The Allendale Woman’s Club of New Jersey, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose volunteer members are dedicated to performing community service activities and philanthropy in Allendale and beyond. The AWC is a member of The New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs and The General Federation of Women’s Clubs.
History: The AWC has its roots in December 13, 1918, when the Community Club was founded as a Woman’s Auxiliary to the Allendale Board of Trade. Those first 20 members were vital to the creation of Memorial Park, honoring those who served in World War I. The club raised funds for the creation of our library and lobbied for street signs and streetlights in town. In 1922, a Ridgewood Woman’s Club member visited and told members about the Federation of Women’s Clubs. On May 26, 1922, the name was changed to the Woman’s Club of Allendale, and the club joined The New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs. They continued to work to benefit the community; sponsoring a Girl Scout troop in 1927 and donating chairs to the library in 1928.
The Junior Woman’s Club of Allendale was founded and federated on May 18, 1933 with Margaret Critchley as the first president. The Junior Woman’s Club was established as a community service organization for women between the ages of 18 and 35, at which point members could “graduate” into the Woman’s Club of Allendale (if they chose). The group started as a few women who got together regularly to play bridge. There were 26 charter members, and the iris was chosen (and still is) the club flower. This group has been affiliated with The New Jersey State Federation of Woman’s Clubs since its inception. During the war years–from 1941 to 1945–the club worked on war efforts, selling bonds, knitting for soldiers, and assisting the Red Cross. Several of the daughters of the original members went on to become members themselves in the 1960s, including Mrs. Thomas Watson, daughter of the first president.
By the 1960’s, there were three women’s clubs in Allendale: The Junior Woman’s Club of Allendale, the Woman’s Club of Allendale, and the Woman’s Evening Club of Allendale. There was also briefly a Sub-Junior Club of Allendale for girls in high school. Each of these clubs contributed many items of value to the Allendale community. The Woman’s Club of Allendale made draperies for the library in 1954 and sponsored a well-baby clinic. In 1960, the club donated the funds for the Allendale Borough Hall kitchen. The Junior Woman’s Club organized a quilt project illustrating historic sites, which was presented as a gift to the Borough of Allendale on July 4, 1976. It still hangs in the municipal building today in the “Quilt Room.” Together, the three clubs raised money to reconstruct the local swimming pool after it was damaged by a flash flood in 1945 and worked on the writing of A History of Allendale in 1964.
Many of the events and projects from these previous clubs continue today. For example, as far back as 1964, the Woman’s Club of Allendale held an annual geranium sale (which still continues to this day) and donated the proceeds to plant a tree by the ambulance building. The Junior Woman’s Club started the annual Bookmark contest, Busy Books creative writing project for the third-grade class, and Breakfast with Santa. The library activities program–which is still sponsored by the club–initially began as a story hour for children and for a while included puppet shows in which club members would act out the stories. In 1993, the Junior Woman’s Club was renamed the Allendale Woman’s Club. The requirement that members leave at age 35 was eliminated.
Today, the Allendale Woman’s Club donates funding to many projects in Allendale: Crestwood Lake, police/fire/ambulance/CERT, children’s library programs, scouting projects, Hillside School busy books and bookmark contest, Brookside Music & Performing Arts, Holiday Breakfast, Northern Highlands scholarships, and more.
In addition, the club reaches beyond Allendale by supporting charities such as Alternatives to Domestic Violence, The Center for Food Action, Center for Hope & Safety, Women’s Heart Health Center at Valley Hospital, Eva’s Village, Oasis, Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge, Rebuilding Together, West Bergen Mental Healthcare, Family Promise, and YCS Holley Center.
For more than 100 years, the women of Allendale have been work together in sisterhood and friendship to strengthening our communities. We invite women over the age of 18 who live in the area to join our club by emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.