Members of the Madison Heights Women’s Club gathered for this group photo in 2019. The club is marking its  45th year of service and continues to champion many causes in the community.

Members of the Madison Heights Women’s Club gathered for this group photo in 2019. The club is marking its 45th year of service and continues to champion many causes in the community.

Photo provided by Laurie Geralds

Madison Heights Women’s Club marks 45 years of service

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published September 21, 2022


MADISON HEIGHTS — The Madison Heights Women’s Club has cemented a reputation for itself as one of the most effective groups of do-gooders in the city. Each year, they clock an enormous number of hours with their volunteer work, and raise equally impressive sums of money and in-kind donations for all kinds of projects.

The group — part of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, or GFWC — is now marking a major milestone: 45 years of community service. And it shows no signs of slowing down.

The public is invited to join the club’s 45th anniversary celebration from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 27 at The Gazebo Banquet Hall, 31104 Mound Road in Warren. The cost is $38. Those who wish to attend can email

“If there is one thing I want people to know, it is that our members are generous, compassionate and want to serve,” said Karen Barnes, club president, via email. “Collectively, we are able to make an impact in our local community, in our state, and on an international level.”

The club first formed in the fall of 1977. It was originally called the GFWC Madison Heights Intermediate Women’s Club. The word “intermediate” was used because many of its charter members felt they were both too old for the Junior Women’s Club, and too young for the Senior Women’s Club.

Today, eight of the original charter members are still living. The group has had 15 presidents over its 45 years. At its peak membership, just before COVID, the club had 92 members. Today, it is down to 74 members, from Madison Heights and 18 other communities.

“We are known across the state as a ‘family’ club because of the connection we have with our club sisters,” said past club president Laurie Geralds, in an email. “In a time of declining volunteerism and the disbanding of volunteer organizations, we are thriving. We believe that being a member of this club helps you live longer.”

Just last year, the group reported 101 projects and activities, more than 4,102 volunteer hours, and $6,543 donated and spent, along with $835 raised, and an additional $5,378 donated in-kind — all in a pandemic year, when fundraising events were tough to arrange.

The club recently collected donations for the people of Ukraine, including $750 in financial donations and more than $920 in-kind. The group has also maintained a presence at local events for Memorial Day and 9/11, provided refreshments at the city’s February Coffee Concerts for donations, collected items for Common Ground helping survivors of human trafficking, and for the second year in a row has collected items for the Michigan State Police Women’s project “Purses with a Purpose,” which will be donated to Haven in Oakland County and Turning Point in Macomb County, to help survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The club has also collected more than 2,600 diapers through its “No Child Wet Behind” diaper drive benefiting clients of the Madison Heights Food Pantry. It created a Military Honor Tree with photo ornaments of veterans and active military members, as well as patriotic decorations and combat boots for Veterans Day. The tree was on display at the Madison Heights Public Library, and is made possible with support from Color Coat Plating, a business in Madison Heights.

For the fourth year in a row, through member donations, the club has provided two new book titles to each elementary school in Madison Heights, as well as to the public library, each in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And the club also continues to award four scholarships each year to graduating senior students in Madison Heights who serve others as volunteers.

The Madison Heights Women’s Club has partnered with an international organization called Days for Girls, a nonprofit organization that provides reusable sanitary products to women and girls in poorer nations. The club has also worked with Fleece and Thank You, a Michigan-based company that provides fleece blankets to comfort children in hospitals across the state.

The club continues to serve as official coordinators of fundraisers for the Madison Heights Memorial Day Parade, with events such as a spaghetti dinner and pub crawl. One of its biggest annual events is its Harvest Charity Tea fundraiser, which for 16 years now has brought in thousands of dollars to benefit the community and outreach projects. What began with 80 attendees has now grown to 200.

The Madison Heights Women’s Club has also won state awards from the GFWC for its membership category (41-99 members) several times now.

It’s a lot of work, but between projects, the club also knows how to have a good time.

“Although we are a volunteer organization, we pride ourselves on our social gatherings,” Barnes said, noting that members range from ages 40 to 91. Their get-togethers have included visits to member homes for lobster boils and Thanksgiving dinners, weekends in Alpena on Lake Huron, movie nights at the theater, outdoor movie nights, ice cream and pie socials, tearoom luncheons, international potluck dinners, summer pool parties, holiday celebrations and more.

But she said they never lose sight of their mission to make the world a better place.

“It has been an honor for me to be in a leadership position for the GFWC Madison Heights Women’s Club,” Barnes said. “With reverence and dedication to the ideals of the original members, I serve with pride, and continue their legacy of volunteerism for our community and little corner of the world.”