Woman’s Club of Vista celebrates 102 years of service

Woman’s Club of Vista celebrates 102 years of service
The Woman’s Club of Vista installed its new executive board, front row, from left, Parliamentarian Lori Sanna, President Judy Pantazo, Vice President Dean Karen Keusseyan, and back row, from left, Second Vice President–Membership Kay Silverman, Director 3 year Ruth Schneider, Director 2 year Karen Rott, Public Relations chairwoman Fran Jensen, Finance Chairwoman Jan Winters, co-Fourth Vice President-Ways and Means Anita Hutchins, Recording Secretary Nancy Ellis, co-Fourth Vice President-Ways and Means Tonya Brynie, Treasurer Nancy B Jones and Third Vice President-Programs Emily Kjellson. Not shown, Corresponding Secretary Carolyn Chiriboga and Director 1 year Amy Fogo. Courtesy photo

Since opening its doors in 1916, The Woman’s Club of Vista has continued to foster a philanthropic environment. While club members vary in age and background, they share a common core value of delivering support in a variety of ways.

According to Judy Pantazo, the president of The Woman’s Club of Vista, the group’s motto is “Enriching lives through philanthropy and volunteer service.”

Pantazo said the philanthropy portion of the club is aimed at donating 5 percent of its net profits directly to nonprofit organizations.

“Each member has the option to choose a local nonprofit of their choice to donate a certain amount of the club’s allotted amount,” she said. “The remaining amount is divided up by a committee of the membership. The funds are then awarded to the respective organization at an annual ‘Donation Day’ Luncheon in May.”

Pantazo said members also financially support local nonprofits in North County such as Operation Hope, Heifer International, the Women Resource Center and Garden of Innocence.

On the volunteer service front, club members commit to volunteering at a local nonprofit in a variety of ways.

“This could be simply knitting a baby blanket for the Vista Community Clinic’s prenatal program for our Cuddle’s of Love project, collecting gently used children’s books for our MARVELous World of Book’s project where we collect books for the school libraries that are desperate for books, or picking up trash around Vista with the Only Losers Litter campaign,” Pantazo said.

Another nonprofit the group helps fund is Penny for Pines, which aims to replenish a national forest with pine trees.

In 2017, Pantazo said, club members volunteered 12,000 hours to the community and funded $31,500 to San Diego based nonprofits — an impressive feat for a club with 45 members ranging from 26 to 90 years old. 

Club dues are $40 a year and volunteering opportunities are rich with possibility.

“We currently have about 17 projects actively going on in the club at this time, so almost anyone can find something they like, and if not, I am famous for starting something for them,” she said.

Pantazo joined the club five years ago. Over this time, she said she has noticed a significant shift with more younger women also becoming members. One reason for this is that the organization implemented less than a year ago a branch called NIGHT OWLS, so that professional women would have the opportunity to attend meetings later in the day.

“NIGHT OWLS meet the first Wednesday evening of the month at a different restaurant each month until they find a home. So far this has been very successful,” Pantazo said. “Our NIGHT OWLS section is very new, and a lot of people do not know we have this yet — so I would like to invite anyone who would like to become a member of the Woman’s Club that cannot make it to a day meeting to consider coming to a NIGHT OWL meeting.”

Fran Jensen, who serves as publicity chair for The Woman’s Club of Vista, said it has been a been a joy to meet women who want to serve and to better the community in which they live.

“We have women from all walks of life, from retired to employees in banks, government agencies, business companies and self-employed companies,” said Jensen, adding that with more than 20 nonprofits it supports there is a broad interest for the club’s members to help.

Jensen said these local nonprofits help children, youth, women, men, families, veterans and seniors with education, shelter, clothing, food and job training.

Pantazo said she knew from the minute she walked into her first meeting at The Woman’s Club of Vista she would get hooked. 

“Everyone was so welcoming, and I loved all the ways they were giving back to the community,” she said. “I don’t have a lot of money myself, but I saw ways that I could be of service in spite of that, and it made me feel good. I could see that it was truly a service group that cared not only about what it did but also about its members.”

For more information about The Woman’s Club of Vista, visit www.womansclubofvista.org or call (919) 847-2786.

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