Soroptimist Portland


Women at their best, helping other women be their best 

2021: Happy Birthday Soroptimist PDX
95 years continuous service to Portland women and girls

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.

Preparing Jams
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 – in 2021 we will again distribute $10K, split  between three 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

Winners for 2021 will be announced on March 8, at our annual awards ceremony, on Zoom. 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 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

This button will be active again in 2022, for applying for next year's awards.

Diverse Business People Meeting Seminar

Our events

Soroptimist International of Portland was following all state COVID-19 social distancing guidelines and holding monthly meetings and social events via Zoom.  We're happy to announce we'll be changing back to in-person monthly meetings at he Old Spaghetti Factory on the first Thursday of each month, for our luncheon and business meeting.


We'd love to have you join us - please request more information at


Annual auction gala

Our yearly November auctions are a legend! Each year, we invite friends and members of the community to a delicious dinner, great entertainment, and a fabulous auction. 


This year we're working to host one or more Virtual Auctions. Stay tuned for the date(s).


This year's Live Your Dream awards

In 2021, we are distributing a total of $8,000 to three recipients. The winners will be announced at our March 8 meeting, at our annual awards ceremony, which will be held on Zoom this year. Stay tuned for details.

Our monthly meetings


Monday, March 8, 2021 

Our annual Live Your Dream awards meeting

Monday, July 12, 2021

Grace Kuto: Why Planting Trees in Africa is Life Sustaining

Thursday, August 5, 2021  

Christine Nair: Build Relationships with the  Dale Carnegie  Method


Thursday, September 2, 2021

Cyndi Romine & Wynne Wakkila: Fighting Modern-Day Slavery

Thursday, October 7 2021

Lisa Palermo: Strong Women Build Strong Communities


Help us to

empower Portland 
women and girls