Women's Opportunity Award

A cash grant given annually to a woman who is head of household seeking to improve her economic status by gaining the additional skills, training and education she needs to improve her employment status. Recipients , many of whom have overcome enormous obstacles including poverty, domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse, may use the award to offset any costs associated with her efforts to attain higher education such as tuition, books, childcare and transportation.

Women's Opportunity Award Winner


Named for the president of the first Soroptimist club, the Violet Richardson Award honors girls ages 14-17 who are making a difference through volunteer service by donating their time and energy to causes that make the community and the world a better place.


The Ruby Award acknowledges women who are working to improve the lives of women and girls

Violet Richardson Award Winners

through their personal or professional activities. Their efforts help to promote the issues that are important to the Soroptimist organization. Examples of the type of work honored include spearheading an effort to open a domestic violence shelter, working to secure health service for low-income women and starting a mentoring program for at-risk girls.


The Founders Pennies tradition began during World War II as the "Madame Noel Fund," which collected one penny for each year of Soroptimist's existence. The money collected was then used to help re-establish clubs in Europe that had disbanded due to the war. After the war, the fund was renamed the "Founders Fund" and donations were used to provide international fellowships and scholarships toward improving the status of women. The "Founders Fund" became a part of The Soroptimist Foundation when it was established in 1958. Founders Pennies help subsidize such vital Soroptimist projects as the Making a Difference for Women Award, Violet Richardson Award, Women's Opportunity Awards, and other Soroptimist projects.

Ruby Award Winner