History of District 12

The Growth of District 12

[probably written in the 1960’s by the District 12 Historian of that time, Mary Rausch]

It was our second GOVERNOR, BARBARA CROSS (1954-56), who realized that a district only 2 or 4 years old was, like other pioneers, too busy MAKING history to take time to write it. It was Governor Barbara who kept our first permanent record, the District Scrapbook.

At the 1964 District Conference in Billings, the recommendation to have a written history was reactivated.

The early history of Zonta in the Rocky Mountain region was closely interwoven with the history of the DENVER CLUB. As you all may know, the Confederation of Zonta Clubs was organized in 1919, with 9 charter clubs – 7 of them in the state of New York. Eventually it grew to Zonta Clubs, Incorporated, and to Zonta International when Zonta chartered a club in TORONTO, CANADA in 1927.

This same year Lindbergh made his non-stop flight across the Atlantic. No, AMELIA EARHART did not join the Zonta Club of Boston until the next year.

For the first two years of its existence, the Zonta Club of Denver was included in District E of the Confederation – the 4 other clubs in this District being in Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas and Honolulu. Denver’s nearest neighbors were the club in Chicago and St. Louis – in another district.

Never to be daunted in the West, Zonta’s progress continued. After Zonta International was incorporated and throughout the Depression Years, the minutes of the Denver Club show frequent assessments for organization, with Colorado Springs, Salt Lake City and Kansas City – the new clubs Denver most desired. Largely though [sic] their efforts the Kansas City Club was chartered in 1937 with Salt Lake following in 1939.

In 1940 DENVER entertained the 20th Annual Zonta International Convention in Estes Park – and the eastern clubs began to see for themselves the need for more clubs in the Rocky Mountain Area. A re-districting has been accomplished and Denver was now in District VII along with Kansas City, Minneapolis and St. Louis. Wyoming was assigned to this new district as a “Field of Endeavor.”

Talk about travel time: Delegates from Kansas City traveled 650 miles. Delegates from St. Louis traveled 800 miles ; Des Moines, 800 miles; St. Paul and Minnesota, 1,000 miles; and Duluth sent a delegate 1300 miles.

What a district! There, in solitary splendor, sat poor Denver – chartered 21 years before in 1927, alone in her mountains. If ever a club had a valid excuse for becoming a rugged individualist, that club would have been Denver. The Denver Club again entertained the 20th [sic 28th?] Annual Zonta International Convention in 1948.

District VII became too unwieldy because of the great distances and isolation. At the Houston Convention in 1951 the famous “cutting of the herd” took place and District XII when 11 clubs emerged as a separate entity.

Well, District XII’s record of achievements is most enlightening. For example, the Glendive Club held a money raiser called “Little Z” – a calf purchased by the club “which ate its way to a top price in the sales ring in a pasture belonging to one of the Zontians.” We do have a unique imagination!

We’ve come a long way, Zontians. Now we are known as District 12 of Zonta International and our active states are Colorado, Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming. As our new Governor stated, “Let’s be proud of Zonta. Have fun in all that we do, as it is a great honor and privilege to be a member of Zonta International.”

Zonta International

November 8, 2009 marked the 90th anniversary of Zonta International

Zonta International is a worldwide service organization of executives in business and the professions working together to advance the status of women.

Founded in 1919 in Buffalo, New York, USA, Zonta takes its name from the Lakota Sioux Indian word meaning “honest and trustworthy.” Zontians volunteer their time, talents and energy to local and international service projects to advance the status of women.

Since 1923, Zonta has provided more than US$11 million to projects benefiting more than 2 million women in 37 countries.

Zonta is committed to women’s development. Between 1986-90, Zonta worked with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) supporting sustainable, self-help projects for women in ten developing nations. This successful partnership continued in 1990-92 with projects in Egypt, India, and Toga.

Zonta has consultative status with international agencies: Category I Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); Consultative Status with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF); the International Labor Organization (ILO); and the Council of Europe. Zonta also maintains representatives at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; New York, USA; Paris, France; and Vienna, Austria.

History of Zonta International Service Projects

For details, see the Zonta International site.

  • 2010-2012 Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Gender-Based Violence in Rwanda with UNICEF; Safe Cities for Women in Guatemala City, Guatemala and San Salvador, El Salvador with UN Women; Towards Elimination of Obstetric Fistula and the Reduction of Maternal and Newborn Mortality and Morbidity in Liberia with UNFPA.
  • 2008-2010 Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in Rwanda; Safe Cities for Women Project in Guatemala City, Guatemala and San Salvador, El Salvador; Reduction of Obstetric Fistula in Liberia.
  • 2006-2008 Poverty and HIV/AIDS in Niger; Education and Health in Afganistan and Bolivia; Economic Self-Sufficiency in Sri Lanka.
  • 2004-2006 CARE International: Mata Masu Dubara Women on the Move MicroCredit and Health Education for HIV/AIDS-Affected Women in Niger STAR NETWORK Anti-trafficking Project in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Phase II AFGHANISTAN: Improving Womens Lives and Afghanistan Institute of Learning (UNICEF)
  • 2002-2004 Reinventing India: Preventing Violence Against Women and Children Phase II (UNIFEM) STAR Network of World Learning: The Bosnia-Herzegovina Anti-Trafficking Community Mobilization Project Afghanistan: Improving Womens Lives
  • 2000-2002 Prevention of Female Genital Circumcision in Burkina Faso (UNICEF) Eliminating Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus in Nepal (UNICEF) Reinventing India: Preventing Violence Against Women and Children (UNIFEM)
  • 1998-2000 Prevention of Female Genital Circumcision in Burkina Faso
  • 1996-1998 Education of the girl child in South Africa (UNICEF) and Zonta Internatioal Strategies to Eradicate Violence Against Women and Children (worldwide)
  • 1986-1996 Women’s development projects in Argentina, Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Comoros Islands, Egypt, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Togo, Uruguay and Zimbabwe (UNIFEM, UNICEF, INSTRAW, UNESCO)
  • 1982-1986 The Well Water Project in Sri Lanka provided safe drinking water to 350,000 Dry Zone Area settlers (UNICEF)
  • 1976-1982 Health and education centers in Colombia (UNICEF)
  • 1974-1976 Pan African Training & Research Center (UNICEF)
  • 1972-1974 Mobile medical units for rural Ghana (UNICEF)
  • 1962-1974 United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA), Women’s Vocational and Teacher Training Centre in Jordan
  • 1959-1961 Anne Frank Village to aid refugee families in the Federal Republic of Germany with UN
  • 1956-1961 Aid for refugees in Europe
Membership Statistics

More than 1,200 Zonta Clubs in 67 countries with over 31,000 members


Important District 12 and International Dates

From the District 12 Conference in Lamar Colorado 2004