Sawnee Woman’s Club is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit volunteer service organization of women in Forsyth County, GA. We are a member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC), one of the oldest and largest organizations of women volunteers, nearly 80,000 members strong. We are also a member of the GFWC’s state organization, Georgia Federation of Women’s Clubs.
Sawnee Woman’s Club was founded in 1985 and has given more than 92,000 volunteer service hours, over $450,000 in donations and project funding for local charitable organizations and community agencies.
To develop and support effective programs that make Forsyth County, as well as our state, national and world community a better place for all people.
Our volunteer time and financial support is focused within six Community Services Programs: Arts, Conservation, Education, Home Life, International Outreach and Public Issues. We collaborate with dozens of community organizations and projects each year that support children and families in Forsyth County.
Contributions from Sawnee Woman’s Club have purchased:
- 10-passenger van for Family Promise of Forsyth County
- Refrigerated Truck for Feed the Hungry Forsyth
- Autism Early Detection Machine for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Sawnee Woman’s Club has provided financial support and service hours to:
- Forsyth County Family Haven
- Family Promise of Forsyth County
- Feel Beautiful Today
- Five Points Challenge 5k
- Forsyth County Drug Awareness Council
- Forsyth County Drug Summit
- Forsyth County Fire Department
- Forsyth County Humane Society
- Forsyth County Schools and Annual Scholarships
- Fowler Park Born to Learn Trails
- Keep Forsyth County Beautiful
- Laura Holt Scholarship
- Miracle League
- Operation Christmas Child
- Operation Smile
- Reaping Nature Educational Outreach Foundation
- Special Olympics of Forsyth County
- Teen Interception Program
- Treat the Troops Southern Style
- USO, Hartsfield Airport
- United Way of Forsyth County
- Save the Horses
- The Place of Forsyth
- Warrior Project
Our Arts Community Service Program encourages members to promote and support arts activities. It is designed to inspire clubwomen and promote programs and projects that include music, dance, drama, theatre, and other arts-related areas, both traditional and innovative. The Eggstraordinary Outdoor Art Project originated with the Sawnee Woman’s Club and 3 other organizations in 2008 to beautify the community and raise art awareness in Forsyth County.
The Conservation Community Service Program is designed for members to maintain and promote an appreciation for our environment. Through preservation, maintenance, and restoration of our natural resources, we strive to educate members about the importance of beautifying our communities; preserving, maintaining, and restoring natural resources; and stimulating citizen action to address these concerns. Each member is encouraged to recycle each month and engages regularly with groups such as Reaping Nature Educational Outreach and Keep Forsyth County Beautiful. Sawnee Woman’s Club members maintain a mile-long stretch of Marketplace Blvd. in Cumming as a part of KFCB Adopt-A-Road program.
Education opens doors to a new life of opportunities for our youth as well as those returning to school, whether it is in a degree program or a self-improvement course. Aren’t we learning and expanding our knowledge our whole life? Each time we pick up a book to read, we are acquiring some insight into another step into the world of knowledge and learning. This is one huge way we may eventually make a difference in our lives, communities, and the world. The Sawnee Woman’s Club proudly supports the Forsyth County School System, promotes education of woman’s, community and global issues, offers an annual scholarship for local high school students and holds a monthly book club.
The Home Life Community Service Program is designed to inform members of issues that affect the well-being of individuals, families, and communities by providing opportunities and resources to meet and address needs through volunteering. Through this program, we focus on projects that promote a healthy lifestyle; increase awareness, prevention, research, and treatment of disease; target personal development; address the issues of hunger, inadequate housing, and homelessness; and/or prevent or correct financial difficulties. Sawnee Woman’s Club has a strong focus on Home Life by providing support to The Place of Forsyth County for their Holiday House and substantial donations to other community non-profits addressing homelessness and domestic violence.
In a world where half of the population—over three billion people— lives on less than $2.50 a day, and 22,000 children die each day due to poverty, GFWC encourages clubs to reach beyond their own communities and consider how they can make a global impact. SWC supports Operation Christmas Child each year, and has made donations to UNICEF.
The Public Issues Community Service Program is designed to actively connect members with effective projects and activities relating to civic and social responsibilities. This program focuses on the following areas: Citizenship, Military Personnel, Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, Safety and Crime Prevention. Sawnee Woman’s Club has supported Treat the Troops and promoted Crime Prevention education.
Sponsorships are invaluable to the Sawnee Woman’s Club support of causes and charities in Forsyth County and across the globe. If you or your company would like to know more about sponsoring a fundraiser, we would love to hear from you!
Many thanks to our wonderful and generous sponsors for 2018 Nite In Olde Cumming fundraiser!
- American Proteins
- Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
- Sweetwater Urban Farms
- Lee & Associates, CPA’s
- Bill & Jeannie VanCuren
- Terri Willet, Keller Williams
- Realty Community Partners
- EZ Systems of North Georgia
- The Daffin Family
- The Dahlberg Family
- Terry & Lee Ann Broscher
- Barbara Reynolds
- Plumb Rite
- Carolyn Watters & Associates Realty
- Lois & Doug Watts
In 1984, Mary Helen McGruder, Van LeBlanc, and Bebe Miles, pursuing a need for an organization geared to women interested in civic and community causes, researched the possibilities available. Early in the spring of 1985, these ladies, along with Johanne Daigh, Glynnell Ellis, Gail Mize and Pam Dorman met in the McGruder home with two representatives from the Georgia Federation of Women’s Clubs (GaFWC), Patsy Carlson and Martha McElhannon.That meeting and a trip to the state convention in April of 1985 confirmed to these ladies the need for a woman’s service organization in Forsyth County. At the meetings they had discovered more about the parent organization, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC), which is international in scope. It was determined that the GaFWC / GFWC offered the best network and programs as well as a proven track record of service.Once the affiliation was determined, the founders had the task of deciding which division of the GFWC the club would enter, selecting a name, and recruiting charter members. Since its onset, the founders had determined that the service club in Forsyth County would appeal to a younger group of women – thus the club would be a part of the Junior division.Selecting the club name proved to be a difficult task since the founders wished to covey a county-wide appeal. “Cumming / Forsyth County” was discarded as too long, while “Lanier” seemed too overused. It was then that the founders thought of using the name of that great landmark, Sawnee Mountain, which could be glimpsed from so many vantage points in the county, and which has also preceded the creation of the town, the county, and the lake. It was visible and it was steady – two trademarks the founders wished to embrace in the formation of the club.Along with the seven founders were twenty other women expressing a desire to serve the community. Under the capable guidance of Patsy Carlton and Martha McElhannon, the Sawnee Junior Woman’s Club applied for its charter under the GaFWC / GFWC. On September 11, 1985, the club held its first meeting. Mary Helen McGruder was installed as the first president.
Our original Sawnee Woman’s Club logo:
Present Sawnee Woman’s Club logo (redesigned in 2019):
“A Collect For Clubwomen” by Mary Stewart is recited at the beginning of each Sawnee Woman’s Club meeting, along with the Pledge of Allegiance. Mary Stewart, a Colorado school principal, wrote the words to the Collect in 1904 as a personal daily prayer. Mary titled her poem “A Collect for Club Women” when it was first published because she felt it might have special appeal to clubwomen. According to Mary, “The first women’s organization to hear or use the Collect or to print it in its year books and biennial reports was the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.” Prior to her death in 1943, Mary Stewart’s own account of the history of the Collect was recorded. During GFWC President Dorothy Houghton’s administration (1950-1952), the American Home Department published Mary’s history along with an interpretation of the text and suggestions for using it in GFWC programs. The words for the Collect are as follows:
Keep us, oh God from pettiness;
Let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with fault finding
And leave off self-seeking.
May we put away all pretense
And meet each other face to face
Without self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgment,
And always generous.
Let us take time for all things;
Make us to grow calm, serene, gentle.
Teach us to put into action our better impulses
Straightforward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realize it is
The little things that create differences,
That in the big things of life we are at one.
And may we strive to touch and to know
The great, common human heart of us all,
And, oh Lord God, let us forget not, to be kind!
– Mary Stewart