Celebrating Over 100 Years of Service
A HISTORY OF PHILOMATHEON CLUB
Philomatheon Club began in 1918 when a group of 10 girls formed a social club, with Emma VanSant and Bell Norcross as sponsors. With a goal of self-improvement, the members met bi-monthly and created themed programs that provided entertainment as well as enrichment. Members composed their own skits, songs, and poetry to address topics from fashion to women’s roles outside the home to supporting war efforts.
Channeling their efforts toward philanthropic matters, the girls pooled their allowances and presented their first Christmas food basket in 1918. They undertook a beautification project which became the current Westside Park. The club officially became a 501(c)3 in 1919. To support their many service projects, members have engaged the community in a number of fund-raisers. In 1924 the club held its first charity ball to raise money to help four large families. The Style Show, involving local merchants and community members, became a much-anticipated event from 1947 to 1982. The Holiday Mart offered an opportunity for Christmas shopping. The Spring Home Tour featured decorating ideas in fashionable Loveland homes.
One hundred years later, Philo members are still committed to the goals of friendship and service on which it was founded. Many ongoing service projects have roots in the past while adapting to the needs and conditions of the present.
"The Grandest Girls I Know"
Pink & Lavender
The Christmas Food Basket program has evolved from that first basket in 1918 to now including a Canned Food Drive at local school sites and a Dine Out With Heart (DOWH) fund-raising activity with local restaurants. Philo members collect boxes of donated canned food to be sorted by their members working with school students in a participating church. Philo members then organize food baskets that they personally deliver to residents recommended by a civic/social organization. The food baskets also include grocery gift cards acquired through DOWH funds raised with participating restaurants and community. Extra canned food and DOWH grants are also given to other non-profits that focus on alleviation of hunger in the community.
The Integrated Early Childhood program began in 1937, providing resources and support to the children and staff in the Thompson R2-J School District. Each year the committee provides kits of school supplies for students’ home use. Members create dress-up costumes and story boards for classroom use. At the Philo Christmas party, books and underwear are collected to donate to the Early Childhood Program.
Philo has supported education in various forms throughout the years. In 1971 Philo began offering Scholarships for Vocational and Technical Education to residents of Loveland and Berthoud. These monetary scholarships are awarded on the basis of need, career goals, and strong motivation to complete such occupational training. Since 2006 proceeds from Philo’s Women’s Amateur Golf Tournament have provided support for scholarships to graduating students and post-high school residents of the Loveland and Berthoud community.
Philo members have sponsored Blood Drives since 1973. In the past, members would schedule appointments, type records, and greet donors. With today’s technology, Philo’s role has shifted to greeting donors and providing refreshments.
From the beginning, Philo has been committed to supporting families in need. Alternatives to Violence provides shelter, advocacy, education and resources for people impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. In 1988 Philo adopted an apartment in the Alternatives to Violence shelter for women or men. Since then, members have cleaned the apartment between tenants, furnished household goods, and donated personal items for ATV tenants. Philo has participated in Pastels on 5th as a fund-raiser to support ATV programs. Philo’s 100th Anniversary Gala raised a total of $48,152.23 to support the ATV Safehouse.
While Philo members give many hours of service to the community, they remember that the first word in Philo’s motto is “Friendship.” Each meeting begins with a social time to enjoy refreshments, catch up with friends, and make new acquaintances. While some traditions such as the September Breakfast and the Mother’s Party have not survived as Philo adapted to the times, others are still honored today. In October, new members introduce themselves in a New Member Skit. The Holiday Party brings together Active and Honorary (over 15 years of service) members for food and fellowship. The Spring Appreciation Social celebrates the completion of a successful year and kicks off a new year with the initiation of new members and the installation of new officers. The themes for these events range from a 50’s dance party to an elegant formal dinner. In addition to regular meetings and social events, Philo members may choose to meet in a Book Club or a Bunco Club.
Philo members have a strong bond of friendship. Over 750 women have been initiated as Philo members over the last 100 years. Some have contributed a year or two of service, and others have become life-long members. A current member with 60 years of service still attends every meeting. The women of Philo are more than a group of volunteers, they are a sisterhood, providing community service to Loveland and Berthoud.