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Soroptimist Portland

Women at their best, helping other women be their best 

Educate. Empower. Enable.

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” 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. Our club was chartered in 1926 and is 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.

 

We approach these opportunities with a commitment to service. Check out our programs and events to see how we work to achieve our goals.

 
 

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 – in 2019, our club distributed $10K between several recipients. 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

The 2019 deadline for applying for the 2020 awards is November 15. Winners for 2020 will be announced on March 12, at our annual awards ceremony. For questions, 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." 

Yesenia

Human Trafficking Project

Soroptimist of the Americas (SIA) launched the STOP Human Trafficking project in 2008l 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 organziations 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

To apply, click the LYDA button.

 
Diverse Business People Meeting Seminar

Our events

Our club holds monthly luncheon meetings and various social and fundraising events. The events below are open to the public; additional events are listed in the Members Only area. 

 

Annual auction gala

Our yearly November auctions are legend! Each year, we invite friends and members of the community to a delicious dinner, great entertainment, and a fabulous auction. In 2018, more than 140 people attended and we raised $42K for our programs. Help us beat that record on November 2 - sign up here!.

 

Here's an overview of those programs and a clip from the auction at KOIN 6 News.

 

Luncheon meetings

Our luncheon meetings are held the first Thursday of each month at the Benson Hotel in downtown Portland, from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Lunches are $22.50, or you can just get a salad and coffee/tea for $8. First-time visitors will be our guest! Valet parking is available for $10.

 

Each luncheon includes a speaker on a topic of interest to our members and guests, followed by a business meeting. Guests are always welcome – please contact Jane Lathrop at jane.lathrop@comcast.net if you’re interested in attending. Here are our upcoming luncheon meetings:

March 14: 2019 Live Your Dream Awards

April 4: Meet the Author of "About Friends"

Speaker: Mary Lou Sanelli

May 2: How Diaper Needs Impacts Families and Communities
Speaker: Rachel Alston

June 6: What is the Impact of Alzheimer's on Women

Speaker: Kara Griffey

July 11: Helping the Victims of Child Sex Trafficking

Speaker: Cassey Trahan

August 1: What Everyone Needs to Know about Mental Illness

Speaker: Judy Steele 

September 5: Human Trafficking: Myths and Realities

Speaker: Andrea Lampert, J.D.

October 3: Learning to Live with Autism

Speaker: Marie Picar

November 7: Why is She Homeless? 

Speaker: Katie O'Brian

 

Help us to

empower Portland 
women and girls