OUR CLUB HISTORY
The Rotonda West Woman’s Club was chartered as a member of the Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs on May 1, 1974 with 43 members; therefore making them a member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, the largest international organization of women in the world. They chose as their motto “working together for a beautiful tomorrow” and their aim “to ever widen our circle”. Keep in mind the community of Rotonda West had its beginning in the early 1970’s. It is known for its unique layout where all the streets are circular. From the sky it appears as a circle on the ground.
Helen Allison was the club’s first president and at her suggestion, a flagpole was erected in the traffic circle on Cape Haze Drive as a Community Bicentennial project. The Bicentennial celebration was held in October of 1975 and won a National Award. This community project contributed to the winning of the annual “Women’s World Awards” sponsored by the Herald Tribune, three years in succession.
Billie Dodds was the second president of the Club and her project was the formation of a local library. The 500 book library was located in the Community Center on Cape Haze Drive and was dedicated in January, 1977. With the opening of the new Rotonda West Community Center in 2017, the library has been relocated to this facility located in Broadmoor Park at 646 Rotonda Circle. It remains a community library open to the residents and maintained by the ladies of the Club.
In the early years $1000.00 was contributed to the West Charlotte Civic Center Building Fund, which became the Joseph Tringali Center. $1300.00 was donated to the Englewood Ambulance Fund and funds were raised to refurbish the G.C. Herring Park. The Club was represented on the Board of the community to encourage the establishment of the Rotonda West Neighborhood Watch program.
The Club’s most notable contribution to the community has been the donation of over $75,000.00 in scholarships throughout the years. Lemon Bay High School graduating seniors and adults seeking further education have been the recipients of the High School and Continuing Education scholarships which are given out each year.
Other notable contributions have been to the Rotonda West Association in both the previous Community Center and the new Community Center in Broadmoor Park which was dedicated in 2017. The contributions include new chairs, tables, window blinds, shelves and furniture for the library.
The “Welcome to Rotonda” committee provides directories of local businesses and professional services to new residents of Rotonda West at the Community Open Houses sponsored by the Rotonda West Association twice a year. The businesses and professionals purchase advertising in the Sponsor Directory and through this project funds are raised to support the scholarship fund.
Through the years the Club has held card parties, rummage and book sales, bazaars, raffles, fashion shows, dinners, teas and trivia nights to raise funds to support their philanthropic endeavors. Each year thousands of dollars are contributed to local charities. Also donations are sent to GFWC Florida sponsored charities such as: Operation Smile, Sew Much Comfort, Hacienda Girls Ranch and Canine Companions for Independence. The Club raised enough funds in the past few years to provide several operations for Operation Smile.
Ongoing projects include : donating food to local food banks, donations of clothing and school supplies to local elementary schools, donations to Charlotte County Abuse and Rape Emergencies (CARE), providing refreshments for the RWA Christmas Tree lighting, supplying pet food to Suncoast Humane Society and Englewood Area Rescue Sanctuary (EARS), sending packages to our servicemen and women, volunteering a Cedar Point Environmental Park, poetry contest for local elementary school, and Adopt-A- Road clean-up.
Within the Club there are also fun activities such as the crafting group (Crafting Cuties), sewing group (Sassy Stitchers), knitting/crochet group, choral group (The Tonettes), Bunko, Mahjong, art competition, book clubs (Epsilon Sigma Omicron)and social activities such as dances and theater.e GFWC Rotonda West Woman’s Club, Inc. currently has over 160 members.
They meet at the Rotonda West Community Center located at 646 Rotonda Circle. The meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month except for June, July and August. They meet at 9:00 A.M for a social hour. The business meeting starts at 10:00 A.M. Each month there is a Community Service Program responsible for a speaker to provide information related to their program.
History updated March, 2018
Posey Bauer, Historian