Continental Societies, Inc., a non-profit, tax-exempt, international public service organization, was founded as a national organization in 1956 by a group of energetic and dedicated service-oriented women. These women structured an organization to foster, promote and develop the welfare of underprivileged children and youth.
Four groups formed the nucleus of the Continental Societies when women from Baltimore, Maryland; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Newport News, Virginia; and Washington, D.C. met at Colton, Maryland, in June 1956. This gathering of members from the four chapters constituted the first official Conclave of Continental Societies. It was during this first official Conclave of the “Continental Societies” that the Continental women gathered and pledged to continue to work for underprivileged and disadvantaged children and youth…. giving services and assistance, which commenced in 1952 while affiliated with a group founded by Marie Poston of New York City, named the Continental Society for the Children of the Virgin Islands.
Committed to giving their time and efforts for the benefit of children and youth, Continental women promoted and sponsored programs and projects in each chapter’s locale. At annual summer meetings, designated as The Continental Conclave, the women, organized as local chapters, exchanged ideas and renewed pledges of untiring support to children and youth.
As determined efforts of these women increased, their work became known and groups of women in other cities across the United States joined them. In June 1959, the Chapters decided to unite in giving a combined annual financial gift to a selected charity for children and youth in the locale of the hostess chapter for the Annual Continental Conclave.
In 1962, as more chapters were added, it was proposed that a Central Advisory Committee be established as a governing body. Under this committee, expansion of membership increased, and the group stretched hands across the sea and welcomed a group of young, vibrant women of Bermuda into the sisterhood.
The Continental Societies quickly became a visible and viable organization of concerned women and it was inevitable that in November 1972, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Continental Societies became nationally incorporated.
Continental Societies, Inc. embraces 43 chapters in 21 states in the Continental USA, District of Columbia and Bermuda and is continuing to grow. Through our Five-Point Programmatic Thrust: Health, Education, Employment, Recreation (H.E.E.R.), plus Arts and Humanities programs, Continental women nationally internationally strive to adhere to the humanitarian precept of sharing with those in need.
Nationally, regionally and locally, Continentals have created innovative activities while they volunteer their time through outreach programs in youth centers, schools, pediatric wards, homes for the underprivileged and disadvantaged youth. All programs and projects are financed by member donations, annual benefits, grants and corporate donations.
Continental Societies, Inc. serves over a quarter of a million children and youth annually.