In Buffalo, New York in January 1919, five women attending a social meeting of Kiwanis as guests conceived the formation of a new service club. This club would be composed of women who were recognized leaders in their businesses and professions. The primary purpose of the club would be to standardize and disseminate business principles and practices and to provide service to humanity through cooperative efforts. During 1919, clubs were organized throughout New York as the Confederation of Zonta Clubs. Zonta is a word from the Native American Sioux language that means “honest and trustworthy.” In 1920, the first meeting was held, and among considerable business that was conducted, the Zonta colors, mahogany and gold, were chosen, along with the Zonta emblem.
Our service club was established on November 25, 1921, and is one of the first clubs chartered by Zonta International. The early members, as the leading business and professional women in our community, began a tradition of excellence and dedication to the needs of women and children. Their accomplishments and stature in our community formed a foundation for Zonta Club of Toledo I that is recognized today as one of the most prestigious and hard working service clubs in the area. Zonta Club of Toledo I provides generous contributions to many global Zonta International projects that improve the quality of life for women, such as efforts to end human trafficking and violence against women, and work to improve health care for women and children.
Many local charities and services have benefited from our Club’s monetary support. Other projects have promoted the development and advancement of women. Projects have included a Signature Project (multi-year funding) for the Area Office on Aging Kinship Navigator program, the Bethany House Move Out program, the purchase of HIV/AIDS testing kits for Planned Parenthood, and outreach to women in prostitution. Our Club also sponsors two “Z Clubs” (high school service clubs) at St. Ursula Academy and Start High School. Through Z Club, we provide educational, mentoring, and scholarship opportunities for the students at these schools.