May…Service is what “We Share”

Quota Centennial Banner BOLD

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.Elsie Yellis

War Service

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. Miss Quiff

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. Helen A Turk

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.

Charlotte Schamadan, Past International President

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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Quota Crosses the Pacific

Quota Centennial Banner BOLDQuota Club International was barely a decade old when Myrtle Fletcher and her husband traveled to the USA from Sydney to study at the Palmer School of Chiropractics. While there, Myrtle visited the Quota Club of Davenport at the invitation of Dr. Mabel Heath Palmer, who had just completed her term as International President.  Myrtle was greatly impressed by Quota’s impact in the community and began thinking about the good Quota could do in the communities of Australia.

In 1930, Dr. Mabel visited Sydney for a short time and made a point of visiting Myrtle Fletcher. In addition to meeting with Myrtle, she also introduced Quota to a few other women in Sydney, thus forming the nucleus of a new club there.  However, it wouldn’t be until 1933 that the Club would receive its Charter from the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Phillip Game.  With this charter, Australia officially became the third country to join Quota Club International, and the Quota Club of Sydney became the first women’s classified service club in Australia. mabel palmer

Enthusiasm was high and the new club immediately set about its service program. One of the first services undertaken by Quota in Australia was the establishment of a cottage known as “Quota Cottage” at the Hammondville Settlement.  This settlement served destitute families throughout the Great Depression and was established by the Rev. Hammond in 1933; today, Hammondville is a suburb of Sydney.

Unfortunately, as the first classified service club for executive women in Australia, the members of this fledgling club had no other organization in Australia to turn to for guidance.  There were no airmails, cables were expensive, and surface mail meant that inquiries and replies took months to be received.   Understandably, irregularities of classification and membership occurred, the Bylaws were not always understood completely, and the club had many difficulties.  After some time, the Board of Directors decided that the Sydney club should be wholly re-organized and that the Quota International Bylaws and Charter should be accepted.  As a result, the club was re-organized, and though a few of the original members had resigned, the ones who stayed were strengthened by this restructuring and by those who had joined in the intervening years.

The Charter of the present Quota Club of Sydney was received by its President, Minnie Gates on   September 28th, 1937, together with a gavel presented by Dr. Mabel Palmer of Davenport. This began a tradition for subsequent clubs in Australia to be presented with a gavel on their Charter by those who organized the club.

Through all of this communities all over Australia were experiencing the difficulties engendered by the Great Depression and the start of the Second World War. Thankfully, the Sydney Club progressed despite these challenges and when the temporary District 13 was formed, the opportunity arose for a new club to be chartered in Orange!  So, on February 3, 1940 11 members traveled to Orange for the chartering of the Quota Club of Orange by Governor Edna Davidson. The Quota Club of Katoomba followed soon thereafter, but by this time every community was wholly occupied with the “war effort”.   For the first 10 years, while the District was temporary, the District Governors were all appointed by the Board of Directors and were all members of the Sydney Club, with the exception of Helen McCormick who was a member of the Orange Club.

In 1942 President Effie Loudermilk reported at the Mackinac Island, Michigan Convention that there were a total of 75 Quotarians in Australia, and referred to them as “a brave and active group of Quotarians.”

After the war, community service and club growth began in earnest – an Extension Committee was set up and the North Coast area of New South Wales became the focus.  There was great excitement and the NSW area was ripe for a visit by the International President to present the Charters and further inspire the Quotarians in NSW. President Marie Higgins undertook the visit, and a wonderful round of inter-club visiting took place at the presentation of a “most triumphal succession of Club Charters”; namely the Lismore, Grafton, Murwillumbah, Kyogle, Kempsey and Taree Clubs. marie higgins

President Marie Higgins’ Christmas message for the “Quotarian” was written from Lismore.  “Tonight, as I write this Christmas Message, I am sitting on an open porch in Lismore, NSW. My trip to Australia has enabled us to join hands in true Quota spirit, and the Christmas season will be enriched with a new unity and a closer bond between our four countries”.   (Mexico City had received its Charter at the 1947 Convention in Victoria, British Columbia, making Mexico the fourth country in Quota Club International.)

The next 10 years saw great development in the growth and influence of Quota in Australia – the formation of over 30 new clubs and the establishment of three new Districts, the 24th in 1950, the 26th in 1954, and the 28th in 1957.  With 1956 came another visit to Australia by an International President – May Virginia Valencik.  International President Valencik attended the First Combined Conference of Australian Clubs and the first Seminar of District Governors which were held in Grafton, NSW and attended by 209 members from 31 of the 32 clubs then chartered. may valencik

Australia’s early leaders broke the mold of Quota’s all-American leadership by being nominated and then winning a seat on the Board despite their relatively small proportion of members.  The first of these leaders was Taree Past Governor Dr. Joan Redshaw who was elected Director 1966 – 68.  By the 1970s there began a succession of South Pacific Area Directors who had Board seats as-of-right, thanks to the efforts of their elected predecessors who had insisted on recognition.  As of 2019 Australia has now produced six International Presidents, two International Directors, 19 South Pacific Area Directors and 2 Vice Presidents – 2018 being the first year in 52 years that Australia did not have Board representation. Joan Redshaw

By 1980, New Zealand had become the fourth country to join Quota International, (Mexico had since been lost).  The Area concept was established which categorized clubs into the South Pacific and Atlantic Areas.  As a result, the Ninth Combined Conference held in 1980 was renamed the First Combined Conference of the South Pacific Area.  The conference was held in conjunction with the first International Convention in Australia, which took place in Sydney and had over 1,000 members in attendance.


May…… Service is what ‘We Share’


Want to print and distribute these messages to your club?  Click HERE to access the printable PDF archive of this series.