Zonta Club of Yakima Valley
  Zonta Club of Yakima Valley  women's service club  

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About Zonta

Yakima Women's ClubZonta Club of Yakima Valley is a service club of professional women, serving the greater Yakima Valley.

Zonta International was started when a club of business and professional women was organized in Buffalo, New York, early in 1919. These women had realized that the classified men's clubs, such as Rotary and Kiwanis, offered their members not only interesting contacts, but also opportunities for service to their communities. Women in nearby cities also became interested in the idea and when, on November 8, 1919, a meeting was held to form a national organization, there were already nine clubs (seven in New York and one each in Pennsylvania and Michigan) to answer the call. These clubs became members of the Confederation of Zonta Clubs, adopted a constitution and bylaws and elected a slate of officers.

On July 2, 1923, four years after the Confederation of Zonta was founded in Buffalo, NY, the Seattle club was organized. This was the ninth Zonta Club to be organized, the first in the District and the first women's classified service club in the city. At the Convention held in Seattle, June, 1930 (on the basis of the Toronto and Australian clubs and the foundation laid in Europe for organization on an international plain) the official name was changed to "Zonta International”' and became incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois. A sixth object was presented for adoption: "To work for the advancement of understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world of fellowship of executive women in business and professions, united in the Zonta ideal of service".

The Zonta Club of Yakima Valley was organized on November 4, 1953, marking the 286th club to be formed in the 13 countries in Zonta International. The Charter Banquet was held on February 20th, 1954, with the Governor of District 8 from Seattle here to install the officers.

Zonta Featured in KeyBank Magazine article - read more

Zonta's Mission

Zonta International is a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.

Zonta's Vision

Zonta International envisions a world in which women’s rights are recognized as human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential.

In such a world, women have access to all resources and are represented in decision making positions on equal basis with men.

In such a world, no woman lives in fear of violence.

Objectives of Zonta International

  • To improve the legal, political, economic, educational, health and professional status of women at the global and local level through service and advocacy.
  • To work for the advancement of understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of executives in business and the professions.
  • To promote justice and universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  • To be united internationally to foster high ethical standards, to implement service programs, and to provide mutual support and fellowship for members who serve their communities, their nations, and the world.

Zonta International, its districts and its clubs are nonsectarian and nonpartisan.


May 2023 Installation

2024-2025 Board and Committee Chairs

President - Diane Young
President Elect - Deby Gunter
Secretary - Terese Abreu
Treasurer - Kathy Greninger
Board Members - Nancy Charron, Pat Reynolds


Zonta Club of Yakima Valley Foundation

The Zonta Club of Yakima Valley Foundation is a 501(C)3 that accepts donations from the community which are given to local organizations which improve the lives of women. All funds donated to Zonta are tax deductible.

History of Zonta Club of Yakima Valley

The Zonta Yellow RoseDuring the year after the Yakima Club was chartered, local Zontians volunteered for USA work, providing refreshments and acting as senior hostesses. A $500 scholarship was set up to assist a student nurse in completing her course.

1955 - The Yakima service club made its first contribution to the Amelia Earhart Scholarship Fund and Amelia Earhart Day was celebrated at a special luncheon with guest speaker, Gini Richardson, local member of the 99 Club and outstanding woman pilot instructor. Members donated individually to providing gifts for each woman patient at the local tuberculosis sanitarium.

1956 - Six members attended the Zonta Convention at Sun Valley, Idaho with the Yakima Club acting as hostess at the luncheon on opening day. They took Yakima Valley apples with them for the luncheon. Yakima Valley's first president, Dorothy Alderson, became First Lady of Yakima when her husband, Joe Alderson was elected Mayor of the city.

1957 - Funds were raised to send contributions to the Hungarian Relief Fund through the Red Cross. This year Zontians elected to present Yakima Valley Junior College with a fireplace. All materials for its construction were provided by the club and, as a result, Zontians had the fun of lighting the first fire and the honor of having a plaque mounted over the fireplace in their name. The Student Union Building is now complete. The club is almost four years old and it boasts 29 very active members. Each year we feel we have gained prestige for Zonta in the community and as individuals feel that we are indeed banded together with a common purpose.

1958 - We donated four oxygen tents to the Selah Hospital for retarded children. We sent a letter to Yakima Rotary Club stating that our club had reviewed the Rotary Teenage Code and found it generally acceptable and a reasonable guide for both parents and teenagers. In November we provided a complete Thanksgiving dinner for a family with 10 children. The club sent 10 subscriptions to the Reader's Digest in Arabic overseas in keeping the Zonta theme "Zonta opens the door to World Friendship."

Christmas Party1959 - We saw the beginning of the Yakima Valley Zonta Club's dental education work in the schools. The club furnished pamphlets on dental health to high school students interested in dentistry and helped in the dental examination of first grade pupils in all Yakima schools.

1960 - The District 8 Conference was held in Yakima from October 21 to 23. The club donated to Father Pire's Anne Frank Village in Germany.

1961 - Donations were made to the school bands of Eisenhower and Davis High Schools to assist in purchasing new uniforms - the donations to Eisenhower were made in time to enable the band to appear in new uniforms in Washington, D.C. at President Kennedy's Inauguration Parade. The club donated $160 to provide toothbrushes to all first grade children in Yakima and Reader's Digest subscriptions were sent to seven foreign countries.

1962 - The college entrance exam fee at Yakima Community College was paid for a young woman in need. $550 was given to two nursing students to help with their education.

1963 - A share of stock in the Yakima City Bus Lines was purchased for $100 as a gesture of support for the community effort to save bus service for Yakima. A set of encyclopedias was donated to a school for the partially sighted.

1964 - On May 8th, our club, in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, commemorating the 75th Anniversary of Washington's statehood, honored 48 women who are residents of Yakima and who have achieved recognition of a state, regional, national and international level, at what was called a Jubilee Banquet at the Chinook Hotel. The banquet was a huge success with 192 tickets sold. Highlighting the event was the speech by J. Maria Pierce, Zonta's International President.

1965 - A Zonta plaque found a home when we installed a drinking fountain at Franklin Park, a relatively new city park.

1966 - Our most outstanding event this year was our club's launching a drive to obtain funds to purchase a new airplane for the Civil Air Patrol; this was our main project for the year. At a no-host breakfast we presented C.A.P. with a check for $500 to launch the drive.

1967 - The Civil Air Patrol headquarters was given a facelift; it was painted inside and out by volunteers and Zonta purchased the necessary paint and helped with the cleaning, window washing, etc. We also obtained donations of 600 gallons of fuel oil for the C.A.P. Vietnam servicemen who were remembered with gift packages during the Christmas season.

1968 - We donated $100 to the newly founded Sundown M Ranch. We also had given $100 to the Yakima Kidney Fund. We continued to support the C.A.P.

1969 - Our club joined with Altrusa and Soroptimist in the purchase of a film to help local law enforcement authorities in their battle against crime. We gave $700 to our major project of assisting the C.A.P.

Dedication of the Yakima Arborteum Rose Garden1969 - The Yakima club began working with a local justice of the peace, an area probation officer, in organizing a Volunteer Probation Service. Several members went to Walla Walla for the regional celebration of Zonta International's 50th Anniversary.

1970 - We have continued our sponsorship of the C.A.P. and the Volunteer Probation Service. Governor Evans sent his personal representative to present us with a special award for our part in the Volunteer Probation Service.

1971 - The Volunteer Probation Service is now state funded so we contributed by members putting in many hours of personal service doing clerical work.

1972 - Our major service project continues to be the Civil Air Patrol Squadron; we not only support them financially, but also attend some of the meetings and donate service hours. We gave camperships to the YWCA, Camp Fire Girls, and Girl Scouts. We made a contribution to the Yakima Speech and Hearing. We also continued to support the Amelia Earhart Fellowship Fund.

1973 - Our club joined the Altrusa and Soroptimist clubs in sponsoring a State Driving Seminar. We also gave a donation to the Red Cross Flood Relief to give to the Civil Air Patrol to be used to repair the flood damage done to their building.

1974 - We had a most successful Christmas Fashion Show as one of our money raising projects to help us in our service projects, the Civil Air Patrol, our camperships, as well as our annual contributions to Zonta International.

1975 - The Civil Air Patrol is starting a building program and we are assisting the fundraising drive by giving additional funds as well as service hours. The club members were divided into five groups with each group expected to raise at least $100. One group had a country fair and netted $900!

1980 - We had 24 new members joining Zonta this year with a result of 65 members. A very successful year was had with our annual Reno Nite and our annual Zonta Run (a 10 km run) with 250 participants. Twenty backboards (wooden stretchers) were made by members in one of our member's shop and presented to the Yakima County Emergency Services for use in the County's emergency rescue effort. As a result of one of the club's largest fundraising projects for several years, a van was presented to Yakima Valley Transportation Co. for the elderly and developmentally disabled. Our most successful fundraiser, "Reno Nite" was held by members, raising around $5,000.

Zonta International Projects help women around the world1981 - This year we supported Zonta International projects with funds totaling $1,200. We also continued to support our local Civil Air Patrol, a service project of our local Zonta club since we were chartered. We pledged $1,000 to the building fund for the local Red Cross. We also started a yearly pledge of all proceeds from our annual Christmas raffle to go towards the purchase of a dog for the K-9 Corps of the local Sheriff Dept. This year our proceeds totaled $1,600. A total of $6,200 was raised for service projects.

1982 - We gave over $6,600 to service projects. The Service Committee embarked on a new and exciting project for the local Family Crisis Center. The club was divided into four groups, each designated to raise as much money as possible. The losers treated the winners to a wine tasting tour, visiting four wineries, a card party at the Century Club, a kidnap breakfast, and a kidnap luncheon (which included the sheriff's paddy wagon, handcuffs, and Judge Munson handing out the fines). We received a lot of publicity from these efforts) were the projects. Over $5,000 was raised, with $1,000 committed this year and the remainder to be given to the Crisis Center in the future. Over $11,000 was raised during the year. Our club felt honored that the first woman District Court Judge elected in Yakima County, Heather Van Nuys, is an active Zontian. Our club selected a special service project this year, the formation of a Zonta club in the Tri-Cities. Fran Sweesy, District 8 Director, spearheaded this project. Fran and her committee have spent many long hours organizing this club. Our membership totaled 77 at year's end.

2005 - We organized the Area 2/5 Workshop in Yakima. An overseas Zonta member was in attendance and spoke to us of the needs of women in developing countries.

2006 - Members were hard at work with the “Murder from the Bench”, the name of the mystery dinner theatre for 2006, which was held on March 4th and chaired by Diane Young and Joyce Carr.  It was a big success netting more than $15,000.

The Status of Women Lunch, also called the Scholarship Lunch, was held in June.  Barb Petrea was the guest speaker.  Emily Fairbrook was recognized as the YWPA Scholarship winner of $2,000.

New Officers for 2006-2007 were President, Joyce Carr; President Elect, Cheryl Rochel; Vice President, Lyn Hartman; Secretary, Sally Hopkins; Treasurer, Marilyn Hunter and Past President, Deb Ward. 

New Members for the year were Sally Hopkins, sponsored by Lyn Hartman; Kathy Cary by Criss Bardill; Beth Mitchell and Lynn Biggs by Fran Sweesy.  Charter Member Barbara Nance and Christine Munson both died in 2006.

The Governor’s Seminar was held in Victoria BC, October 5th through 8th, sponsored by the Zonta club of Victoria.  The conference was attended by Deby Gunter and Kim Hipner. 

The Service Committee, under Danielle Surkatty, created the “Criteria for Funding” and “Application for Funding,” a structural procedure in keeping with the Zonta mission to grant service dollars.  The request for proposals (RFP) was sent to agencies serving women.

$5,000 was sent to Zonta International.  Local grants are listed below.

June 2006 to May 2007

Healthy Families Yakima—funding for domestic violence protocol development, as well as multiple training sessions for family educators in Yakima Valley social service organizations $1,000
Casey Family Services—funded allowance for teen participants of the Get Set program $2,800
Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health—purchase of training materials for the Strong Families program $3,900
Homeless Network of Yakima—40 nights of shelter for homeless women and their children $1,000
La Casa Hogar—scholarships for 10 women and their pre-school children to attend educational program $2,450
Marie-Rose House—funds to support attendance at regional women’s issues conferences $1,350
Nuestra Casa—support services to immigrant women $1,200
Pearson College—gift to the endowment fund to enable teen girls from other countries to attend a year of high school near Victoria, Canada. Phone cards for 8 girls. $2,200
Provident Horizon Group—funded the 10-week Strong Women program for developmentally disabled women $2,000
Riel House—clothing vouchers for residents $520
St. Michael’s Panty—donation to purchase food $1,000
Sunnyside Community Hospital —post partum depression education for care providers $1,000
Yakima Arboretum Rose Garden—funds to maintain the Garden $500
Yakima Police Athletic League—Support for the graduation event for the Manners Matter program for Yakima teenage girls $2,000
Zonta Young Women in Public Affairs Scholarship—awarded to an outstanding Yakima Valley high school senior $2,000

Danielle Surkatty designed and developed the website for the club under the domain name of www.zontayakima.org.  Members were grateful for Danielle’s website expertise.

The Christmas Party was held at Yakima Country Club.

2009 - We launched a Facebook page for the club.

2011 - We began working on an advocacy project to fight domestic minor sex trafficking in the Yakima Valley. For the next 3+ years Zonta was a major force in the Valley raising awareness, encouraging dialogue between various stakeholders, bringing in speakers and training and funding services for vulnerable youth and trafficking survivors. During this period we conducted training or gave presentations to law enforcement, schools, social service providers, medical students, faith based groups, service clubs, university students, and more. We put together a package of recommendations for changes to the adult entertainment ordinance to improve protections for women and these were accepted and enacted into municipal code. We spoke at a trustee's meeting at the Yakima Valley Regional Library, after which the trustees voted to filter porn on all library computers. Contact us for a full list of our advocacy activities during this year.

2013 - We organized the Area 2/5 Workshop in Yakima, with attendees from other Zonta clubs around the northwest. Advocacy Chair, Danielle Surkatty gave a presentation on our Advocacy work, "Zero to Whirlwind: Building a Heart for Advocacy".

2013 - The Zonta Club of Yakima Valley Foundation, formed in 2013, is a 501(c)3 allowing tax deductible contributions.

2014 - For 27 years, we had held a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater to raise funds for organizations in our community. Due to dwindling membership numbers, the last event was held in 2014.

2015 - Longtime member, Kay Pfaff, fondly known as "Queen Kay" passed away, a big loss for our club as Kay lived life large and was a wonderful member of the club.

2016 - In January we held our first Flapjack Fundraiser at Applebee's to raise funds for our annual Young Women in Public Affairs Scholarship. Between the ticket sales, donations, and raffle ticket sales, we raised the $2,000 needed for the scholarship.

Past Presidents

Dorothy Alderson
Barbara J. Nance
Goldie Snider
Viola Waters
Helen Jewett
Evelyn Sears
Catherine Bensacon
Juanita Schaub
Esther Ellinsberg
Mary Campbell
Marjorie Anderson
Laura Smith
Peg Samson
Ida Holte
Elsie Nickerson
Cassy Valdez
Harriet Whitman
Audrey Tegan
Dorothy Arvason
Velma Kurbitz
Delores Heinen
Fran Sweesy
Dorothy Atkinson
Candy Lee
Joyce Jones
Jeanette Witham
Charline Rabung
Beverly Goodman
Jean Nelson
Rose Marie Ulmer
Esther Schrader
Diane Young
Jean Gregg
Mary Lou Snyder
Vickie Tewalt
Judy Pittman*
Yvonne Raver
Pam Schmid
Nona Schulz
Lela Delay
Nancy Rogers
Sister Georgette Bayless*
Dorothy Bristow
Deby Gunter
Candi Broadfoot
Criss Bardill
Lesli Shields
Mary Lou Snyder
Deb Ward
Joyce Carr
Lyn Hartman
Pam Schmid
Deby Gunter
Danielle Surkatty
Pat Reynolds
Joyce Carr
Candi Broadfoot
Cathie DeGrood
Nancy Charron
Diane Young
Joyce Carr
Joddi-Jay Babcock
Deby Gunter
Cathie DeGrood
Diane YOung

* Deceased             + Active


Zonta Club of
Yakima Valley

311 N. 66th Avenue Yakima, Washington 98908

Advancing the Status of Women in the Yakima Valley and Across the World

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