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Encino Woman's Club | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Encino Woman's Club

Historical Note:

The Encino Woman’s Club was founded in 1927 by a small group of local women that met regularly for a monthly potluck and game of cards. The early years of the Club were spent on leisure activities, establishing their club room, and charitable activities that included sewing for the Pacific Home and the McKinley Home for Boys.

Though the Depression years were difficult, the Club continued their fundraising work with bake sales and card parties. It was also at this time that members began their long-standing tradition of providing scholarship funds to students beginning their college education or vocational training, with a particular focus on nursing education. Many scholarship recipients attended local colleges and universities in the San Fernando Valley, including Los Angeles Valley College, Pierce College and San Fernando Valley State University (now California State University, Northridge). The Club also became politically engaged at this time, serving 30 people at a dinner for Democratic congressional nominee John Steve McGroarty.

During World War II they lost the use of their clubhouse in Encino Park, as the space was needed for the fire department. As in the earliest traditions of the club, members held meetings in their own homes, with different members sharing hosting responsibilities each month. The war years saw the creation of a temporary Red Cross section that disbanded as the war came to a close. The Club also purchased war bonds and hosted U.S.O. parties for local enlisted men. One of their charity focuses at this time was Birmingham Hospital, a local Army hospital that served primarily as a rehabilitation center for wounded veterans.

From the earliest years members understood the need to have their own meeting place. The Club’s Building Fund, which they called “The Bridge Builder,” began with a contribution generated from their monthly bridge game. In the early 1940s they purchased land near Balboa and Ventura Blvd. and set up a committee to meet with architects. With their funds running low, the women chose instead to buy another building and have it moved to their new location. By the end of the decade they paid off their mortgage.

Throughout the years the Club fundraised by organizing themed and garden parties, fashion shows, boutique sales, and bridge parties. They also published and sold a cookbook containing member recipes. They held their first annual White Breakfast in 1945 and around this time also began supporting Futures Unlimited, a non-profit foundation dedicated to helping the physically handicapped. In addition to their work for Futures Unlimited, the Club also fundraised for the Valley Child Guidance Clinic, Red Cross, Community Chest (after 1963 the United Way of Los Angeles), and the Encino Community Center.

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