On a cold, rainy morning in February 1989, a group of about 30 Keller area women gathered at the Shelingham Club in response to a small notice in the Keller Citizen placed by three newcomers, hoping to meet others in our rapidly growing community. From this enthusiastic and community-minded group of women, the Greater Keller Women’s Club was born. By March, a monthly newsletter was formed while bylaws and a membership directory were established. That spring, monthly luncheons began featuring guest speakers and programs. The Club also participated in the Keller “Spring Fling” with a “White Elephant” booth, thus meeting our first community service funds. On May 17th, officers were installed and a charter was signed.
By the end of summer, the Club had 70 members and 15 activity groups. In November, the membership voted to incorporate as a Texas tax-exempt organization and to seek federal tax-exempt status. Articles of Incorporation were written, approved by the membership and submitted to the Texas Secretary of State.
Entering the New Year, the Club took stock of 1989 with a membership survey called “New Directions 1990.” We learned that the membership remained committed to community service as well as continuing to provide interesting programs, activities and special events. On our first birthday in May 1990, GKWC celebrated with a luncheon “party” and 140 members!
November 1991 brought confirmation from the IRS that GKWC had been granted tax-exempt status as a 501(c) (4) organization. We were now “recognized and understood to be a social welfare group or civic league promoting the common good and general welfare of the people of the community.”
In 1994 the Evening Group was established for individuals who are unable to participate in daytime events. The Evening Group currently has a Vice-President on the Board.
In 1996/1997 GKWC established the Greater Keller Women’s Club Foundation, Inc. with a 501(c) (3) tax status. This allows the Greater Keller Women’s Club to direct its donations through the Foundation with the benefit of tax-free donations to other 501(c) (3) non-profit organizations.
Since 1989, GKWC has become known for its contributions to various community non- profit organizations, such as Community Storehouse, Summer Santa, Scholarships for KISD seniors, KISD Project Graduation, Metroport Meals on Wheels, Christ’s Haven, Keller Library, T.R.A.I.L. Foundation and many more.
Also, GKWC provides parties at the Mimosa Manor Care Center, supplies Christmas baskets to needy families, decorates Christmas trees at the Keller Library, Police Department and Fire Stations, participates in the “Adopt-a-Street” programs, sells tickets at Wild West Days and participates in the library’s Harvest Stew.
Many fundraisers have been held over the years such as bake sales, cookbook sales, craft auctions, Good Guys Rod & Custom Show and the Texas Motor Speedway. In 1996, the GKWC Fashion Show became an annual event.
During 2001-2002, the Club received the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Northeast’s Pat Nimmo Riddle “Club of the Year Award.” At the time of this recognition, the 132 GKWC members had reported 9,057 volunteer hours during the 2001 calendar year.
In 2005-2006 a GKWC member (Frances Cooper) became the honorary recipient of the prestigious JEFERSON AWARDS, locally and nationally.
In 2006-2007 GKWC and the Foundation donated $63,000 to Northeast Tarrant County agencies. Scholarships were also awarded to Keller High School seniors. GKWC members volunteered over 10,129 hours in the community.
In 2007 -2008 GKWC and the Foundation donated $70,500 to area charities and scholarships. Volunteer hours of 12,436 were recorded for that year.
In 2008-2009, GKWC and GKWC Foundation donated $97,000 to area charities and scholarships, and over 12,541 hours were devoted to volunteering in our community.
In 2009-2010, GKWC celebrated its 20th Anniversary and in recognition received proclamations commending GKWC for its years of service from Texas Governor Rick Perry, State Senator Jane Nelson, State Representative District 98, Vicki Truitt, and the City of Keller by Mayor Pat McGrail. The Club was recognized as “The Best Place to Volunteer in Keller for 2009” by the Keller Citizen. To continue raising awareness of GKWC, the Club adopted a professional brochure and a Facebook page. GKWC became a certifying
organization for the U.S. President’ s Volunteer Service Awards. The Footprints Group was created as an avenue for young mothers and grandmothers to teach their children and grandchildren about volunteerism. Membership grew to 243 while volunteering more than15,976 hours to the community. GKWC and the Foundation held its 15th annual Garden of Roses Fashion Show, raising and donating $77,200 to area charities and scholarships for a combined total contribution of approximately $650,000 over the last fifteen years.
In 2010-2011, membership grew to more than 260 while volunteering more than 17,000hours. The Club voted to award Lifetime Membership status to members 75+ years of age and waive their membership dues. The Greater Keller Chamber of Commerce awarded the Club with “Volunteer Organization of the Year.” GKWC and the Foundation raised and donated $86,000 to area charities and scholarships.
In 2011-2012, GKWC and the Foundation awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships and cash grants to Northeast Tarrant County students and charities. 262 members volunteered over 14,500 hours in the community.
2012-2013 was another great year for the Greater Keller Women’s Club: our membership
grew to 253 members, Jean Manuszak was nominated as our Shining Star and the Club once again received the U. S. Presidential Volunteer Service Award. The “Tour of the Quarter” included tours of the Mid-Cities Care Corp., Love Never Fails, Community Storehouse and Advent Urban Youth Development. Our Yellow Rose volunteer recipients included Betsy Thurston, June Aurelio, Mimi Catanzaro and Betty Osburn. Our special events included a trip to the Kimball Museum, Boyd Animal Sanctuary, Casino Night and the Holiday Party. The club helped to volunteer in over 24 events throughout the city and participated in 7 fundraising events, including the GKWC Garden of Roses Fashion Show. This year the GKWC Foundation provided $108,140 to 22 local charities and high school scholarships.
2013-2014 was another exciting year for GKWC, our membership grew to 261 members. Our 2013 Shining Star was Betsy Thurston, celebrated at an October 25 luncheon. We had an opportunity to tour four fabulous facilities; Christ Haven for Children, I Can Still Shine, Community Enrichment Center and Victory Therapy Center. The Yellow Rose was presented to members for going the extra mile, congratulations Caroline Sherman and Dorene Badalamenti. Thirty-Three members received the Presidents Volunteer Service Awards; 4 Gold, 10 Silver and 19 Bronze recipients. There were two New Member Socials to welcome our new members to the Club. The Club was honored with a proclamation from the City of Keller for their service. The Club participated in 26 Community Service Events and 9 Fundraising Events, with the larges event being the Garden of Roses Fashion Show. The GKWC Foundation gave $85,000 to local charities and 12 Keller ISD students. The Gladys Barrett Award was presented to Dottie Johnson.
GKWC membership grew in 2014-2015 to 286 members. The GKWC Shining Star was awarded to Paulette Olson. The tour of the Quarter, organized by Jean Manuszak visited the Victory Therapy Center, Casa of Tarrant County, Metro-Port Meals on Wheels and Neuro-Assistance Foundation. Our Yellow Rose, Volunteer of the Quarter Recipients were Kristie Bohnenkamp, Susan Walker, Lisa Ackerson, Cindy Keen and Betsy Thurston. A celebration was held at the Solana Marriot marking the clubs' 25th anniversary. Thirty-one members were honored with the President's Volunteer Service Award: 2 Gold, 10 Silver and 19 Bronze. Two New Member Socials were held and well attended. The Greater Keller Chamber of Commerce honored GKWC with the Community Outreach Award at their annual awards banquet. Members participated in 29 Community Service Events and several Fundraising Events including the opening of the Movie House and Eatery, TMS and Good Guys. The Garden of Roses Fashion Gala Platinum Celebration, our largest fundraiser of the year, raised a total of $79,000, distributing $43,000 to several non-profits and $36,00 to 12 KISD graduating seniors.
Spirit Nights were held at Fish City Grill, Pickles, DeVivo Brothers Eatery and Oliva’s Italian Eatery.
GKWC membership for 2015-2016 was 273 members. The GKWC Shining Star was awarded to June Aurelio by Paulette Olson. Jean Manuszak was the recipient of the Gladys Barrett Award. The tour of the Quarter, organized by Jean Manuszak visited the Victory Therapy Center, Arts Council Northeast, Metro-Port Meals on Wheels and Neuro-Assistance Foundation. Thirty members were honored with the President's Volunteer Service Award: 5 Gold, 6 Silver and 19 Bronze. Two New Member Socials were held and they were well attended and supported with attendance by board members. Members participated in multiple Community Service Events and several fundraisers. The Garden of Roses “Roses and Pearls Champagne Brunch”, our largest fundraiser of the year, raised a total of $71,000, allowing us to distribute $35,000 to several non-profits and $36,000 to 12 KISD graduating seniors. This year the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs, Pioneer District awarded the GKWC four distinctive First Place Certificates at the TFWC Convention; Fundraising, Leadership, Membership and Scholarship Program. Thank you to all our members for making another great year!
GKWC membership for 2016-2017 was 255 members. The GKWC Shining Star was Beth Murray presented by June Aurelio, and the Gladys Barrett Award was presented to June Aurelio. The tours of the Quarter, organized by Betsy Thurston visited; Community Enrichment Center, Victory Therapy Center and Safe Haven. Our Yellow Rose, Volunteer of the Quarters were; Lyn Patterson, Pat Chisholm, Rita Dixon and Jean Manuszak. Twenty-nine members were honored with the President’s Volunteer Service Award: 2 Gold; 8 Silver and 19 Bronze, these were presented to each member by Senator Kelly Hancock. The GKWC was recognized by the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs, Pioneer District; with four distinctive First Place certificates at the TFWC Convention. The four categories in which we were recognized are: Fundraising, Leadership, Membership and Scholarship Program. The GKWC participated in 21 Community Service Events, including the weekly participation in the Willis Lane Reading Buddies Program and the Keller Middle School Mentoring Program. Fundraising Events included; TMS , Good Guys, Alliance Air Show, Pampered Chef, Fall Craft Show and the Garden of Roses Fashion Show, our largest fundraising event of the year. A total of $75,000.00 was given by the GKWC Foundation to 11 non-profits and 12 KISD graduating seniors.
The GKWC 2017-2018 President was Caroline Sherman and we were at a record high in membership. Our Shining star was Caroline Sherman and was presented by Beth Murray. We held the Garden of Roses Fundraiser at the Bowden Wedding and Event center for the first time in our history. The co-chairs for our very successful Fundraiser were Jennifer Armstrong and Pat Fleming. Our Daytime meetings were organized by Debbie Dodge to include a funny magician (stress reducer), an economic development director, Casa; speaking up for kids in foster care, and a soft surroundings fashion show. Philanthropy tour of the Quarter organized by Jean Manuszek included metro port meals on wheels at Sadie’s in Roanoke, Mid Cities Care Corps, Quest program for Community Storehouse, and Helping Restore Ability’s. Phyllis Briggs received the yellow rose for many hours of volunteering. Our Fundraising was organized by Dorene Badalamenti including first time Sip N Shop, Good Guys Car Show, The Holiday Craft Auction and the Alliance Air Show. Evening Meetings were led by Beth Murray including make and take holiday floral arrangements and a cooking demonstration by the DeVivo brothers. Our Community Service was organized by Phyllis Briggs including, the Community Storehouse Christmas house, cookies to the women’s shelter, gift giving at the Heritage House, serve at the Breakfast with Santa, decorate all the Keller Fire department Christmas trees also Harvest Stew, trash bash, hatch chili run, serve lunch at the senior center for Valentine’s Day and donations were made for the victims of hurricane Harvey through Neuro Assistance. Special events coordinator Sarah Blosch included music under the stars in Fort Worth at the Botanical Gardens, A Texas Rangers Game, and a white elephant type evening with couples at the Rose Room.
The GKWC 2018-2019 President Kimberly Vines led the GKWC in receiving the Nonprofit of the year from the Keller Chamber of Commerce, academy of excellence award! Susan Hilton Jones 1st VP worked tirelessly on the memberships and making each new member welcomed and involved right away. Brenda Shook 2nd VP of programs introduced us to the superintendent of KISD, Dr. Rick Westfall [where do our taxes go]? Brian Bisdorf of Edward Jones [how to out smart the scammers]! Scott Wenger an orthopedic surgeon, a tea party and a Steinmart fashion show [with gkwc models]. Phillis Briggs 3rd VP community service provided many volunteer opportunities to the members such as, monthly sorting at the community storehouse , run in the dark registration, Keller fall festival, breakfast with Santa, trash pick up, tree decorating at the Keller FD’s and PD, the Warm place R2 Remember and community storehouse Christmas house etc... followed by a volunteer thank you happy hour. Michelle Jackson 4th VP evening meetings brought to\\ the GKWC monthly a new and interesting guest; Chico’s fashions, Chef John Croatti “easy but elegant appetizers”, master gardening class, do it yourself holiday centerpieces, and Bakeology DFW to name a few. Kellie Houghton 5th VP of fundraising is the part of our non profit organization that we volunteer for at the Alliance air show, children’s charities, Goodguys hot rod and custom car association, holiday craft auction and Sip-N-Shop, Ming Wang line of Toula and the Garden of Roses, to give back 100% to the community. Our Finances were looked after by Diane Allison. Our Secretary was Monica Smythe. This years GOR was lead by Dorene Badalamenti and Debbie Vinson. The Distribution of funds dinner is a time when the GKWC proudly awards Grants to several chosen applicants, 15 this year. Scholarships are awarded to deserving KISD students. This was the first year for the Linda Bowden Scholarship to be awarded. Presidential service awards consisted of 12 Bronze, 14 Silver, 6 Gold and the lifetime achievement awards go to Jennifer Armstrong, Paulette Olson, Sheryl Roberts and Doreen Badalamenti. The tour of the quarter led by Debbie Dodge were to the Neuro Assistance Foundation, Evergreen, and Stepping Stones. Special Events hosted by Beth Murray included a trip to the Kimbell Art Museum for the Balencia in Black and a trip to Waco Texas visiting Magnolia and more. The Glady’s Barrett award went to Jennifer Armstrong. The Shining Star went to Brenda Shook.
2021-2022 Executive Board
Left to Right - Marty Goble (Treasurer), Susan Hilton Jones (Secretary), Patti Stone (Fundraising), Brenda Shook (Evening Meetings), Sharon Leonard (Community Service, Ashley Stone Hernandez (Programs), Tonya Gross (Membership) and Kimberley Vines (President)