About Soroptimist International of Seaford

What is Soroptimist?
Soroptimist is an international organization for business and professional women who provide volunteer service to their communities. Soroptimist's mission is to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world.

What does the word "Soroptimist" mean?
Loosely translated from Latin, Soroptimist is a coined term meaning "best for women."

When was Soroptimist formed?
The first Soroptimist club was formed in 1921by a group of 80 women in Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA. Our club was founded in 1950 and continues to be one of the most active service organizations within its community. 

How can women join Soroptimist?
Women interested in joining our service organization should contact us through our website or by contacting a current member for an invitation to attend one of our meetings.

Why does Soroptimist focus on women and girls?
Soroptimist was formed because in 1921 women who were interested in volunteer service were not permitted to join male service organizations. Since that time, the organization has worked to help women improve their standing in the world. Despite tremendous strides, women still do not enjoy equal economic or social status with their male counterparts. As an organization of and for women, Soroptimist feels uniquely qualified to tackle the challenges facing today's women and girls.

What programs do we offer?
We offer several programs that improve the lives of women and girls. Major programs include the Women's Opportunity Award, the Violet Richardson Award, college scholarships, the Making a Difference for Women Award, Cinderella's Closet, the Suitcase Project, Youth Forum and SMART Girls project along with a variety of international projects.

How are our programs funded?
As a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, proceeds from our Foundations' Nellie G. Allen Curiosity Shop.  The thrift shop receives clothing and household donations which are resold.  The proceeds are carefully managed and returned to the community based on the clubs policies and procedures established through its bi-laws.

Our History
A group of local business women decided they wanted to become involved in their local community and decided to join Soroptimist International. Charter members of Soroptimist International of Seaford, Delaware [SIS] were President Anna Mae Marvel, Vice President Dorothy Hull, Recording Secretary Margaret Minor, Corresponding Secretary Grace Morgan and Treasurer Gwen Dunn, along with Nellie Allen, Betty Berry, Virginia Foulk, Neta Hall, Amelia Hardesty, Ethel Johnson, Elizabeth Lank, Helen Parrot, Doris Barnes Slaysman, Catherine Tull and Elizabeth Tull.

By 1960, the SIS women were tired of fund raisers that took so much time and raised so little money. They decide to open a thrift shop and rented a store on the corner of High and Market Street in Seaford. To stock the store, they attended auction, sales and anywhere they could find things to sell in the shop. The first Curiosity Shop opened on March 25, 1961. The Shop did so well that first year that SIS was able to donate $250 to the high school for lighting on the athletic field and they sponsored the beauty pageant at the Chicken Festival.

The SIS community project in 1972 was to create a park on Williams Pond. The SIS 25th anniversary was celebrated in 1975 and the mayor paid special honor to the club for its many contributions to the city.

Over the years SIS has continued to focus on “the best for women and girls” by volunteering time, talents and funds to support the Curiosity Shop, Soroptimist Park, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Western Sussex Boys & Girls Club, Rotary Houses, Nanticoke Senior Center, local libraries, fire departments, charities, and community activities. SIS members are involved in the community – from working on a Habitat for Humanity build to working with Smart Girls to helping women who are victims of domestic violence.

We at 65 years strong and plan to continue to expand and grow as we reach for that next milestone anniversary. We hope all of you will join us in celebrating our first sixty five years in the Seaford community!