About Our Club

Zonta Anchorage is a chartered club of Zonta International, a global service organization of executives in business and the professions working together to advance the status of women.

The Zonta Club of Anchorage is a dynamic organization of professional women working together to advance the status of women in Alaska through service, advocacy and awareness. This combination of enthusiasm, energy and experience has kept our club vibrant and successful.

We are dedicated to full filling Zonta International mission of improving the legal, political, economic, educational, health and professional status of women at the global and local level through service and advocacy on a local level. We partner with non-profits thru out Alaska to create change statewide. Passion projects are the cornerstone of our club and we encourage members to discover & explore areas of interest.

Our Mission

  • Provide service globally and locally;
  • Improve the legal, political, economic, health, educational and professional status of women;
  • Work for the advancement of understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of executives in business;
  • Promote justice and universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;
  • Be united internationally to foster high ethical standards, implement service programs, and provide mutual support and fellowship for members who serve their communities, their nations and the universe.

Our 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 an equal basis with men.
  • In such a world, no woman lives in fear of violence.

Organization History

The Zonta Club of Anchorage, Alaska was chartered on August 29, 1961 with 51 members. The charter number is 488. Of the original 51 members, only one is still an active member: Virginia Augestad.

Early Project – Anchorage’s First Airport Information Booth

On May 28, 1962, General Jimmy Doolittle was on hand to sign the book for the opening of the Anchorage International Airport Information Booth. Avis Rent-a-Car donated space to the Zonta Club of Anchorage for the booth in the lounge of the terminal building, where it was easily accessible to all inbound and through flights. Zonta members familiarized themselves with tourist and housing information to air tourists and new arrivals. A file of linguists was established for travelers not familiar with the English language. Anchorage Chamber of Commerce members, agencies and local clubs donated strollers, buggies, cribs, jumpers, toys, childrens’ books and disposable diapers for the comfort of travelers. The booth was enlarged, moved and eventually there were two booths. Zontians spent many hours volunteering at the Information Booth. Now the booth is staffed by volunteers from the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau.

First Fundraiser

Our first fundraiser consisted of selling raffle tickets for one of Fred Machetanz’ paintings, done especially for the club. The money went to a scholarship for training practical nurses called “The Dorothy Thompson Scholarship” in memory of a member. The first fund raiser earned over $400.

Image: Virginia Augestad, a charter member with a guest at the 50th Anniversary Party in 2011.

[PDF Download: History of the ZCA]

The Newsletter

The Oonipak was initiated in December 1962. Harriet Penwell wrote to a senator in our legislature and a Catholic priest from New Hampshire for an Eskimo word meaning “news” – hence our bulletin has a name which means “carrier of messages”.

Early Members & the First Nun to Become a Zontian

August 13, 1962 Sister Elizabeth Clair, Administrator of Providence Hospital, Anchorage, became the first Catholic Sister to become a Zontian. She played an important role in Zonta during her time in Anchorage.

The Things You Remember

During a social meeting on May 23, 1963, held in an upstairs room of the First Federal Savings and Loan Bank, the caretaker closed and locked the doors and most of the windows. When the attendees were ready to leave they found themselves trapped inside. Three members managed to work themselves through a small opening in one of the windows. Then, after they discovered that help could not be found to open the door, they came around and to the windowsill, then down to the alley. We believe that this was the first time a Zonta Club was locked inside a bank at night.

In 1968, we held the first annual banquet with the three other women’s service clubs in Anchorage: Altrusa, Quota and Soroptimist.

ZERO (Zonta Emergency Relief Operation)

March 27, 1964 – CRUNCH!!!!! Anchorage, Seward, Kodiak, Valdez and other Alaskan communities experienced the biggest disaster in the history of our state – the Good Friday Earthquake and tsunami destruction. J. Marie Pierce, President of Zonta International, spread the word to all the clubs asking them to aid Anchorage families. Donations of money, material, clothing, medicines and food arrived daily from around the world and continued through the fall. Six hundred pounds of nails were sent to us along with the Northwest Lumberman’s Association donation to Anchorage. We had a little trouble storing the nails. The final destination of the nails was Afognak Island, near Kodiak, to aid in the restoration of the buildings that were swept away in the tsunami.

Previous Service & Fundraising Projects

  • Maui-Kauai Hurricane Victims Assistance
  • Eve Mobray Hostess Fund
  • Marion deforest Fund
  • MS Read-a-thon Billing Program
  • AWAIC Christmas Gift Program
  • Access Alaska
  • Salvation Army- bell ringers and food and clothing donations
  • Victims for Justice
  • The Anchorage Center for Families
  • Sri Lanka Well Water Project
  • Alaska Kidney Center
  • Anchorage Blood Bank
  • Child Abuse Prevention
  • GROW
  • YMCA Campership
  • Korean Orphans Airlift
  • Brother Francis Shelter
  • Anchorage Home for Unwed Mothers
  • Alaska Women’s Resource Center
  • Salvation Army Clithroe Center
  • High School paraplegic student
  • Ramallah
  • Anchorage Arts Council
  • Foster Parents/Grandparents Program
  • YMCA furniture purchase
  • Harriet Walston memorial to YMCA
  • San Francisco earthquake relief
  • Mary Conrad Center for the Elderly and Handicapped
  • Municipality of Anchorage Police Department Drug & Alcohol Abuse Program
  • Our Lady of Guadaloupe
  • Robert Mahoney Memorial
  • The Dorothy Thompson Scholarship for nurses training
  • ZERO (Zonta Emergency Relief Operation)
  • Anchorage International Airport Information Booth
  • Booties for Iditarod dogs
  • Anchorage Youth Hostel
  • Pioneer Home
  • Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Foundation
  • Anchorage Chapter Spinal Cord Society – Jessie Owens Patents 1 & 2
  • KAKM Auction & fund drives
  • KSKA fund drives
  • Our Lady of Compassion – bingo gifts and companions
  • Red Rose Fund (memorial to Rose Golik – the instigator of the first information booth)
  • St. Jude Program
  • Southwestern Alaska Museum of Natural History
  • Arctic Winter Games
  • Sock-it-to-Beans
  • Kidney Dialysis Center
  • Eva Foundation
  • Mary Magdalene Home Alaska

Current Service & Fundraising Projects

  • Salvation Army Booth Memorial Home
  • AWAIC
  • Covenant House
  • Bridges to Success program of Alaska Native Justice Center
  • First Books
  • Anchorage Literacy Project
  • Standing Together Against Rape
  • Arts on the Edge
  • Amelia Earhart Fellowship
  • Laurie Gail Green Scholarship
  • Young Women in Public Affairs Scholarship
  • Lester B. Pearson College – Canada
  • Zonta International Building Foundation
  • UNIFEM