Making a Difference for 125 Years
NJSFWC Headquarters. 55 Labor Center Way, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Founded in 1894, the New Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs of GFWC (NJSFWC), a member of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, provides opportunities for education, leadership training, and community service through participation in local clubs, enabling members to make a difference in the lives of others, one project at a time. There are approximately 8,000 members in 200 clubs located throughout New Jersey.
Too frequently, women’s clubs’ members are described as privileged, white-gloved women with too much time on their hands. Just the opposite is true. Each member has inherited a history of activism on the community, state, national and international level. Now more than ten years into a second century of community service, we look back with pride at the many accomplishments of our clubs and their members, and know that activism is just as alive and spirited today.
In 1918, the NJSFWC founded the New Jersey College for Women (now Douglass Residential College), and through our scholarships to Douglass students, the Federation continues to support this institution with its strong tradition of training tomorrow’s women leaders.
- The efforts of the NJSFWC led to the formation of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission to oversee the preservation of the Palisades.
- In 2003, the Federation was named the Grassroots Organization of the Year by the Highlands Coalition.
- The New Jersey Library Association granted its “Library Champions Award” to the NJSFWC in 2004, recognizing the federation for the role that it and individual clubs played in the establishment of public libraries in the state, as well as the group’s continued support of libraries.
- The Federation received widespread recognition for its letter writing campaign to state and Federal legislators which helped secure passage in 2004 of the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act to protect water quality for more than one half of New Jersey's population.
- Every two years, members throughout the state support a defined special project with fundraising, in-kind donations and public awareness campaigns. Examples of these projects include the Valerie Fund when $226,658 was raised; Canine Companions for Independence, raising almost $190,000; the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and its state-wide affiliates, contributing $140,000; and most recently, contributing cash and in-kind services totaling more than $600,000 to support New Jersey’s domestic violence shelters and their client families.
The General Federation of Women's Clubs is an international women’s organization dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service, with members in all 50 states and more than a dozen countries.
Among the many achievements of our members, GFWC is credited with the following:
- turning the tide in favor of the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906 (an effort initiated by a New Jersey clubwoman, Alice Leakey of Cranford);
- founding 75% of the public libraries in the country in the 1930's;
- campaigning in the 1960's for seatbelts in all cars and streetlights on neighborhood streets;
- the fulfillment of its commitment to America's Promise by raising and donating over $13.5 million in books and materials to public libraries and public school libraries (1997-2002), continuing GFWC’s traditional support for libraries; and
- contributing $180,000 for a fully-equipped ambulance for use by the New York Fire Department in response to the loss of equipment suffered during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.