#RichlandGives Spotlight: Altrusa
Altrusa is an international organization (founded in 1917) of business and professional leaders who volunteer their energies and expertise in projects dedicated to the betterment of their community. Membership in Altrusa International, Inc. is an honor and granted by invitation only from a club based in the local community. Locally, there are 48 members of Altrusa International of Mansfield and is part of Altrusa's District Five, which includes Ohio and Michigan clubs.
Our Club takes its name from the word Altruism, which the dictionary defines as “the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others”.
Our major service project supports our theme of Literacy. The project, Tools for Schools, was started 15 years ago. Member Linda Williams, working as an occupational therapist in the schools, saw an unmet need - students were coming to school, without school supplies. Many teachers provided supplies out of their own pockets, while noble, it didn’t go far enough. The Club’s Tools for Schools provides school supplies, glue, pens, notebooks, paper, folders, crayons, erasers and other items directly to teachers, for classroom use. The club purchases the supplies, fills teachers’ requests [they are faxed to us], packages and in some cases, deliver supplies to the schools. In the 2015-2016 school years, Altrusa filled 431 teacher requests a total of 100,370 school supplies. We do this with a budget of $15,000.00.
Our largest fundraiser, The Bash, is an annual dinner-dance planned by the club in the spring of each year. Our club also seeks out grants both local and through our International Club organization.
Last year, our club was proud to be a part of a Richland Gives. We raised $1,060.00 last year and are ready to be a part of the Day of Giving again in 2017. We committed the use of these funds to make an impact in our community and were part of Tools for Schools and other projects we support including:
• Adult Education Scholarships for Women in Transition
• S.A.F.E. program at Mansfield City Schools for homeless students
o We provided backpacks filled with age-related items for over 200 families.
• Days for Girls, an international program
• Providing 100 books for The Big Red Bookshelf – United Way of Richland County program
• Our members volunteer their time to Dewald Center
• We support and participate in Make a Difference Day
• We volunteer at The New Store
• We support The Harmony House
Richland Gives was important to Altrusa International of Mansfield as it gave us another venue for us to share our mission of promoting literacy in our community and share our story.