Altrusa International of Santa Maria, Inc. was organized August 1959 and received its charter from Altrusa International on October 25, 1960. Since its inception the local club has been involved in many City of Santa Maria projects:
1961 Project Senior Citizen, in cooperation with the Santa Maria Recreation Department, the Senior Center (Elwin Mussell Center) was formed.
1962 American Association of Retired Persons was formed in Santa Maria with 42 members.
1963-64 Coordinating Council of Santa Maria Valley was formed with 34 local clubs participating.
1975 Altrusa of Santa Maria donated $6,500 for the purchase of a bus for SMOOTH Transportation, this encouraged the development of the present City bus system, and in 1976 funded the maintenance and operation of the bus.
1979 the final payment was made to the Y.M.C.A. This was done over a three year period.
1981 Equipped the SMOOTH bus for the handicapped.
1985 purchased three Lifeline Units for Marian Medical Center, and members volunteered to work on the Lifelines.
2006 a major commitment was the donation of $72,500 for the Children’s Theatre in the newly built Santa Maria Library. As a finish touch a design and execution of the children’s mural at the Library incorporated likenesses of Altrusa children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. To-date over $80,000 has been raised for the Library.
2011/12 Santa Maria Valley Humane Society received $25,000 for the Adoption Office in their new facility. To-date over $30,000 has been raised for SMVHS. This August the 3rd Annual Hoe Down With the Hounds will be held by the Club to benefit SMVHS.
Other involvement in Santa Maria:
Worked with the Salvation Army on many projects, including Christmas Bell ringing and donating over $3,700.
Worked with and donated money to the building fund for the mentally handicapped children (1963). Adopted the School for the Mentally Handicapped Children (1964), also providing them with Christmas parties.
Provided funding for the down payment for three SMILE (Santa Maria Independent Living Environment) homes in Santa Maria.
Stand Down Santa Maria – since it’s inception donated personal hygiene items, socks, hats, gloves, scarves, books, clothing and towels. Members have worked
the event every year.
The club recently celebrated their 25th year of honoring Junior High School students in the Santa Maria Valley with an achievements awards dinner, based on their volunteerism at school, church or in the community.
Many organizations in Santa Maria have benefited with money and time from the Club:
Laz-E-Daze Residents, Good Sam Homeless Shelter, Special Olympics, the TC House, Central Coast Spelling Bee, Kiwanis Trivial Pursuit, Visiting Nurses Program.
Several members serve on Boards of many Santa Maria organizations, including SMOOTH, Leadership Santa Maria Valley and the Santa Maria Library Foundation.
For many years ran the wine booth at the SBAR County Fair and joined with other non-profit organizations manning the beer/wine tent.
The major emphasis of Altrusa of Santa Maria is literacy, each month members of the Literacy Committee deliver magazines and books to the Vets Clinic, retirement homes, libraries and health care facilities, in addition to snacks at the Vets Clinic.
Major Donations: Through its fundraising event, Holiday Extravaganza held in November each year at the Elks Lodge, money was funded through the Altrusa International Santa Maria, Inc. Foundation in the amount of over $500,000. Since the formation of the Foundation in 1992 the following organizations have received substantial funding:
Boys & Girls Club, CASA, Community Partners in Caring, Friends of the Guadalupe Library, Friends of the Santa Maria Library, Luis OASIS, Natural History Museum, North County Rape Crisis, OCAF, OUSD Children’s Before and After Day Care, Royal Family Kids, Santa Maria Bonita School District, Santa Maria Elks Mini Rodeo, Santa Maria Valley Humane Society, Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, SMILE, SMOOTH, Special Needs Network, Teachers Network of Santa Barbara County Education, YMCA.
Honorary members of our club are Jenna Yeager (Aviator) and Joni Gray (former Supervisor). The SMOOTH bus was named for Joni’s mother Norma Gray.
The club recently entered an entry in the Altrusa International, Inc., Nina Fay Calhoun International Relations Award for their work in combating the sex trafficking of children in Thailand. Bridges to the Nations is run by Randy and Edie Nelson. Randy is originally from Santa Maria and now has lived and worked in Thailand for the past 17 years.
To cultivate friendly relationships, promote mutual understanding and foster solidarity of men and women who are actively engaged in business and the professions.
To encourage high ethical standards of business and professional conduct.
To give vocational information and to be of service to both young and mature men and women already engaged in or entering business or professional fields.
To encourage participation in community and public affairs on a non-partisan basis.
To do any and all things conducive to the service, betterment, and ultimate welfare of men and women in business and the professions.
To promote educational and cultural training and improvement.
To be informed on international affairs and promote understanding between the people of all nations.
Altrusa International of Santa Maria meets at 6:30 PM the second Wednesday of each month at Bethel Lutheran Church, 624 East Camino Colegio. Contact Diane Alleman-Stevens, 805-352-0026 for more information.