The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) was founded on both the national level, and the international level as Graduate Women International (GWI), in 1919. CFUW St. Thomas was founded in 1951.
The establishment of $25 scholarships was originally to just the two high schools in St. Thomas, when it was started in the 1950’s. Now, it has expanded to $500 to all six high schools in St. Thomas and Elgin County.
Cultural values were spectacularly supported by fundraising to support the establishment of the first St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre in 1969 and the donation of the statue, Mother and Child, in front of the St.Thomas Public Library in 1974.
Monthly meetings including a potluck opening meeting and a Christmas social have been a long tradition for fellowship and social activity, as well as the monthly meeting of interest groups, which currently include: a book club, an out-to-lunch bunch, and a bridge group.
Another firmly established tradition has been advocacy. In 1953 the club successfully advocated for and established the first Juvenile Court in St. Thomas. Throughout the years to 1976 letters were sent to MPs and MPPs on the Status of women, Equal Pay for Equal Work, Laws for Women and Children, Succession Duties and the Estate Act.
Current advocacy has included support for the funding of the St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre (STEPAC) and funding of the mental health position of the St.Thomas Police Services. We have formed a partnership with the latter in order to promote the elimination of violence against women and other social issues affecting women.
During its almost 70 year history, the club has organized public forums, a Children’s Fun Series, and made many monetary donations to other organizations assisting women.
At its height there were 74 members but it declined in the ‘90s to a low of 24. Since then membership has grown again and between 2015-2019 we have received many awards for the increase in our membership to its current 47 members.
Our history proves how adequately we have carried out and continue to fulfill our important purpose.
Our Club welcomes all women who support our mission, regardless of their education, to join our growing group.