The Twin Cities Woman’s Club disbands after 39 years in Niceville

NICEVILLE — Just one year shy of its 40th anniversary, the Twin Cities Woman’s Club recently voted to disband.

After the last official lunch on May 25 and the end of all business responsibilities for the 2021-22 financial year, the club will cease to exist.

“Disbanding the women’s club was not an easy decision,” said TCWC President Kissy Gordon. “Many of the members have known each other for years and have worked hard to make a difference in our community. Burnout, age, illness, death, moving and COVID have taken their toll on the organization.

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History of the women’s club

The club was originally part of the GFWC Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs and met on April 10, 1983, under the leadership of the Fort Walton Beach Woman’s Club to draft bylaws under which the Twin Cities Woman’s Club would operate.

The installation ceremony took place on May 6, 1983. The charter officers were installed in a ceremony at the greenhouse in Bluewater Bay. The founding officers were Dot Rivers, president; Jane Neiner, vice-president; Virginia Crisafulli, secretary; and Sue Brown, Treasurer.

The membership consisted of the following 15 women: Sue Brown, Virginia Crisafulli, Sammie Davis, Helen Fritsch, Sara Harris, Evelyn Hollfelder, Gwen Jones, Charlotte Lane, Jane Neiner, Pat Olesak, Midge Reagan, Dot Rivers, Jean Schuller, Roma Shipley and Patsy Taylor.

Brown, Crisafulli and Davis are still members.

Since its incorporation in October 1983, 20 women have served as presidents of the club: Dot Rivers, Carmelita Neal, Charlotte Lane, Jean Waite, Sue U. Brown, Libby Guzzetta, Lee Johnson, Roma Shipley, Glenda Hudkins, Alyce Katouch, Midge Cook, Jo Ann Dunnam, Annie Fair, Sharron Wade, Barbara Dunn, Dale Fuqua, Lillian Lewis, Lorraine Phillips, Roxanne Anthony and Kissy Gordon.

Twin Cities Woman's Club members Lindey Chabot, Sue Brown and Lillian Lewis spin and tie bags for the Okaloosa and Walton Counties Mental Health Association.

Their leadership has played a major role in the club’s many successes.

“The Twin Cities Woman’s Club was a great group of women to work with,” said longtime member and former club president Jo Ann Dunnam. “We visited the Florida State Capitol and saw politics in action. We attended the Woman’s Club conventions in Orlando. What fun!”

In 2010, the members chose to leave the federation in order to devote more time and resources to local charities.

Fundraising and other achievements

This 2017 photo is among the types of in-kind/sharing basket donations that have been collected monthly by members of the Twin Cities Woman's Club for designated organizations during its 39-year history.  This collection benefited Safe Connections and Children in Crisis.

Throughout its 39 years, the TCWC has held many successful fundraisers, such as fashion shows, bake sales, bunco events, and poinsettia plant sales. Members also had tables at the Methodist Church’s annual bazaar, where they sold handcrafted items to support the club’s charitable causes.

It all took countless hours of planning and hard work to acquire locations, set up, get door prizes, and everything else that goes into creating a productive fundraiser.

“Over the years, the club’s favorite charity has always been the TCWC Memorial Scholarship to honor the memory of all deceased TCWC members,” said Dale Fuqua, TCWC Treasurer and Past President.

This photo from October 2019 shows a sampling of the many handcrafted items that members of the Twin Cities Woman's Club have made and sold at the annual Methodist Church bazaars.

“The scholarship began in 1989 as helping a displaced housewife with books and tuition at Okaloosa-Walton Junior College,” she added. “Just as the community college became Northwest Florida State College, the scholarship fund became the Twin Cities Woman’s Club Scholarship Endowment.

In 2021, the club awarded over $215,700 to the program. The club plans to pay an additional $5,000 this year.

In a 2018 article published in the Northwest Florida Daily News, founding member Roma Shipley, also a past president of the TCWC, recalled, “Over the years various interest groups have been formed to focus on fundraising. for special projects or to introduce fun opportunities to members. Bridge and bunco groups were formed.

“We had some really fun Christmas parties. We picked up trash on our roads. We decorated, partied and sang with residents of the Twin Cities Pavilion and other care facilities in our community. We presented our arts and crafts to competitions. We participated in the Christmas parades. We wrapped presents. We have collected items for non-profit organizations. We did things for the girls at Hacienda Girls Ranch. We helped where we were needed,” she added.

Since 2009, club members have gathered every summer to spin and tie pouches sewn by Dale Fuqua. Each year, more than 700 bags have been donated to the Mental Health Association of Okaloosa and Walton Counties. The bags were filled with various personal care items and other items, and distributed to customers for Christmas Project Cheer and Veterans Stand Down.

The Twin Cities Pavilion received special attention from the club’s Special Projects Committee. Almost every year, the committee held Christmas tree decorating parties where members decorated the clubhouse Christmas trees and provided refreshments to residents. St. Patrick’s Day bingo nights were held each March, and a variety of snacks and beverages were given away each month for residents to enjoy.

In addition to these activities, the club has also made annual monetary donations.

Virginia Crisafulli (right), founding member of the Twin Cities Woman's Club, holds the corner of the Relay For Life banner.

“A few years ago I researched the archives to see how much money the club gave to non-profit organisations,” Fuqua said. “While going through the archives to see what needs to be kept in the archives, I found my worksheet again. The grand total on this sheet is $406,626…and if things go as planned, the amount is expected to increase by at least $6,000 by the end of May.

“This figure only shows funds that have been recorded on our books,” she added.

Additional donations have been made through countless hours of club work, personal funds, or in-kind/sharing basket contributions (such as supplies, food, toys, and more) made by members who have no not been recorded in the accounting system.

“The ‘AREAS OF INTEREST’ section of our directory tells part of the story of contributing to our community over the past 39 years,” Fuqua said. Relay for Life Society.

“This money did not pass through our books. Nor are the contributions amassed over many years by our members for the American Heart Association Heart Walk,” she added. “So if you think of anything that hasn’t gone through our books, you know that we can be truly proud of the support that the Twin Cities Woman’s Club has given our community.

Since its inception, the TCWC has donated to more than 43 national, state and local charities.

Although the Twin Cities Woman’s Club will soon no longer exist, members have formed lasting friendships and leave behind a legacy of “constructive action that has helped to build, serve, improve and benefit the communities in which they live”, said club members in the TCWC directory. for 2021-22.