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Soroptimist Portland

Educate. Empower. Enable.

Our mission

Our mission

Our mission is to improve the lives of women and girls through programs that provide them with resources and opportunities – to help them reach their full potential and live their dreams.

Soroptimist International of Portland was chartered in 1926.  We will be celebrating our 100th Anniversary in 2026! Women at their best, supporting and empowering women to be their best. 


“Soroptimist” is loosely translated from Latin and means “best for women.” Founded in Oakland, California, in 1921, Soroptimist International now operates in 120 countries around the world. We are part of Soroptimist International of the Americas (SIA), which includes Canada, Mexico, Japan, the Phillipines, and South and Central America. 


It is our passion to:

  • Enhance the education, health, human rights, and status of all women with our grants and award programs.

  • Join with other women to raise awareness about and take action against domestic violence and sex trafficking in our communities.

  • Provide girls with guidance, training, and resources that will prepare them for personal and career success.

Our programs
Grandmothers Granddaughters
Teenage Girls
Mother Child Parent
Young Girl with Mask
Girls Camping

Our programs

  • Live your Dream Award

  • Dream It, Be It

  • ROOT: Reaching Out, One at a Time

  • Human Trafficking Project

  • SAVE: Soroptimist Against Violent Environments

  • Other area organizations we support


Our club participates on a local level with several cornerstone programs of Soroptimist of the Americas (SIA), including Live Your Dream and Dream It, Be It. In addition, we sponsor club-level programs and provide support to local organizations.


Live Your Dream Award

This national program provides education and training awards to assist women who provide the primary financial support for their families. Recipients may use the awards to offset any costs associated with attaining a higher education, such as books, childcare, tuition, and transportation. Click to see the tremendous impact this program has had. And hear firsthand from women about the difference this award made in their lives.

In support of this program, Soroptimist of Portland provides several cash awards each year. Award winners from local clubs become eligible for a Region award and the Region winners for a Federation award.

Many of our recipients are survivors of domestic violence, trafficking, or sexual assault. Nearly all have overcome enormous obstacles including poverty, domestic violence, and substance abuse. But in addition to changing lives, this program is helping to change society

For questions, please contact Wanda Costi.

"No more living on the edge of despair. We couldn't have done it without the wonderful women at Soroptimist."

Dream It, Be It

In support of this program, our club partners with Girls Inc.’s Eureka! program, to provide career support to motivated girls in middle school. To see the impact this program has made in 2016-2017, check out this visual overview.  


By providing professional role models, career education, and other resources, this program helps girls to grow up to become confident, successful, happy adults. In small groups, the girls learn about the importance of values, to set and achieve goals, and to develop resilience to overcome obstacles and move forward after failures.


To learn more about the program, click here. If you work with girls – or if you're part of an organization that would like to partner with us – please contact Wanda Costi.

ROOT: Reaching Out, One at a Time

ROOT is a one-on-one mentoring program for 18-23 year olds with a high school diploma or GED (or working on a GED). The program pairs a team of two club members with a participant who has been identified by a counselor or advocate.


Over a period of 1 – 3 years, our goal is to create a safe environment and establish a positive, trust-based relationship to:

  • Identify and build on individual strengths

  • Discuss problems and concerns

  • Teach decision-making and time-management skills

  • Develop life and social skills


Club members interested in participating receive special training. If you’re a counselor who knows someone who would benefit, please contact Jan Cosper.

"With your help, I've been able to be successful in college and aim higher than I ever thought possible." 


Human Trafficking Project

Soroptimist of the Americas (SIA) launched the STOP Human Trafficking project in 2008. Given that our I-5 corridor is a major route for transporting young girls, SI Portland supports this project through awareness and advocacy. This effort includes supporting organizations that work to end sex trafficking at their conferences and fundraisers.

To report a tip or get assistance, call:

National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline: 1-888-373-7888.

Or text HELP to: BeFree (233733)

SAVE: Soroptimist Against Violent Environments

Our club is part of a coalition of area clubs that came together with the goal of reducing domestic violence in 2001. We adopted the SAVE master plan that year and donate to various organizations each year, including:  



If you're interested in working with us, please contact Devon Gonzales.


Other area organizations we support

In addition to our work with SAVE, our club has supported and partnered with the following organizations:


If you would like to partner with us, reach out to Wanda Costi

This button will be active again in 2023, for applying for next year's awards.

Ladies Tea
Monthly Meeting

Our events

Monthly Luncheon & Meeting
Old Spaghetti Factory
11:30 am to 1:00 pm
First Thursday of each month
We'd love to have you join us -
please request more information at
Live Your Dream Awards luncheon
In addition to our monthly meetings, we host a very special luncheon each year, at which we celebrate this year's winners of our cash awards with our members and the guests of our winners. This year's luncheon will be held on February 23.
Our monthly meetings
Our meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month. Each meeting will feature a guest speaker that supports our mission to serve women and girls.  In addition, these events include a business meeting and an opportunity to network and socialize with friends and members.
We're working on an exciting schedule of upcoming speakers in 2023 - check in soon to see what's coming up.
January 5: Jill Viglione
Simple Organizing Techniques to Empower You in 2023
February 2: Mavia Haight
Girls on the Run is for Every Girl
March 2: Bill Russell
Women Who Can: Helping Those Who Can't - Yet 
April 6: Jenny Clark
Building a Better Future with Women's Empowerment
May 4: Libra Forde
Working for Gender Justice
June 1: Katie Hughes
Girls Build the Future


Our events
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