Cincy Chic: Could you give a little background of the Zonta Club of Cincinnati for someone who has never heard of it before?
Terri Purtee-Stein, president-elect of the Zonta Club of Cincinnati: The Zonta Club of Cincinnati is part of Zonta International (ZI), a service organization comprised of executives and professionals dedicated to advancing the status of women worldwide through service projects, advocacy, education, and program funding to build a stronger community.
With nearly 31,000 members belonging to more than 1,200 Zonta Clubs in 64 countries and geographic areas, Zontians all over the world volunteer their time, talents and support to local and international service projects, as well as scholarship programs aimed at fulfilling Zonta’s mission and objectives. Zonta International, its districts, and its clubs are nonsectarian and nonpartisan. ZI is an NGO (Non-Government Organization) with consultative status with the United Nations.
The Zonta Club of Cincinnati celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2010. We currently have 40 high quality women who are members, and they are making a positive difference in the lives of the women and children who are most vulnerable in Greater Cincinnati. Through our service, advocacy and fundraising efforts, we support organizations like Bethany House Services, YWCA, Hamilton County Rape Crisis Center, Visiting Nurse Association, North Fairmount Community Center and many others. We advocate for women returning to college by providing scholarships through our Ann Rasche Scholarship Fund to Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.
Cincy Chic: What is the history of the Zonta Club of Cincinnati? How did it come to be?
Purtee-Stein: Zonta International was founded in 1919 in Buffalo, New York. Sixteen women chartered the Zonta Club of Cincinnati in 1935, and we celebrated our 75th anniversary in 2010. Zonta is a Sioux Indian word, meaning "honest and trustworthy." The Zonta Club of Cincinnati has supported all of Zonta International’s projects and has been a contributor to the Amelia Earhart Fellowship from the time of its founding in 1938.
Famous Zontians include Amelia Earhart – Zonta was the only non-aviation organization she belonged to, Ruth Lyons (Cincinnati TV personality), Sheree Paolello (Cincinnati TV news anchor), Sally Ride (first U.S. woman in space), Corazon Aquino (first woman president of Philippines), Liv Ullman (actress and former Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF), Jehan Sadat (advocate for women’s rights and education and wife of late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat), Carolyn Hannan (Director of the U.N. Division for the Advancement of Women from 2000 to 2010) and Georgia Neese Gray (first woman appointed U.S. Treasurer).
Cincy Chic: What are the Zonta Club of Cincinnati Programs?
Purtee-Stein: We have scholarships, like the Ann Rasche Scholarship Program, plus Zonta International’s Amelia Earhart Fellowship, the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business and Young Women in Public Affairs scholarships.
We also have service programs and projects. Locally, the Zonta Club of Cincinnati supports the organizations listed above. Recent service projects include throwing quarterly Everybody’s Birthday Parties for Bethany House residents, teaching knitting classes and co-sponsoring the 2010 Violence Against Women National Conference with the Women’s Connection, providing holiday gifts to clients of the Visiting Nurse Association and Families Forward and decorating the Mary Magdalen House windows on a seasonal basis.
We also have fundraising projects, which include the Wine & Dine Around the World Scholarship Fundraiser being held on September 24 at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and the Coupons for Change Scholarship Fundraiser in partnership with Joseph-Beth Booksellers on November 27. All proceeds will fund our Ann Rasche scholarships for women 25 and older returning to school to earn their degrees at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. Proceeds from our Macy’s Shop for A Cause program, held on August 27 last year, were donated to SANE to provide training for nurses dealing with victims of violence against women. We also raise money through our ongoing An Angel Named Chanel program via a Zonta account set up with a member’s consignment shop where she sells women’s clothing. Her young granddaughter was killed in 2006, and the fund was set up in her memory. Each year our members vote on which organizations to support through financial donations. Our Spring Auction raises money to pay for the club delegate to attend the Zonta International Convention every two years. The 2012 ZI Convention will be in Torino, Italy.
Cincy Chic: How does a Greater Cincinnati woman become a member? What are the benefits of being a member?
Purtee-Stein: Zonta club membership is by invitation. Potential members are required to attend two membership meetings as guests so they can learn more about the organization and our projects. Once a potential member expresses a desire to join Zonta, the two membership committee members interview the prospect in order to be sure that he or she understands the time commitment and financial responsibilities of membership in the Zonta Club of Cincinnati. The prospective member is then recommended for membership pending approval by the club membership. The President then sends a letter of invitation, and once dues are paid, members are paired up with mentors and assigned to a committee. Potential members can contact our membership committee chair via e-mail at email@example.com to attend an upcoming meeting. For more information about the Zonta Club of Cincinnati, visit our website.
Membership in Zonta is an honor and a privilege. Zonta Club membership provides opportunities to meet other professionals and executives who are united in their mission to improve the lives of other women and their families. Our meetings provide a venue for service, fellowship and friendships.
Cincy Chic: Can you tell us how you came to be the public relations chair?
Purtee-Stein: Zonta membership is set up by job classification, so that we have a well-rounded club and can best utilize members’ time and talents to accomplish our goals. When I joined the Zonta Club of Cincinnati in 2006, the club’s PR chair had taken an out-of-state job the year before, and there was only one other marketing professional in the club. Since I had marketing communications experience, it was a natural fit for me to be the public relations chair, which fell under the Public Relations & Communications (PR&C) Committee. I became PR chair in 2006, District 5 PR&C chair from 2008 through 2010 and am currently the club’s PR&C chair, in addition to serving on the Zonta International PR&C Committee for the 2010 through 2012 biennium. We have some new members this year who are marketing communications professionals and will be taking over the committee when I become club president in June 2012 (through May 2014). My goal as PR&C chair is to let the public know how great Zonta is and about the fantastic work we do at both the local and international level. We’re trying to overcome being one of the best-kept secrets in Cincinnati!