The first Soroptimist Club was formed in Oakland, California in 1921. It was chartered with eighty women interested in volunteer service. At that time, they were prohibited from joining all-male service organizations.
The Minneapolis club was chartered November 6, 1939 by Martha Servis, the Executive Director of the Soroptimist International Federation. The Minneapolis club, along with the Des Moines and Sioux City, Iowa clubs became part of the South Central Region.
In 1940, the North Central Region was born which included the states of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and the city of Superior, Wisconsin. The Minneapolis club chartered the North Hennepin and the St. Louis Park clubs in 1957. Over the years the clubs merged to become the Greater Minneapolis club and kept that name for many years until 2012 where it was renamed the Soroptimist International of the Twin Cities club to reflect our membership coming from Minneapolis, St. Paul and the surrounding communities.
Today, we are part of a worldwide organization with 95,000 members and 3,000 clubs located in 125 countries and territories. Soroptimist International has been recognized as Non-governmental organization (NGO) by the United Nations since 1984. As a NGO, the organization has consultative status with the Economic and Social Council at the United Nations and is recognized as an authority on matters that women value most. We have volunteers working in four UN Centers located in New York City, Paris, Vienna and Geneva. Our governing Federation is Soroptimist International of the Americas. There are about 40,000 members within our Federation.
For the first several years, all clubs in the North Central region were engaged in war-related efforts, serving USO centers, aiding families of service members, joining with other agencies to give financial or added personnel to Chinese War Relief, Red Cross and British Relief.
By the 1990's domestic violence was a key area of focus for the local Minneapolis club, forging a strong relationship with the Robert B. Lewis House, a shelter for battered women and their children.
Beginning in 2008 and continuing to the present, a strategic focus for the Minneapolis/Twin Cities club has been human trafficking, domestic violence and empowerment through educational awards.
Throughout the years, the Twin Cities club has given outstanding service to our community, region and federation, adjusting our focus to meet the needs of women and children.