Charity, women empowerment, friendship, and the idea that one small act of kindness can make a major difference, are some of the main goals of the Tooele Civic League.
This group of women is affiliated with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, which is an international women’s organization, and have partnered with it to not only bring relief to our community, but also worldwide.
The Tooele Civic League celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2019.
Since February 1939, the league has completed projects that have benefited the Tooele County community, but also other communities and individuals around the world.
The league’s first project was donating a drinking fountain to the Tooele City Cemetery, as well as donating to the Bi-lateral Amputee Club of America. Since then, the women in the club have completed countless other projects.
One of the main objectives of the league is to gather money and items to send to other countries. It does this throughout the community, helping many less fortunate individuals in other countries.
“This year we are collecting shoes,” said league member Sherrie Wilcox. “We plan on sending the shoes we collect to other countries. Once we send these shoes to other countries, they sell them and this teaches them how to run a business. We also donate to Heifer International. We donate to them so that people in poor areas are able to buy a cow to milk and make cheese from. This greatly helps them.”
Along with sending money and items to other countries, the league has donated to Operation Underground Railroad, which is a non-profit organization that assists governments around the world in the rescue of human trafficking victims. It has also donated to and supported the fight to end domestic violence, as well as attending candle light vigils for victims and their families.
Locally, the league has completed many projects to help make the community more appealing. Community improvement projects have been one of the main focuses of the league.
A few years ago, it donated the sign that is placed on the wall behind the front desk of the Pratt Aquatic Center. The women have also spent countless hours planting trees and maintaining the grounds at the Tooele City Cemetery. The podium in the cemetery was also donated by the league for families and veterans to use.
“For 10 years, we actually planted, weeded, and kept the Tooele Cemetery grounds looking beautiful,” said league member Geneal Dart. “We planted the garden which sits in the back of the cemetery, as well as the gardens that surround it. In the southeast corner we put a mining cart and we are hoping the firefighters will build us a box to put inside of the cart, so that we can plant flowers there.
“We also donated the podium in the cemetery,” Dart said. “This was our community improvement project. Another community improvement project we have completed is donating $1,000 to the school district and they planted trees at the various schools with that money.”
The Tooele Civic League has also sponsored “Meet the Candidate” events for local elections.
In 2019, the league’s focus was directed at improving and beautifying Tooele’s Main Street. It has welcomed and partnered with a younger women’s club, “The Women’s Community Club of Tooele,” to place new potted trees on Main Street.
“This new club consists of younger members,” Dart said. “We are so excited to be partnering with them on this project. They may take over for us in a couple years.”
Nationally, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs has been around for 129 years.
The Federation’s roots can be traced back to 1868 when Jane Cunningham Croly, a professional journalist, attempted to attend a dinner at an all-male press club honoring British novelist Charles Dickens. Croly was denied admittance based upon her gender, and in response, formed a woman’s club named Sorosis.
In celebration of Sorosis’ 21st anniversary in 1889, Croly invited women’s clubs throughout the United States to pursue the cause of the federation by attending a convention in New York City. On April 24, 1890, 63 clubs officially formed the General Federation of Women’s Clubs by ratifying the GFWC constitution.
Today, the GFWC has nearly 80,000 members in affiliated clubs in every state, the District of Columbia, and more than a dozen countries.
GFWC members work in their own communities to support the arts, preserve natural resources, advance education, promote healthy lifestyles, encourage civic involvement, and work toward world peace and understanding, according to the organization’s website.
The Tooele Civic League has completed many service projects for the community. Its members hope to continue their community service and eventually pass the responsibility down to their younger sister club.