Geneva Women's Club to celebrate 80th anniversary

  • The Geneva Women's Club will celebrate 80 years of philanthropy and friendship Tuesday, Feb. 25. Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns will start the evening with a proclamation at City Hall. A reception will follow at the Geneva History Museum.

    The Geneva Women's Club will celebrate 80 years of philanthropy and friendship Tuesday, Feb. 25. Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns will start the evening with a proclamation at City Hall. A reception will follow at the Geneva History Museum. Courtesy of Geneva Women's Club

Posted2/21/2020 6:00 AM

It seems fitting that a women's organization with a pink heart as part of its logo is preparing for a milestone event in the same month in which Valentine's Day falls.

What started as a group of young mothers sitting around a kitchen table in 1940, with pen and paper to share thoughts about how to best help each other and the community, will celebrate its 80th anniversary as the Geneva Women's Club Tuesday, Feb. 25.


Many of the club's current 61 members, past members, friends and family will take part in a proclamation at City Hall and follow it up with a reception at the Geneva History Museum. In a fun twist, the ladies are encouraged to dress in cocktail attire from their favorite decade.

The history museum is the perfect setting, considering the club has eight large boxes of archives stored there, charting its beginnings as the Young Mothers Club of Geneva, to the Mother's Club of Geneva and, ultimately, in 2015 as the Geneva Women's Club.

"It started as young mothers helping each other, and they raised $20 that first year in 1940," said Ivette Bolender, current president of the club.

Like any club, organization or business, the Geneva Women's Club has changed with the passing of time -- especially when it comes to using technology to help the cause of raising money for various charities.

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"I know we started with pen and paper, and I think there was a laptop used at some point, because we saw it in the club's storage facility," Bolender said. "Now, we use Google Drive for all of our materials and we use an app for directories."

More importantly than advancing with technology, the club has changed its core membership.

"It is not just young mothers now," Bolender said. "As a group, it is young women, mothers, grandmothers, singles and empty-nesters, as the name was changed to open it up to different women in different phases of their lives."

That resulted in a burst of energy that has helped the club continue to hold its major fundraiser -- the annual holiday craft show at Geneva High School.

"We just finished our 45th holiday craft show, and it raised $21,000," Bolender said. The club's Bunco Night fundraiser is set for April 22.


That's good news for the charities the not-for-profit club targets -- CASA, Fox Valley Hands of Hope, Lazarus House, Mutual Ground, TriCity Family Services, LivingWell Cancer Resource Center, Tri-City Health Partnership, and the Geneva school district.

In addition, the club has added a smaller "rotational" charity that will be chosen annually based on nominations from members.

Those interested in the club or its events can email

As for that pink heart logo, it came about to symbolize the "bigger heart" that the club's members have beyond raising money for charitable causes.

"The logo used to be a mom and her two children, but the heart shows we figure out how to put in extra time for other needs, such as volunteering at the food bank or at fundraising runs or working at other groups' galas," Bolender said.

For that coffee:

This is one you'll have to leave us out of. As hard as it is for some to believe, my wife and I don't drink coffee. I drank it to stay awake when working the night shift for a grocery store nearly 50 years ago, and it could be it reminded me of that too much in later years.

Still, I realize it is one of life's great brews, so coffee lovers are preparing for the Coffee Cup Crawl from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, in downtown Geneva. Fourteen businesses will serve samples of coffee for the event.

Tickets sell pretty fast, so hopefully this note isn't too late to remind you. Get the $25 tickets at

Made me restless?:

Never one to turn down what is being touted as an excellent movie, I did watch "Parasite" prior to its winning this year's best picture Oscar.

How was it? As good as advertised.

But my Fitbit that night recorded I slept for six hours and six minutes, woke up twice and was "restless" 14 times. That's a digital way of saying that maybe the movie had me tossing and turning a bit.

Don't let that scare you off seeing this film. It's not "scary" as in the boogie man or a chain-saw murderer is coming to get you. I would describe it as "unsettling," because it addresses the big gaps in the haves and have-nots, but also as one that surely has you glued to the screen.


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