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Founded in 1921 in Oakland, California, United States, Soroptimist International (SI) is a worldwide volunteer service organization for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world. The original president of the organization was Violet Richardson Ward in 1921. Through their General (Category One) Consultative Status as a non-governmental organization at the United Nations, the organization seeks equality, peace, and international goodwill for women. The Mission Statement of the organization is:
Through international partnerships and a global network of members, Soroptimists inspire action and create opportunities to transform the lives of women and girls by: Advocating for equity and equality; Creating safe and healthy environments; Increasing access to education; Developing leadership and practical skills for a sustainable future.
There are four Federations around the world; SI of the Americas, SI Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) Ltd, SI of Europe and SI of South West Pacific. The headquarters office for Soroptimist International is in Cambridge, UK.
The organization comprises approximately 95,000 members in more than 125 countries and territories worldwide who contribute time and financial support to community-based and international projects.
Soroptimist members belong to local clubs, which determine the focus of service to their communities.
In 2012, Soroptimist International raised over £1million to help disadvantaged women and children in Sierra Leone face their futures with confidence, in partnership with the international charity Hope and Homes for Children.