succession of club members delivered brief highlights of their assigned decade. Zonta International president Ellen Bittner addressed the group, which included former scholarship winners and Frederick’s first female Mayor, Jennifer Dougherty.
In August of that year we learned that our Young Woman in Public Affairs winner, Elizabeth Greene, had received the District 3 award as well, and in December we began the tradition of “adopting” needy nursing homes, Heartly House or other social service recipients. Gifts were purchased and brought for wrapping at our Christmas pot-luck dinner, hosted by Christmas decorator extraordinaire, Laura Duthoy.
In March of 2006, Zonta Rose Day was recognized by a donation of books to the women of the Frederick County Adult Detention Center, continuing the tradition of offering support to area women in difficult life situations. May of that year brought a happier occasion with the celebration of Elizabeth Remsberg’s 100th birthday. Elizabeth was presented with a framed certificate of recognition for her 37 years of service to Zonta, followed by a beautifully decorated birthday cake. In July, Zontian Barbara Brittain was honored by Governor Robert Ehrlich, who cited her service to the Frederick County Department of Social Services, whose Board she chaired, as well as her contributions to the community as the Director of Families Plus!
In 2007, the Frederick Zonta Club embarked on an effort to increase our outreach to girls. We began preparation for an event, which would pair high achieving high school or first year college students with accomplished professional women acting as mentors. This effort culminated in 2008 in our first Women of Achievement Dinner. Six Gold Award girl scouts were paired with women in executive positions in the girls’ areas of interest. Commissioner Jan Gardner served as our guest speaker for the evening. The event was repeated in 2009, with Frederick County Delegate Sue Hecht as our featured speaker.
A new tradition and a valuable addition to our efforts on behalf of women had been established. Our 80th anniversary year got off to an auspicious beginning with the birth of the first baby born to an active Frederick Zontian. Avery Jean-Anne Brown was born on February 28, 2010 to member Jacque Brown. We were pleased to welcome a potential new member! In May of 2010 the club held its 80th anniversary celebration. The program featured a dinner in which Zontians shared a brief description of one or two current service activities with prospective members. The evening culminated in an audio/visual presentation of Zonta’s international service programs, and a rousing “Happy Birthday” rendered in song. Members of the Frederick Zonta Club were happy to share our pride in reaching this historic anniversary, knowing that after 80 years of service, our commitment still endured.
2010 - 2015
In February of 2011 we were greatly saddened by the deaths of two longtime members of our club: Ruth Ellen Burrier and Nancy O'Connell, who died on the same day. The large attendance at their services showed the high regard in which both women were held. Our club donated $50.00 to Zonta International in memory of each.
In March of that year we helped with registration for the Women Fly it Forward event at Frederick Municipal Airport. Lin Caywood, who had spoken to us of her aviation avocation, won 1st runner-up trophy for “Most Dedicated Female Pilot in the World” for flying 15 women during the event. We felt sure that Amelia Earhart, one of Zonta's most celebrated members, would have approved.
In June we held our third Women of Achievement Dinner. This event was designed to pair college-bound girls with professional women who could act as mentors in their fields of interest. That evening our guests were four Girl Scout Gold Award recipients, two Young Women in Public Affairs award recipients, their assigned mentors and Dr. Elsabeth Hilke, Frederick Minister and Frederick Community College adjunct professor, who was our guest speaker.
June also brought special recognition to two of our long-time members, Pat Rosensteel and Elizabeth Derr. Pat was appointed Director of the Citizen Services Division of Frederick County, overseeing seven departments of county government. Elizabeth was given the Elizabeth H. Sigelmann Award by the Literacy Council of Frederick County for her 23 years of sustained and significant volunteer work. Elizabeth was also singled out at the Charles County Regional Conference as one of the longest-serving members of Zonta for her 41 years of membership.
In September we donated 84 new and gently used children's books to Head Start in recognition of International Literacy Day, and in October two of our members helped with the Walk a Mile in her Shoes fundraiser benefiting Heartly House. In December we once again rang the bells for the Salvation Army, garnering almost $250.00 for their Christmas gift efforts, and enjoyed our own Christmas celebration by wrapping gifts for our social services and Heartly House recipients.
In February of 2012, our club was moved by the alarming rise in infant mortality attributed to inadequate sleeping arrangements among needy families. In response, we donated $100.00 to be a sponsor of Crib/Crawl 5K, which is a project of the Child Welfare staff. We also turned our attention to the needs of the Health Department's prenatal clinic, making a large donation of baby items to restock their supplies.
In June we held another Women of Achievement Dinner, with Dr. Olivia White, Associate Dean of Hood College, as our speaker. Also, in June we were honored that one of the principal speakers at the yearly Frederick Community College Donor's Recognition Dinner was the winner of our Returning Woman award, Kandy Joseph-Alexander.
In August, we addressed the need to increase our membership. Recognizing that women were now able to join heretofore closed organizations, thus increasing their commitments elsewhere, we decided to streamline our meeting format. Henceforth, we would meet only once a month, beginning with a joint board and general meeting, followed by dinner and a program. This change proved to be fortuitous, garnering greater interest in membership.
To bring summer to a close, four members of our club served as judges for the annual All-Playground Art Show, which we continue to fund yearly. In November, Zonta International announced the launch of “Zonta Says No”, a campaign to end violence against women around the world. The campaign will utilize Zonta's partnerships with the United Nations to inspire action among individual clubs and their 30,000 members world-wide. In response, our group decided to increase our hands-on support of Heartly House, the local shelter for abused women and their children.
The year 2013 marked the 75th anniversary of the Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship, a $10,000 scholarship awarded yearly to 35 women pursuing advanced degrees in aerospace sciences and engineering. Since 1938, Zonta International has awarded 1,368 Fellowships totaling more than $8,000.000.00 to 959 women in 68 countries.
Here at home, our club members had the opportunity to support Zontian Anne-Lynn Gross and her fellow musicians in the yearly concert held to benefit the Breast Cancer Center which carries her name. The center is housed within the Women's Center at Frederick Community College. Later in the year we learned that the scholarship Anne-Lynn had established for students diagnosed and treated for breast cancer had been awarded by F.C.C. for the first time.
April of that year also found us hosting the area 3 and 4 workshop at The Home at Braddock Inn. In addition to offering three separate workshops and a delicious lunch, we collected 125 children's books for Head Start's home visitations. The books that were not suitable for one-to-five-year-olds were later donated to Children of Incarcerated Parents at our yearly summer picnic. Other donations that year included household cleaning products for the benefit of Advocates for the Homeless, and individual donations to the Oltoria Clean Water and Sanitation Project, which was designed to bring clean water wells and sanitary disposal of waste water to a Masai village in Kenya. The thought of women walking five miles a day to carry water back to their families was an image too vivid to ignore.
In 2014, Zonta “Rose Day” was anything but rosy when three intrepid members of our club braved winter weather to visit Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Their goal was to leave roses on the grave of charter member Helen Smith. “Miss Helen”, who was born in 1894 and spent a lifetime of artistic achievement in Frederick, died at age 103, still a proud member of the Zonta Club of Frederick. It is in her honor that we created a yearly art award at Frederick Community College. In 2014, however, there was no candidate for that award, nor were there applicants for our Jane Klausmann business scholarship. There were, however, seven applicants for the Young Woman in Public Affairs award! Due to that unusual circumstance, we were able to fund a winner and two runners-up, for a total of $1000.00. All three recipients were invited to accept their awards at the Women of Achievement Dinner, which was held in June. Our speaker, Angela Hobbs-Spencer, Chair of the Frederick County Human Relations Commission, stressed the importance of service to the community. This message was particularly applicable to our three award winners, who had impressed us with both their outstanding academic records and their involvement in community service.
The theme of service was reinforced in October when seven members of our club attended the District 3 conference where they learned of the many different service projects other clubs were sponsoring. Later in October and November we were able to provide some support to two new non-profit service agencies in Frederick county: Second Chance Garage and the Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership, or SHIP. Second Chance Garage refurbishes donated vehicles and provides them to needy individuals and families, while SHIP addresses the needs of the numerous Frederick County students who are homeless.
The year 2015 began on a somber note as we gathered at services for long-time member Anne-Lynn Gross, who died in late November of 2014. Anne-Lynn had been an active member since l986, serving in leadership positions over the years. However, it was her contributions as our publicity director and auctioneer extraordinaire that we came to rely on most. Our annual dinner and auction fundraiser was always enlivened - and enriched - by “The Singing Auctioneer.” She will be greatly missed, not only by us, but by the many music students she inspired and the choral groups in which she participated. Perhaps her greatest legacy, however, will be the Anne-Lynn Gross Breast Cancer Resource Center. As one of the many friends attending her services said, “Anne-Lynn made a difference in the world.” Making a difference for women in the world is, of course, Zonta's goal, and in 2015 our small group celebrated 85 years of working to do just that.
We decided to hold a “Zing” in a public park and invite prospective new members to celebrate with us. The event was well attended, and featured brief presentations covering activities of our club: scholarships, donations to non-profit organizations that benefit women and their families, and hands-on work on their behalf. For example, in April we collected and donated food for Blessings in a Backpack, a non-profit organization which provides weekend and holiday food for homeless children in Frederick County. Spring and Fall also found us attending area workshops at which the hosting club selects a non-profit as beneficiary of practical donations. The May workshop benefited House of Hope, which provides support for victims of Human Trafficking. The highlight of the Fall season, however, was our annual dinner/auction fundraiser. This year Carole Larsen served as our auctioneer, dedicating her efforts to the memory of Anne Lynn Gross. Every year the auction provides us with the funds to continue our efforts on behalf of women and their families. This year we were pleased to be able to offer sizable donations to the Breast Cancer Resource Center, Mission of Mercy and SHIP, as well as funding the Young Woman in Public Affairs, Returning Woman and Helen Smith art scholarships. It was a fitting way to celebrate 85 years in Frederick.
2016 - 2019
The year 2016 got off to a lively start with the addition of three new members: Grace Odom, Karen Butler and Stacey White. Later in the year we added still another new member, Mary Bowman-Kruhm. Together, these women brought a diverse background of professional work in government, occupational therapy, special education and publication to our eclectic membership.
In March, we marked Zonta Rose Day by donating yellow roses to the Adult Services offices at Frederick Community College, which houses the Anne-Lynn Gross Breast Cancer Resource Center. Rose Day began as International Women's Day, a day established by the United Nations to mark women's rights around the world. Since Zonta is a non-governmental organization affiliated with the U.N., Zonta adopted it as their day to honor special women.
In April, we donated toiletries to the Family Crisis Center of Prince George's County at the district Spring Workshop. In June, we chose the agencies which would receive donations: The Frederick Co. Rescue Mission, Second Chance Garage, Mission of Mercy, SHIP and a new recipient, the Asian-American Center of Frederick Co. All recipients were invited to pick up their checks at our yearly picnic in July.
In August, we served as judges in the Frederick Co, Recreation Center Art in the Park event. Once again, we marveled at the artistic ability of young children and the resourcefulness of the staff, who manage to provide a multitude of prizes with our yearly $200.00 donation. In October, we held our yearly fundraiser, and in December we rang the bells for the Salvation Army, finishing out the year with our Christmas potluck at Laura Duthoy's home, affectionately known as “Santa Wonderland.” Though the dinner was delicious and the ambience delightful, the highlight of this event is always wrapping gifts purchased for two needy seniors and a resident of Heartly House and her children.
As 2017 took shape, the arduous process of amending our by-laws was our major task. After much discussion over three meetings, we passed revisions that brought our club procedures up to date, including the option to conduct business by email if necessary. In May, the $300.00 grant awarded to us by the District 3 Membership Grants Program was put to good use. Projects included publishing information about Zonta in the Frederick Guide, as well as the purchase of new name tags and business cards for all our members. We were particularly pleased with an article and picture in SASS magazine entitled “Zonta Club: Promoting Women's Issues in Frederick and Abroad.” Also, in May, Laura Duthoy was our representative at the presentation of Student Peace Awards, toward which our club had contributed. Eight area High School students received awards recognizing their outstanding compassion, creativity, and commitment.
In June, the North American Inter-District Meeting occurred in nearby Northern Virginia, during which nearly 100 Zontians from clubs around the country visited Washington D.C. to participate in an advocacy briefing with elected officials or their senior representatives.
In July, we held another membership “Zing” in Monocacy Park, the highlight of which was two former scholarship recipients sharing the life-changing effects of their awards. In September, our club was one of three recruited to help with the Fall District 3 conference in Wilmington Delaware, which benefited Stand Up, a nation-wide non-profit dedicated to helping homeless female veterans. Besides donating gently used business attire, our club handled the memorial service. Also, in September, Frederick Zontian Pat Rosensteel was elected an area 3 Director, despite being unable to attend the election! It was clear that Pat's reputation as Director of the Citizens Service Division of Frederick Co., as well as her long devotion to Zonta Club were well known to her peers.
January of 2018 brought the first snow cancellation in many years, so it was February before we could enjoy a program of “classified speeches'' featuring our three new members, Eileen Mitchell, Elaine Lynch and Anne Slater, who had joined in October of the previous year. We learned of their professional journeys – all of which involved the art of communicating in one way or another. In addition to these three ladies, Cheryl Concannon, who had left Zonta to pursue higher education, rejoined our club. Acknowledging the power in numbers, we decided to include additional prospective members, as well as recipients of our donations and scholarships to our July picnic at Laura's.
Though the picnic was a success, July brought great sadness due to the death of Elizabeth Derr, who had been a stalwart member of our group for 48 years! Elizabeth had become our unofficial historian by virtue of her encyclopedic knowledge of Zonta, her steadfast attendance and her thorough preparation. We always knew we could count on Elizabeth for an informed opinion – and unquestioned wisdom. Later in the year we contributed to an international memorial honoring Elizabeth.
October brought the news that our application for an additional grant had been approved for a collaborative event in 2019. As outlined by Pat Rosensteel, the project would center on a film (Little Stones) about human trafficking of young women, and if possible, would take place at Hood College. An ad hoc committee was formed to plan the event and seek the additional participation of Heartly House, the local shelter for women. As always, October brought our annual fundraiser, followed by December's Salvation Army bellringing and gift-wrapping at Laura's.
As we gathered in January 2019, our focus turned to preparation for the “Little Stones” documentary film event scheduled for March 11 at Hood College. The date was chosen to coincide with International Women's Day. The film featured four women of different nationalities as they employ their artistic abilities to combat violence against women and sex trafficking, hoping to empower women and girls globally. Though the event was free, Pat Rosensteel urged the many attendees to donate to Heartly House while the opportunity presented itself. Happily, that suggestion garnered $320.00! We were proud to have been a significant participant in an event that contributed to keeping women and children safe.
Keeping women and children safe turned out to be on the Spring Workshop agenda as well, which devoted part of the program to the problem of child marriage. This topic had also been addressed in the 2018 Biennium International Conference, as a U.N women's initiative. Information in the form of handouts to guide our future efforts was distributed at the workshop.
In September, we were proud to nominate Laura Duthoy as our “Unsung Heroine,” and at the October District 3 Conference, Barbara Stastny's “Little Stones” poster garnered first prize. More good news resulted from our annual fundraiser, which raised approximately $3700,00. In November, Pat Rosensteel participated in a “Zonta Says No to Violence“ rally on the steps of the Pennsylvania State House held to emphasize the importance of equal rights for women and an end to child marriage and domestic violence.
Before the year ended, however, we had turned out attention to gift-wrapping for Heartly House residents and needy seniors, and our upcoming 90th birthday celebration in 2020. Cheryl Concannon volunteered to chair a committee to plan an event in April, at which time we would also commemorate Zonta International's 100th anniversary. In addition, we noted that 2020 would also be the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote! Clearly an auspicious year lay ahead.
Unfortunately, our “auspicious year” of 2020 was also the year of one of the world's most deadly pandemics. As the year opened, our ad hoc committee was hard at work planning a tea to be held in a spacious room in Homewood's new Lodge building. Plans were well underway to invite Karlys Kline, chair of the Women's Giving Circle, to speak. By March, however, it was clear large gatherings would be canceled in the interest of stemming the virus' transmission, and by April our County and much of the state had closed down. All Zonta activities such as District meetings and the July biennial conference in Chicago became virtual events conducted through Zoom. Homewood no longer allowed outside groups to meet on their premises, so that our monthly meetings became virtual as well.
In May, we prepared for the election of officers, which took place in June. The Fall Fundraiser was officially canceled, so that as the fiscal year ended, we turned our attention to other ways of funding our philanthropy, which we were determined to maintain. Laura offered to compose a letter to be sent to our faithful auction attendees and business donors, as well as former members. The letter would outline our predicament and seek donations from those who clearly value our work on behalf of women and their children. Whatever we received would, of course, be augmented by donations from our own membership. More immediately, however, we were gratified to learn that the yearly “Art in the Park” activity through the Frederick County Recreation Department would occur in modified form, and that our $200.00 donation would be utilized in recognition of children's artwork after all. Though the road ahead was uncertain, we closed the fiscal year knowing that we were still making a difference in Frederick.