How We Got Started
In 1966, the Marco Island Woman’s Club was chartered by a group of 16 friends to help support the Island’s people and various non-profit groups. Today the Club is proud to be both an active social network for the women of Marco Island as well as a civic-minded organization with a long, proud history of serving the community. We celebrated our 50th anniversary in October 2016 and we continue to follow in the footsteps of our foremothers to grow our legacy of volunteer service.
Read on for our accomplishments over the 50+ years as well as the activities our members pursue to support these organizations.
50+ Years: The Highlights
One of the Club’s earliest and proudest accomplishments is the founding
of the Marco Island Public Library, which began as a volunteer effort in 1967. The need for a library was great since the only library in the County was located in downtown Naples. Our members worked diligently to find a permanent home, eventually approaching Deltona, who generously donated their old “Welcome to Marco” Polynesian style shack. With the tireless combined efforts of many, the shack was remodeled, carpeted, staffed solely by Club volunteers, and opened for business in 1968 with 350 books.
Island Beautification and Youth Center
In the early 1970’s the Club initiated the beautification movement on the Island and advocated the need for a Youth Center. In 1975, a group of citizens secured a site for the original Youth Center and Deltona issued a perpetual deed for that use at the site. It has since grown into the present-day YMCA.
By the early 1970’s the Island’s cemetery had become “a jungle with a path that young dirt bike cowboys had turned into an obstacle course.” In 1972 the Woman’s Club began to set aside funds to clear the graveyard of debris, trash and vegetation. In
cooperation with many local volunteers, including inmates from the Copeland
Department of Correction, the project was completed and the cemetery was re-dedicated in 1985. Over the years, the Club has donated and replaced garden features, including the Woman at the Well fountain (retired and removed), the Cemetery’s flag pole, and in 2014, a heart shaped granite marker bearing the Club’s motto.
Marco Island Academy
The Club has a long history of supporting the Island’s only high school, the publicly chartered (in 2011) Marco Island Academy. Over the first ten years of the school’s existance, the Club provided seed money to the school’s Performing Arts program; made donations in support of General Science, Marine Science and Athletic programs; and, donated $15,000 to the Academy’s successful Capital Campaign to build a permanent campus to replace the existing modular classrooms.
Marco Island Center for the Arts
The Club believes that it is vital to a child’s education to include the arts. Since 2014, we have been able to donate almost $10,000 to the Art Center in support of their efforts to provide art education to the Island’s youth.
The MIWC has a long, successful history of providing financial support to
resident high school seniors through its college scholarship program which is funded by the Marco Island Woman’s Club Foundation endowment. The Foundation was formed in 1988 thanks to a $100,000 donation from Club member Signe Gleich. In 2011, former MIWC member Verne Cabooris also left a sizable donation to the Club for educational purposes. The generosity of these two members, as well as subscriptions and gifts from donors that are earmarked for educational purposes, plus an annual donation to the Foundation from the Club’s net fundraising proceeds, allow the Club to annually award a number of college scholarships to deserving Marco Island students.
What We Do
Each year the Club holds a number of fun events and activities to raise funds to support local non-profit organizations. All active members of the Club are expected to participate in these events.
Our major fund-raising event is the annual MIWC Luncheon & Fashion Show. We also hold in-house and outside raffles and at least one other “big” event. Check out the EVENTS CALENDAR to see what is planned for this year.
In 2022 the Club donated a total of more than $38,000 to 11 non-profit organizations:
- Marco Island Woman’s Club Foundation Scholarship Fund
- Marco Island Woman’s Club Charitable Foundation Scholarship Fund
- AL’s Pals
- American Gold Star Mothers
- Conservancy of SW Florida
- Girls on the Run – SW Florida Chapter
- Manatee Middle School Girl Up Program
- Marco Island Lunch with Friends Program
- Marco Island Academy Theater Program
- Marco Island Dementia Respite
- Marco Island Historical Society Museum Lobby Re-Model Project
But it's not all work...
MIWC encourages our members to get together socially for fun and friendship. The Club sponsors three annual social events -a fall Beach Clean-Up, a Holiday party for both singles and couples, and a members and guests winter Lunch, Cards & Games afternoon. Our special interest groups are an opportunity for members to bond over common interests.
The Book Club meets on the third Thursday of each month at the home of that month’s discussion leader. Meetings are followed by an optional group dinner at a local restaurant. Membership requires attendance of at least five of the eight scheduled meetings during the October-May season.
The MIWC Stitch Makers meet at 1 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month in the Plantation Condo Social Room to work on knitting and crocheting projects. Whether novice, pro, or willing to learn, members use their own yarn to make blankets and hats for the pediatric patients at the Golisano Children’s Hospital and to make hats for Manatee Elementary School students and their families.
The Club has an annual group subscription with Artis-Naples for tickets to Broadway plays, Pops concerts and single artist shows. Performances are held November through May. To join the Theater Group – you may opt to attend one or all events.
Day trips to southern Florida points of interest. Open to members & guests.
Monthly Movie Matinee outings and Card Game & Lunch. Open to members & guests.