The Woman’s National Democratic Club’s Educational Foundation (EF) was established in 1991. The WNDC-EF is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit public charity.
The Foundation seeks to serve and support the community through outreach activities, which include volunteer activities for WNDC members; to preserve the architecturally significant clubhouse of the Woman’s National Democratic Club as a repository for unique collections concerning women’s political history; and to educate the public, especially women, about economic, social, and cultural issues by sponsoring special events at the club.
These programs depend on the participation and financial support of members and the public. Our outreach activities include:
- Tutoring for elementary students in DC,
- A program to bring students at the DC public high school, School Without Walls, into the WNDC for luncheon speakers and special programs,
- Grants to matriculating high school students,
- Educational programs that inform and challenge people to contribute to and participate in civil society and
- Providing research facilities to access our unique collections on women’s political history.
Please contribute to the work of the Educational Foundation by making an unrestricted contribution that will support all of its programs, or you may designate one of the following areas where you would like your funds to be used.
The EF focuses its preservation efforts on the WNDC’s landmark, nineteenth century clubhouse. Purchased by the club in 1927, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and is now open to the public as a museum reflecting the changing role of women in public life. The EF’s Historic Preservation Fund helps preserve the building and its collections.
In recent years, the Foundation financed the repair and painting of the exterior trim, the rebuilding of the steps at the front and back of the house and installation of new iron banisters at the entrance, as well as major projects to stop water damage to the building, and repair and repainting afterwards. We funded a fire alarm system; repairs to the roof, antique gutters, and ceiling; and restored an exterior balcony that could no longer be used. As a result of a major contribution to the Foundation, in 2012 we were able to help fund the transformation of the Stevenson Room, where so many of WNDC’s educational programs are held, including a new audio/visual system, lighting, and acoustic improvements.
The WNDC archives are a rich source of materials documenting the club’s history from its founding in 1922 to the present. They contain club records and publications, photographs, political memorabilia, newspaper clippings, portraits, and audio and video tapes of selected WNDC speaker programs. Researchers and scholars from around the nation and the world use the archives and museum memorabilia, such as the club’s holdings on Frances Perkins, FDR’s secretary of Labor and the nation’s first woman cabinet officer.
The EF also maintains a book collection devoted to women’s issues and current affairs, the Eleanor Roosevelt Library.
The EF currently conducts ongoing programs with District of Columbia Schools.
Its Young Woman’s Leadership Program (YWLP) strives to interest high school juniors in public affairs and public service. A small group of promising young women is selected each year from The School Without Walls to come to the clubhouse for specially arranged, nonpartisan discussions of vital public issues. They are also invited to occasional speaker programs of relevance to their studies.
An award named in honor of a beloved WNDC member who helped to create the YWLP, Ruth Nadel, is given annually to one or more alumnae of the Program to help defray the cost of her higher education.
In 2012, we awarded a grant for $1,000 to Silent Partners, a 501 (c) (3) foundation supporting the hiring of a tutor for the Neval Thomas Elementary School. In 2012, we also began a cooperative program with a DC organization For Love of Children (FLOC) and the WNDC to provide weekly tutoring for middle school and high school students from DC public schools at WNDC. This program offers volunteer opportunities for WNDC members and others.
Responding to a 2011 Washington Post article, we raised more than $2,800 in funds and boxes of good quality books suitable for high school students to help supply the new library of DC’s Ballou High School.
New Citizens Reception
The WNDC-EF sponsors an annual reception for new citizens directly after their naturalization ceremony at the U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The reception is usually attended by 100 to 150 new citizens and their families, and is a meaningful way to make our newest citizens feel welcome.
“Democratic Women: an Oral History of the Woman’s National Democratic Club,” by Jewell Fenzi and Allida Black, is an oral history project of EF that was edited from interviews with more than 50 club members, including Daisy Harriman, Esther Peterson, Lindy Boggs, and Ellie Seagraves, granddaughter of Eleanor Roosevelt. The book was published by the EF and is available for sale at the club’s front desk.
The Educational Foundation encourages club members to volunteer on its projects including the following:
- Hosting students from the School Without Walls at the club
- Tutoring students from DC public elementary schools at the club
- Greeting new U.S. citizens at a reception after their naturalization ceremony
- Mounting exhibits from our rich museum and archival materials
- Helping to sustain the archives on Democratic women
- Advising on historic preservation