A Brief History of Zonta International
In Buffalo, NY in Jan. 1919, five women guests at a Kiwanis social conceived of a new service club- one composed of all women who were recognized leaders in business and the professions. The purpose was to be the standardization and dissemination of business principles & practices and to provide service to humanity through cooperative efforts. During the spring & summer of 1919, clubs were organized in Buffalo, Rochester, Binghamton, Elmira & Syracuse, NY. The Confederation of Zonta Clubs was thus founded on November 08, 1919 in Buffalo. Its first theme was education for girls and young women.
Delegates from the first clubs met on November 08, 1919 to found the Confederation of Zonta Clubs. There was a Constitution, Bylaws, official colors of mahogany & gold, and criteria for membership & classification – but no name… Each club submitted suggestions and the name “ZONTA”, from the Teton dialect of Sioux, was chosen. Meaning “honest & trustworthy”, it was adopted at the 1930 Convention in Seattle. By then, there were clubs in Canada and, in 1931, Zonta was introduced to European women. From these early beginnings has developed a truly international service organization with over 34,000 members in 70 countries. Its headquarters are in our own District 6, in Chicago. Significantly, Zonta was given consultative status with the U.N.’s UNICEF, UNIFEM, UNESCO, ILO, and ECOSOC organizations.