Zonta Club of Utica was founded in 1919, one of nine charter clubs in the now world-wide organization. Harriet Ackroyd, Utica’s Zonta president at that time, was one of 12 women who met to form the international organization. She was elected National President in 1923, and attended local, state, national and international meetings throughout her lifetime.
Now in its 98th year of existence, the Zonta Utica Club has a rich history of service to our community to enhance the status of women on an individual and organization level. Following are some of the highlights of our Club’s service activity.
Utica Zontians have collected items for Hall House, a shelter for battered women and their children; provided school supplies to Utica public schools for children of women unable to provide them; collected books for the Literacy Volunteers of America book sale; collected business clothing for women returning to work through the Women’s Employment Resource Center; and provided meals to young girls residing at New Horizons. The Club also has painted a room at the Swancott Retirement Home for Women, purchased a passenger van for the Retired Senior Volunteer program and refurbished the Chapel at Faxton Hospital.
The Comprehensive Breast Care Center at Faxton Hospital’s Regional Cancer Center has been a major on-going project. Through Zonta’s support, the waiting room has been furnished, and women without other resources have received assistance to obtain prostheses and other needed services. Zonta members for many years sewed hats for women who lost their hair during therapy.
The Utica Zonta Club awards scholarships to area women in financial need who are returning to school to improve their economic condition, and presents awards to high school students who excel in leadership, scholarship and community service. In the early 70’s, the Club sponsored three Z-Clubs, high school level clubs whose members visited nursing homes and performed projects like park cleanups.
Utica Zonta Club has provided for the community’s social needs as it sponsored and organized a Human Trafficking Seminar to increase awareness and educate public and service agencies of intervention resources; funded educational programs for Aids Community Resources and Insight House Chemical Dependency Services Inc.; and provided household items and housekeeping necessities to Willow Commons, a transitional housing program for families, and for Evelyn’s House, a residence for homeless young women.
Most recently, Utica’s burgeoning refugee population has been a recipient of clothing for girls and women, and lamps for their households. Contributions of personal hygiene items and clothing have been given to our local female Veterans group.
Over the past 25 years alone, the Zonta Club of Utica has contributed an estimated $331,000 to our Breast Care Center, local and national scholarship programs, and many other projects as described above. This service mission has been our past and our present and will continue to be our future.