History in Brief


The Zonta Club of the Southern Black Hills is based in Custer, SD. The Club was chartered in May, 1995. Zonta Club of the Black Hills (based in Rapid City, SD) was the sponsoring club.

Initial officers of the club were:

President : Ramona Flaig
Vice President : Dorothy Delicate
Secretary : Alice Anderson
Treasurer : Carol Zebrowski
Director : Gail Trask
Director : Kristy Schmitz

The Charter banquet was held at Blue Bell Lodge in Custer State Park in October, 1995.


The Zonta Club of the Southern Black Hills later on sponsored the Gillette Zonta Club during their formation.


Initial Service Projects of the club included:
WIT (Women in Transition) a clothing exchange for women transitioning to careers and in need of professional clothing
Prom Bomb; an exchange of gently used prom wear for students
Service Breakfasts-during Gold Discovery Days, in conjunction with other Custer Service Clubs.

The Club also started their fund raiser project, which is a business directory for the local area. The directory includes a monthly desk calendar; an alphabetical listing of all local business, and advertising in the form of local business cards. Corporate sponsors pay for larger ads; the funds received from the Corporate sponsors pay for the printing of the calendar/directory. All ad proceeds are deemed “service dollars” and are donated. The Club maintains yearly the Zonta criteria of one-third to International and two thirds local contributions. An annual check is sent to Zonta International, divided among several funds, which are voted on by the membership.

The local funds are distributed to a variety of local entities, with the focus on women’s projects. As a small community, we are also aware that helping a family is helping women, therefore contributions are also made to school-related activities as well as one-time requests.

The list of recipient groups includes: WEAVE (Women Escaping a Violent Environment); YMCA (for girls’ scholarships to enable them to participate in the Y programs); Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Custer County Library (books for girls); Girls in Science; D.A.R.E.; YMCA girls babysitting classes; Middle School Lunch Program; Backpack Meal program.

In 2000 an amount of $5000 was donated to the Custer storehouse. This was a new endeavor started in Custer to house both the Food Pantry, and to provide an exchange for household goods and clothing to anyone in need. A building was purchased and Zonta was pleased to use reserve funds to assist in this community start-up.


Meetings during the first years were held at the Bavarian Restaurant, and the Skyway Restaurant. Later the Club found its home at the Custer Senior Center where meetings are presently held at noon on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. The first meeting of the month is a general business meeting preceded by the Board Meeting. The second meeting of the month is generally a program meeting. Many interesting programs of interest to women, including updates on service fund uses, financial planning, and health and wellness programs, have been presented during the years.


The Club hosted their first Area Meeting in April, 1996, at Crazy Horse Memorial.

In 2004 an Area 1 Annual Meeting was hosted at Crazy Horse Memorial. The President that year was Rose Wendell; speaker was Tammy Beach.

In 2008 the Club again hosted an Annual Meeting at Crazy Horse Memorial President that year was Sherry Raffaell ; speaker was Cherry Luitjens.


In 2000, Kristy Schmitz served as an Area Committee Chair for the Service Committee.