SOWING THE SEEDS FOR SUCCESS!
THE GREAT FALLS WOMAN'S CLUB
THE GREAT FALLS WOMAN'S CLUB
Founded: June 20, 1980
By Doris Fisher Irwin, Donna Anderson,
Jan Lucca & Pat Macveagh*
Founded: September 15, 1982
By Doris Fisher Irwin
In 1980 a group of women led by Doris Irwin Fisher joined together and organized The Great Falls Woman's Club, so named as a reflection of the versatile women who reside in the community. Chartered in October 1980 as a nonprofit, non federated and non political social club, its membership totaled 100 by its first meeting.
When the Woman's Club was organized, one of its chief purposes was to establish and support a scholarship fund to recognize excellence and to extend financial support to Great Falls students as its major service project. The Scholarship Fund was incorporated separately as an exclusively educational and philanthropic organization to enable it to claim tax exempt status and to offer contributions to the Fund income, estate and gift tax deduction contributions can realize a 100% income tax deduction and as much as a 50% tax savings.
The Fund has no members and its Executive Board are all members of the Woman's Club who have been appointed annually to serve the Club through the Fund. These Club members control and supervise the Fund, performing all of the administrative duties, receiving contributions, investing these monies, and selecting appropriate recipients to receive the annual scholarship awards. The Club's Scholarship Fund is its major service project with awards made annually, who are pursuing goals in higher education, which was chartered on
September 15, 1982.
NEWCOMERS OF GREAT FALLS FOUNDERS
THE MERGER OF THE WOMAN'S CLUB OF GREAT FALLS & THE NEWCOMERS OF GREAT FALLS
From The Great Falls Friends & Neighbors Directory 2011 2012*
Jan Alloway, Sally Everett Corley, Kitty Cox, Janney Lawson, Anita Smith, Nancy Lovejoy, Sharon Strauchs
Great Falls Friends & Neighbors (GFFN) was formed in 2011 as a result of the merger between the Great Falls Woman's Club and Newcomer's of Great Falls, These clubs had been active in the area for 25 years. The Great Falls Woman's Club was formed in 1980 and The Newcomers of Great Falls in 1982.
The Scholarship Fund continued to operate and the Articles of Incorporation were amended on April 16, 2012 to reflect the new name of Great Falls Friends and Neighbors Scholarship Fund (GFFNSF) and they were amended recently on January 12, 2022 to reflect our new name, The Women's Club of Great Falls Scholarship Fund as chartered by the Woman's Club of Great Falls.
*Provided from the Woman’s Club 2000 to 2001 directory,
1982 SF Articles of Inc & The GFFN 2011 2012 directory.
ESTABLISHMENT OF RECOGNITION
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
In August 1983, the Women's Club of Great Falls, Executive Board voted a Life Membership Award to Club Founder and First President DORIS FISHER IRWIN in recognition of the outstanding service to the Club and the community. As founder of the Great Falls Woman's Club in 1980, Doris demonstrated a notable devotion to purpose and her considerable talent for organization.
She donated thousands of hours and the initial financing to see the Club become a reality. She was the guiding spirit behind the 1980 Ballet Gala, which provided the monies needed to launch the scholarship awards. Her selfless dedication continued to see that the Scholarship Fund was chartered and well organized in 1982.
Top row: 2022/2023 Board Members & Students, Bottom row: Past, Current & Future Presidents in our 40 year history
Doris Fisher Irwin (1982-83)
Kitty Cox (1983-85)
Kay V. Schlegel (1985-86)
Janney K. Lawson (1986-87)
Nancy Scanlon (1987-88)
Denise Edwards (1988-90)
Marietta Gorman (1990-92)
Ruth Carver (1992-94)
Bobbi Kondracki (1994-97)
Lindy Donalty (1997-99)
Bobby Kondracki (1999-00)
Virginia Stein (2000-01)
Dawn Dougherty (2005-08)
Barbara Slaybaugh (2008-10)
Mary Stout (2011-12)
Ricki Harvey (2013-16)
Barbara Chen (2017-18)
Mary Lou Christy & Christie Lavin (2019-20)
Christie Lavin & Kim Finch (2020-21)
Christie Lavin & Sally Andrew-Pyne (2021-22)
Sally Anne Andrew Pyne (2022-23)
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Woman's Club of Great Falls in1980
Past President from1988 to 1989
Vice President of Scholarship Fund 2000 to 2001
Newcomer's of Great Falls in 1982
Newcomer's of Great Falls President in 1982
Past President of Scholarship Fund from1983 to1985
In 2022 the Women's Club of Great Falls and Scholarship Fund Boards jointly decided to create a special recognition for LifeTime Accomplishments for two very special women who have jointly served on the Woman's Club & Scholarship Fund's boards. Jan Lucca, one of the founders of the Great Falls Woman's Club and VP of the Scholarship Fund and Kitty Cox, was one of the founders of the Newcomers of Great Falls and President of the Scholarship Fund. Both of these women have contributed countless hours, and demonstrated their devotion to our organizations and the community. Their selfless dedication, has ensured the continued growth and success of the Women's Club of Great Falls and the Scholarship Fund.
DORIS FISHER IRWIN
THE DORIS FISHER IRWIN ENDOWMENT
The Women's Club of Great Falls Scholarship Fund created the Doris Fisher Irwin Endowment in 2021, which was inspired by our founder and is available for students who are part of the George Mason University ADVANCE program.
Doris Fisher Irwin (in the photo, second from the left, bottom row) was the founder of both the Scholarship Fund and the former Great Falls Woman’s Club. Other founding members and past presidents are also featured in this photo – Jan Lucca (first on the left, bottom row) and Donna Anderson (fourth from the left, top row). In 2019, Doris’ husband left the Women's Club of Great Falls a bequest in her honor. Knowing how dedicated she was to the scholarship program and wanting to carry her legacy forward, the Women's Club of Great Falls board generously allocated the money to the Scholarship Fund. By creating an endowment with this gift, we are so pleased to announce that every year going forward, at least one stand-alone scholarship in her name will be granted.
We have learned that Doris was a truly remarkable, passionate, and dedicated woman who whole-heartedly believed in supporting students who want to further their academic journeys.
A dear friend of hers has told us that "Doris was a glamorous person. She had platinum hair, usually pulled back in a bun, and always wore perfect jewelry and make up. She embodied class. When she walked in the room, you knew Doris was there. Friends of hers loved her and were so proud to be in her life. Doris started the scholarship fund out of a personal passion and dedication to see the cause met. She saw a need in the community and took action. She always worked tirelessly for this cause as well as others that she cared about, whether in the community of Great Falls, in her church community in McLean, or among her family. Her niece had cystic fibrosis and she fought for that cause as well. She never gave up working hard for what she believed in, despite any challenges along the way. She never gave up living her life with purpose and beautifully mannered protocols. She has been and will always be dearly missed.”
Now, with this bequest, her personal legacy and dedication to education and supporting local students will continue in the years going forward. Current board members of the Women's Club of Great Falls Scholarship Fund are incredibly thankful to her and her family. Every day that we gather to organize fundraisers, and every time that we grant scholarships to women, we do so in honor of her and all of the founding women. Our success and dedication to this cause rest on the foundation built by Doris. For her long-standing passion and success, we are truly grateful.
A TRIBUTE TO DORIS
The Scholarship Fund board is honored and delighted to give a word of thanks and tribute to Doris Fisher Irwin, the founder of both the Scholarship Fund and the former Great Falls Woman’s Club. In 2019, her husband left the Women's Club of Great Falls a bequest in her honor in the amount of $20,000. Knowing how dedicated she was to the scholarship program and wanting to carry her legacy forward, the Women's Club of Great Falls board allocated the money to the Fund. The money has since been placed into our existing endowment at Northern Virginia Community College's Advance Program, where it will meet the college’s increasing need of financial aid for students returning to school to further their education. We are so pleased to announce that every year going forward, a stand-alone scholarship in her name will be granted.
Our board wanted to learn more about Doris, in order to properly honor her contribution. We conducted a little research over the past several months, and learned that she was a truly remarkable, passionate, and dedicated woman who whole-heartedly believed in supporting students in their academic journeys. She also had a genuine passion for creating friendships among women and community among neighbors here in Great Falls. From what we’ve been told, it all happened one day in 1980 when Doris put an ad in a local Great Falls newspaper asking if there were any women who wanted to start a women’s club. Several women responded, and they all met for lunch one afternoon at her country club to talk about starting a club. In July of that year, the Great Falls Woman’s Club was created. The Club quickly grew in numbers and included women with unique abilities and varied interests. Many monthly meetings were dedicated to artistic themes. Tours and luncheons were enjoyed. Doris started a Poetry Contest for students at Great Falls Elementary School, using savings bonds as prizes. Supporting local students quickly became a central fundraising and philanthropic cause for the Club.
Thus was established the Great Falls Woman’s Club Scholarship Fund, which formally began in 1982. Doris and several other founding women felt strongly about their mission to grant scholarships to local students. They started off by supporting students at Langley High School. One of the first scholarships was awarded to a Langley H.S. senior planning a major in performing arts. Performing arts, dance, and poetry were at the heart and soul of the Scholarship Fund. These passions came from the women themselves. Doris was a writer and an artist. Bette Carter, another one of the founding women, was an advocate of dance as a therapeutic art. Bette’s family would later bequest a Dance Scholarship in her name, which ran all the way through 2018.
It wasn’t hard to raise money for the Fund. The initial start-up revenue came from dance gala proceeds, garage and rummage sales, ice cream sales, solicited donations, and interest received annually from bank deposits. A favorite event became the Bridge Jamboree, hosted every December. Some women ran the bridge games, and others cooked and prepared food together. Many of the women with whom we spoke fondly remember these occasions when everyone gathered in the kitchen, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. The Jamboree quickly became a well loved and well attended event. It was also a highly successful fundraiser. After almost a decade of these annual bridge events, the Scholarship Fund had saved enough money to later fund two endowments in 2016, each for $25,000, at Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University. A small event, born of the spirit of camaraderie and friendship, resulted in a lasting legacy that will continue to support women students for decades to come.
Now, with her bequest, Doris’s personal legacy and dedication to education and supporting local students will continue in the years going forward. Current board members of the Fund are incredibly thankful to her and her family. Every day that we gather to organize fundraisers, and every time that we grant scholarships to women, we do so in honor of her and all of our founding women. Our success and dedication to this cause rests on the foundation built by Doris. For her long-standing passion and success, we are truly grateful.