History of Altrusa
Altrusa International was founded in Nashville, Tennessee in 1917, originally as Altrusa Institute. During that time, a record number of women were going to work during World War I, and there was a need for women's civic organizations. Dr. Alfred Durham, a member of Kiwanis, began organizing clubs throughout Nashville, TN, Louisville, KY, and Dayton, OH before he moved on to Indianapolis, IN, where he met Mamie L. Bass.
Mamie L. Bass had served as the Superintendent of the Women's Division of the United States Employment Services, and was a partner in her brother's architecture firm. She also assisted him in organizing a Rotary chapter in Indianapolis. While she admired Dr. Durham's Institute, Bass felt that Altrusa could serve a higher purpose. In June 1918, when Altrusa held its first convention in Indianapolis, Mamie L. Bass's vision became reality. The Altrusa Institute became a classified service organization for women.
Later, the Altrusa Institute was renamed as the National Association of Altrusa Clubs and adopted By-Laws that laid the groundwork for today's Altrusans. Soon after, Mamie L. Bass created the Principles of Altrusa which defined Altrusa as "a builder of women" and an organization based on merit and accomplishment. The Principles were officially adopted in 1921 along with a major club building effort. By 1922, Altrusa had 20 clubs.
In 1935, Altrusa became international when the first club in Mexico was organized. Since that first step over US borders in 1935, Altrusa moved into Puerto Rico, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, India, Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Ireland, Great Britain, Bermuda, Canada, and New Zealand. In 1946, Altrusa sent its first representative to the United Nations.
In 1962, Altrusa International established the Altrusa International Foundation, which is dedicated to improving economic well-being and quality of life through a commitment to community services and literacy. In 1966, the organization began to look to America's youth as the future of Altrusa and established ASTRA service clubs. ASTRA encourages young people, ages 13 to 21, to participate in community service. Expanding on its commitment to youth, Altrusa adopted literacy as an on-going area of service in 1977.
The eighties and nineties brought many exciting changes to Altrusa. With the end of Communism, the former Soviet Union saw its first Altrusa clubs. Increasing its global outlook, Altrusa expanded projects beyond literacy and education by adopting a resolution to promote environmental concerns in 1989.
The new millennium continues to bring new ideas and opportunities for Altrusa. In 2011, the association launched a new branding and marketing campaign with the purpose of increasing Altrusa's image in the communities, and reaching out to an evolving membership.
Purpose of Altrusa
Altrusa is an international volunteer service organization of business and professional leaders - classified by occupation - dedicated to improving their communities. Through local Altrusa clubs, members unite their various talents in service to others, achieving as a group what others cannot do alone.
Altrusa International provides community service, develops leadership, fosters international understanding and encourages fellowship by an international network of executives and professionals in diversified career classifications.
Principles of Altrusa
Altrusa members pay local, district and international dues. Additionally, each club sponsors fundraising projects to support the club's operational and service initiatives.
In the Northeastern Connecticut club, service projects are funded through the annual auction. Each November, the Northeastern Connecticut club hosts an auction of new and vintage treasures, as well as special services. Combining a leisurely brunch with the fast pace of a country auction, this event provides the majority of support for the club's numerous service projects.
The auction is also a wonderful opportunity for Altrusa club members to work jointly on a major project, and the coordination of the event provides valuable leadership experience for future club officers.
Executive and professional women who are actively engaged in their careers, or who have recently retired, are eligible for membership, providing that they do not belong to any other classified service organization.
What does the membership entail?
Members must be willing and able to attend meetings on a regular basis and to participate in club projects and committees.
Visit Altrusa International Inc. for more information.