Club History by Decades (1930s — 2000s)
1930s – Chico’s population 7,961
Soroptimist International of Chico was chartered in 1930. The economy influenced the club’s activities during this decade. Soroptimist service focused on helping needy women and children. Club programs focused more on international issues and world affairs. Membership increased steadily and included several women who would serve the club for 50 years to come. Chartered Red Bluff Soroptimist Club.
1940s – Chico’s population 9,287
In its second decade, the club’s activities centered on support of local war efforts. Soroptimist service expanded to include aid for our troops, and we continued our support of women and children in need. Soroptimist programs focused on first aid, rationing, health issues and preservation of garden produce. The club also raised $400 to purchase a mural, painted by Albert Lichty, of a P-38 landing at Chico Army Air Base and donated it to the City of Chico. (It is currently housed at the Chico Airport.) Chartered Willows and Paradise Soroptimist Clubs.
1950s – Chico’s population 12,27
Moving into its third decade, the post-war Soroptimist club focused on Chico’s children. From Brownie Troops to college tuition, the Chico Soroptimists supported expanded opportunities for young women. The Club also continued contributions to assist women in our local community and overseas.
1960s – Chico’s population 14,757
In its fourth decade, the Chico Soroptimist focus shifted to emphasize communication—across cultures, with support of American Field Service (AFS), and across generations with Teen Talk on KHSL and Bingo games for residents at Beverly Manor. (This service continued without missing a Friday until the late 1990s). It was also the beginning of our long-standing relationship with the Work Training Center. Over three years this service project made significant contributions in matching funds, equipment purchases and building renovations.
1970s – Chico’s population 26,560
During its fifth decade, Soroptimist service focused on local history. Our efforts supported Bidwell Mansion and Stansbury House and launched the concept to create the Chico Museum in order to reflect important and historic events in the life of the City of Chico. Proposed as the Club’s 50th Anniversary Project, it was immediately embraced and the Carnegie Library was targeted as its location.
1980s – Chico’s population 26,603
Into its sixth decade, Chico Soroptimist service efforts grew–with more ambitious fundraising projects, more support of education for women, and greater participation by club members in Soroptimist’s global activities. The big service project for this decade was the first annual Home and Garden Show. Members also began a major restructuring of the Chico club to build membership. Through facilitated discussion, meetings and workshops, a new vision and action plan was developed to attract working women in the community. Chartered three Soroptimist Clubs—in Colusa, in Orland, and a second club in Chico, Bidwell Rancho.
1990s – Chico’s population 40,079
In its seventh decade, the Soroptimists noted a significant increase in the size of their contributions to community needs, and service connections to needs beyond Chico. Having successfully restructured and increased membership, our Club focus grew to include local activities in support of global solutions.
2000 – Chico’s population 73,316*
Now in our eighth decade, Soroptimist service activities reflect the impact of instant global communications and worldwide travel. The Chico club is directly involved in supporting humanitarian efforts in Nepal, Zambia, Afghanistan, Nicaragua and Tanzania. We’ve also continued to grow our services in the Chico area community. Our club is larger than ever, with diverse representation of professions, and members ranging in age from their mid-twenties to mid-nineties.
* Source: U.S. Census, population 2006 estimate. Population in 2000 = 59,954