Altrusa is an International volunteer service organization of people dedicated to improving their communities by personal service.  Through their local Altrusa Clubs, members unite their varied talents in service to others, achieving as a group what individuals cannot do alone.


Altrusa is the pioneer of women's service clubs.  The first Altrusa was organized in Nashville, Tennessee in April 1917 and became International in 1935.  There are 14 districts, plus a Club-At-Large in Altrusa International, with membership in 19 countries.


Nationally, Altrusa membership has included people as well known as Eleanor Roosevelt.  Barbara Bush is an honorary member.






Altrusa International Club of San Diego was organized on February 27, 1929 and chartered in March, 1930.  It was the first classified service club organized for women in San Diego, and the first in California.  The club is part of District Eleven, whic has 21 clubs in Caliornia and Arizona.  The San Diego Club takes pride in a membership, which has made several contributions to San Diego's history and deveopment.  The honor roll includes:  Charter Member Belle Benchley, former director of the San Diego Zoo; Pauline des Grange, former Director of San Diego Parks and Recreation; Madge Bradley, the first woman judge in San Diego; Gertrude Bell, former head of the Department of Psychology at State College and Letha Brown, former President of Altrusa International, Inc.  Jane Minshall, former member of the club was San Diego's first female landscape architect.



The Principles of Altrusa


  1. Altrusa is a builder of women.

  2. Altrusa is an expression of the search for the best in character, in business, and in citizenship.

  3. Election to Altrusa is an evidence of confidence which imposes upon the recipient the obligation to strive to be true to the

      highest standards of life  in her personal and business relations.

  4. Altrusa, in the very derivation of its name, is committed to the philosophy of unselfishness, the joy of giving rather than

      getting, and to the search for that happiness which is based upon spiritual worthiness.

  5. Altrusa is practical idealism.  Its service consists, not in saying great things, but in daily earnest practice of its principles.

  6. Altrusa commends to its members an active interest in public affairs, realizing that the State is but the individual writ large.

  7. Altrusa develops true leadership, concerned with accomplishment and not with recognition.

  8  Membership carries with it no obligation to transact business with other members.  It makes no promise of returns in any

       commercial species.  It's rewards are in proportion to the loyalty, unselfishness and character of the member herself.

  9.  Altrusa expressses good will for all mankind.  It emphasizes the good and lets the evil sink into the oblivion it merits.

10.  Altrusa is deocratic, it knows no class, no favorites, but is founded upon merit alone.

11.  Altrusa believes that the way to progress lies not in emphasizing the  faults of men and their failure to give proper recognition,

       at times, to women in business, but rather in arousing women to their responsibilities and their possibilities so that their   

       accomplishments will blaze the trail for greater things.

12.  Altrusa believes it is not enough to be good; Altrusans must be good for something.  Each member must be doing the

       piece of work that is hers in a way that puts her in the front ranks of accomplishment.


       MAMIE L. BASS, 1921



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