Branch History

Since its first meeting in 1881, AAUW has been a catalyst for change. Today, with more than 100,000 members, 1,000 branches, and 500 college and university partners, AAUW contributes to a more promising future and provides a powerful voice for women and girls—a voice that cannot and will not be ignored.

The Atlanta Branch AAUW celebrated its 100th anniversary on March 5, 2005. Our branch was organized as a unit of the Southern Association of College Women (SACW), which had been founded at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in July 1903. The Atlanta Branch organizers had been unsuccessful at becoming a branch of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae (ACA), which had been founded in 1881. In 1921, ACA and SACW were united, the name was changed to American Association of University Women, and Atlanta became a member of the new Association.

From the beginning, the work of the Branch has centered on projects promoting either social welfare or education. In addition to regular contributions to the Educational Foundation, the Legal Advocacy Fund, and funding of local scholarships, the following are selected accomplishments of the Atlanta Branch:

1910         Presented a paper on child labor that attracted attention throughout the South

1943–44    Petitioned the General Council of Atlanta to increase the appropriation for more or larger playgrounds staffed with trained personnel.

1946         Held an all-day Health Conference at the Biltmore Hotel. Members of the State Department of Health were the speakers, reporting their services and stating future plans and aims.

1948–49    Sponsored a forum on civil rights.

1953–54    Monitored radio programs for content and quality and evaluated their findings.

1954–55    Offered study groups. The International Relations group met monthly with the United Nations Forum. The committees on Education, Legislation, International Affairs, and Social Studies sponsored workshops and exhibits for nursery school operators.

1955–56    Sponsored the second workshop for nursery school and kindergarten teachers and administrators.

1960         Began Bookfair as fund raising activity.

1963–71    Produced nine annual community conferences, ranging from “Dropouts—Social Dynamite” to “The Law and the Citizen.”

1969–70    Served as the catalyst for the formation of a consortium “Georgians for Quality Education.” Hearings were held to set educational priorities; four committees were chaired by AAUW members.

1972         Gave $2,500 to Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and set up a local pilot project of the national effort.

1976         Researched, wrote and published Georgia Women: A Celebration. The book was distributed to schools and libraries statewide.

1978         Founded Educational Information and Referral Service, Inc. to provide assessment, educational information and educational referral services for individuals.

1980         Hosted two African educators, part of an exchange group through the Association.

1983–84    Worked closely with other women’s organizations in the “Women’s Vote Project.” Fostered the beginning of the Women’s Advocacy Network, a coalition which addressed statewide social issues.

1990–91    Brought the American Fellowships Endowment for the Southeast to stipend-bearing status. It was created by designated contributions of over $100,000 to the Educational Foundation.

1994         Co-sponsored workshops “Shortchanging Girls, Shortchanging America: A Call to Action in Georgia”. Met requirements for Association designation as a Five Star Branch.

1996         Sponsored Political Candidate Forum, which was televised on Atlanta cable TV. This event helped educate the community on the issues facing voters in the November election.

1998         Brought our own Research and Projects Endowment, originally established in 1973, up to $35,000, to meet increased current Educational Foundation guidelines.

1999         Held our first Sister-to-Sister Summit at the Georgia Institute of Technology for 47 middle-grades girls.

2002         Held our first Woman-to-Woman Summit, a public forum on eldercare, childcare, health care, and social security, at The Loudermilk Center.

2003         Presented an Educational Forum entitled “Religion and Women: Impact of Fundamentalist Factions in the Abrahamic Religions,” at the Carter Center.

2004         Presented an Educational Forum entitled, “Public Education: Does Education Have a Fourth R?” which was open to the public and recorded at the GPTV studios.

2005         Celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the AAUW Atlanta Branch, with a day-long series of events held at the Atlanta History Center.

2006–07    Held a Legislative Program in partnership with National Coalition of 100 Black Women.

2009         AAUW Atlanta Book Fair celebrated its fiftieth anniversary.

2011         Georgia State University established a Student Affiliate Group with the support of the Atlanta Branch.

2012          Initiated signature project Cool Scholars.