Advancing the status of women through financial support in the final phase of their doctoral programs.

Fellowship Program

Established 1948


To advance the Soroptimist mission by awarding

 grants to outstanding women in the final phase of

 their doctoral degree program from an accredited

 institution of higher learning in Founder Region. 

Established in 1948, the Fellowship Program is Founder Region's Identifying Project.

Most service organizations have Identifying Projects that help the organization realize its mission. From Soroptimist International down to the club level, one will find many innovative, heartwarming, and challenging projects to fulfill the Soroptimist mission.

Founder Region is one of 28 regions of Soroptimist International of the Americas (SIA) with territory encompassing:
  • 10 Northern California Counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Solano, Sonoma 
  • The State of Hawaii
  • The U.S. Territories of Guam & the Northern Mariana Islands
  • The Republic of Palau

Founder Region is so named because the first Soroptimist club met  and was chartered in Oakland, California in 1921 when the first club, Soroptimist Association of Alameda County (now known as Soroptimist International of Oakland- The Founder Club) was formed.  The Constitution of that first club stated the purpose of Soroptimist was "To foster the spirit of service..."  That purpose and "spirit of service" drives every Soroptimist club, district, region, and federation to this day.

Improving the lives of women and girls locally and globally by giving fellowships

 to women who will truly make a difference in the world. 

Empowering Women through Education!

Soroptimist Mission:

Soroptimist is a global volunteer organization that provides women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment.


The name Soroptimist was coined from the Latin word soror meaning sister, and optima meaning best. Soroptimist is perhaps best interpreted as ‘the best for women’. From the founding of the first Soroptimist club in Oakland, California, in 1921, through to the present day where clubs are flourishing in 122 countries throughout the world, Soroptimists have continued to strive to achieve ‘the best for women’ in every sphere of their lives. Soroptimists seek to become an active influence for positive change in society through Awareness, Advocacy, and Action.

Soroptimist International Mission:
  • Soroptimists transform the lives and status of women and girls through education, empowerment and enabling opportunities.
  • Soroptimists work to promote social justice and equity and the empowerment of women through economic independence and greater participation in decision making at all levels.

You CAN Make a Difference!

Your donation supports Founder Region Fellowship’s mission of advancing the status of women through financial support in the final phase of their doctoral programs.

Fellowship recognizes the value of empowering highly motivated women engaged in academic research in fields including science, technology, education, the environment, women’s issues and international relations.

Read about the Dorothy Sarnes Memorial Fund.