Who We Are
The Zonta Club of Billings is comprised of women and men dedicated to the advancement of women through education, economic stability, legal and legislative equality, health and wellness, both locally and worldwide.
The Zonta Club of Billings provides service to the community through domestic violence awareness, grants for community agencies, scholarships for students and volunteer labor for local non-profit organizations.
Zonta International is a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.
Zonta International envisions a world in which women's rights are recognized as human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential.
In such a world, women have access to all resources and are represented in decision making positions on an equal basis with men.
In such a world, no woman lives in fear of violence.
Zonta Club of Billings, Montana (ZCB) was chartered in 1950, with an initial membership of 14 members. (Broader history about the early days of the club were lost to a flood.)
Since our inception, ZCB has grown steadily in membership and service programs. From an originating membership of 14, the club grew to 59 members in the late 80’s early 90’s, and currently has a membership of 48. Service Programs have reflected that growth and the changing needs of our community.
The earlier years reflected the educational needs of women and a changing demographic through the following programs:
Zontians taught “Self Improvement” classes for working women: night classes for Spanish-speaking immigrants to help them become citizens; and driver training classes and administration of written exams. (1950’s)
Conducted a “Career Conference” held on the Montana State University campus for high school girls. (1960’s)
Responded to specific educational financial needs of non-traditional women students to complete the final year of study. This evolved into creating a yearly scholarship for a women students in a new Aeronautics degree program at one local college and creation of a book scholarship for women students at another. (late 1980’s, early 1990’s)
Initiated the Women’s Studies Program at Montana State University; a $30,000, 2 year program that continues today, now funded by the University. (1980’s)
Sponsored three Z Clubs at Billings’ high schools. (1980’s)
Funded “Growth Through Art” program. Financed the Executive Director’s position and all expenses associated with running the program, which provided art classes for developmentally disabled adults. This program also introduced the first Billings St. Patrick’s Day Parade as an awareness fundraiser for other non-profits. Funding is now provided by the State of Montana. (1980’s)
Donated professional experiential teaching in the YWCA Job Club for women which focused on career exploration, job readiness and targeting training and job opportunities (2013 ongoing)
Awarding local scholarships for Young Women in Public Affairs and the Jane Klausman Women in Business Zonta International Scholarship has been a consistent commitment by our club over the years, to which we have added; book scholarships to Montana State University; scholarships for girls to attend the Audubon Conservation Education Center program; scholarship to a woman in the aviation program at Rocky Mountain College; and award funding for the “Best Woman Writer” for the High Plains Book Fest.
In 2004, ZCB started on their journey into learning about and acting toward ending violence against women in our community, which also became a major program of Zonta International, known as “Zonta Says No to Violence”. We committed to a three-year program to educate our club about domestic violence, create a community promotion and presentation for other community service organizations, and conduct a year of community presentations. Out of this effort we developed: the Blanket Program, which provides comfort blankets for all police cars, to be given to women involved in domestic violence calls; the SANE Program at a local hospital for women funding rape exams; an Art Project at Angela’s Piazza giving women of domestic violence a creative outlet to alleviate anxiety and stress.
Just to name a few…..
The club has responded in many other ways that address the needs of women and girls as they reach for safety, knowledge, and growth.
ZCB has hosted Area1 meetings and District meetings as scheduled. We have had many members who have served at higher levels of Zonta International: Agnes Havig was District “Status of Women”, Chair in 1988 and also served on the International “Status of Women” committee for 2 years in the late 80’s. More recently in 2004 Lynn Eggebrecht served as District Public Relations Chair and Stephanie Seymanski served as District Scholarships and Awards Chair. In 2012, Renee Coppock served as Lt. Governor for District 12 and Ann Hefenieder served on District Advocacy Committee.
Our Board & Members
Kristi Foss & Nancy Rice
Anne-marie Wade & Julia Leslie
Connie Camino & Ann Hefenieder
Deb Willis & Jan Pursell
Janet Rivera & Precious McKenzie