Written by Beris Pritchard, SPA Liaison
In Quota’s first years of existence, the organization’s full focus appeared to be on leadership and growth; it was not until the fifth Convention held in Buffalo in 1924 that there is any record of a focus being placed on service. At that convention, the organization-wide service program adopted by all clubs was called “Service to Girls”.
“Service to Girls” & Beyond
Projects that aimed to enable girls to remain in school longer and to identify underprivileged girls in need of assistance and special training were the forerunners of a wide variety of Quota club service activities to fall under the umbrella of “Service to Girls”. Such activities were the primary, and unifying focus of Quota clubs for the fourteen years. Then, in 1938, the concept of service activities was broadened by President Elsie M. Yellis when she proposed a five-point community service plan. This plan became the basis of our Objects and Action Committees today. The five-point plan for Quota community service encouraged clubs to build their activities around creating opportunities, specifically: opportunity for good citizenship; opportunity for international service; opportunity for friendly relations; opportunity for the recognition of the achievement of women; and the opportunity for service to women and girls.
When World War II interrupted the lives of so many worldwide, Quota Club International came of age. At the 1940 Convention held in San Francisco, a resolution was supported which allowed for individual Quotarians to contribute to the war effort in their local communities. As a result, individual members raised enough money for the Red Cross to buy two ambulances! Other war and defense projects included: selling bonds; blood typing; sewing; knitting; nursery and canteen work; first aid and civilian defense. The next five years certainly provided opportunity for Quotarians to establish a reputation in their communities for their war service and emergency relief.
Additionally, during the war, the conventions planned for 1943 and 1945 were cancelled – a challenging sacrifice for the relatively young organization. Members were kept informed as best as possible through The Quotarian and continued to focus on the organization-wide five-point plan for community service, with each Board Member serving as the Chairman of one of the five-point activity programs that had been adopted two years previously. Thankfully, Quota continued to grow throughout the war.
Quota International Fellowship Fund
Despite the war raging on, in 1943 the Board of Quota Club International allocated $500.00 of funds to create an educational fellowship award in honor of Quota’s silver jubilee which would be celebrated in 1944. The criteria for the fellowship award mandated that the applicant must work in a field of service supporting women and children. The first Quota Fellowship Fund awardee was Catalina Rodriguez del Pozzo from Cuba who used the money to enroll in a graduate study program at Louisiana State University’s School of Commerce. The continuation of the award was approved at the 1944 convention and in 1946, a resolution made the project an annual grant by directing that provision be made for it in the annual budget. In 1949, the eligibility for the grant was extended to include all countries not under Soviet domination. At the 1951 convention a resolution passed which further established a separate Fellowship Fund to which clubs, members, and districts could donate. With the creation of the Fellowship Fund, “Miss Quiff” arrived. The “Miss Quiff” was a piece of art symbolic of the young women who were chosen to receive financial assistance from Quota’s Fellowship Fund in the 1950’s and 60’s. To further protect the money raised for fellowship awards, a trust was set up and managed by a Board of Trustees for the protection of the funds and the careful investment of the principal. Over the next 27 years, 61 women benefitted from the Quota International Fellowship Fund – a program that created a closer bond of friendship and fellowship in service to women and children in 24 countries.
Partnering with CARE
Quotarians at the 1969 Convention approved a partnership between Quota and the international relief organization, CARE. Under the title “Quota/CARE Key to Development”, a number of international service projects were adopted by Quota. These international projects, funded by Quota Clubs and directed through CARE, included: a home canning project in Turkey; the building of middle schools in Korea (2 were completed in mid-1972); the training of nurses for hospital duty in Afghanistan; the provision of clean water to remote villages in Kenya; a food production project in the Philippines to provide food for malnourished students; and the building of day-care centres in India. From 1968 to 1988 when Quota’s own World Service Club to Club program was established, Quotarians contributed more than $100,000.00 to support CARE programs.
Quota Commits to Help the Deaf and Hearing-Impaired
In 1970, Jeanette Healey was elected International President. It was during her presidency that Quota lay the groundwork for the United Service Project that would take shape in the years following. Quota’s service projects were so different from club to club that the organization as a whole was not receiving recognition for the work that the clubs were doing around the world. It was determined that if all clubs worked towards a common goal, Quota would develop a unique identity and stronger reputation in the public eye. Therefore, at the 1971 convention, a resolution was adopted urging every club and district to undertake at least one project involving financial assistance or personal service in the field of hearing and speech. Further, at the 1972 Convention, a subsequent resolution specified aid to hearing and speech impaired people as the official United Service Project of Quota International; additionally clubs in every country were urged to observe their country’s national hearing awareness month. In 1974, the Fellowship Fund focus was changed to provide scholarships to students who were deaf or hearing-impaired, or preparing to work with hearing-impaired people. This change resulted in a close partnership between Quota and Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. the world’s only university for the deaf. The students who became recipients of a scholarship from the Fellowship Fund from this point on were international students studying at Gallaudet University.
In 1974, during the presidency of Helen Turk, the Board of Directors established a Quota International Incorporated Charitable and Educational Foundation, a tax exempt, not-for-profit organization. The purpose of the Foundation would be to fund and guide the United Service Project by encouraging and directing activities through which local clubs could educate the general public about deafness and its resulting problems. The role of this Foundation, now known as the ‘We Share Foundation’ is still described in Quota’s Bylaws under Article XI – Section 5D. In 1978, the inauguration of the Deaf Woman of the Year occurred, recognizing an outstanding deaf woman for her achievements each year, selected from nominations submitted by clubs. The inaugural winner was Irene Tunanidas of Youngtown, Ohio. Charlotte Schamadan, nominated by the Monrovia Quota Club in California, was another Quota Deaf Woman of the Year who subsequently joined the Monrovia Club, then in 1997 was elected International President, and never stopped her advocacy for the deaf and hearing impaired.
In 1980, the South Pacific Area joined the United Service Project by establishing the Quota SPA Scholarship for Work for the Hearing and Speech Impaired.
Lastly, the campaign, “What is Silence”, which transformed into “Shatter Silence”, was supported by all Quota Clubs through projects that benefitted deaf and hearing-impaired individuals in their local communities. This campaign continues to this day through the support of more modern projects like funding cochlear implants for children, “Signing Santa”, the distribution of ear plugs, and the installation of classroom technology to assist hearing-impaired children and their teachers.
In 2019, the “Unified Service Committee” has been revitalized to ensure Quota International’s service projects continue to support every Quota community.
June…… Quota’s Administration and Administrators.
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