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4 Community Organizations Making a Difference in Westchester

These community organizations serve as valuable resources to support locals with engaging activities and initiatives.

Community organizations
Adobe Stock / Zamrznuti tonovi

It can feel like digital connections often overshadow face-to-face interactions, but local community clubs remain steadfast, providing opportunities for local residents to connect and give back to the community while they’re doing so.

Organizations like Rotary, Kiwanis, Women’s Clubs, and Lions Clubs serve as vital threads in the fabric of neighborhoods and towns across the globe. Beyond their distinctive missions and focuses, these clubs share a common goal: to foster fellowship, serve their communities, and enact positive change. Each of these clubs are more than a meeting place, with pillars of support, philanthropic goals, and home to friendships thanks to their unique histories, traditions, and initiatives. 

From the Rotary Club’s dedication to international service projects to the Kiwanis Club’s unwavering commitment to children’s welfare, there is likely a place in Westchester to meet like-minded individuals. While there are county-wide community groups, there are also ones for certain municipalities, like the Woman’s Club of White Plains, that anyone can join. Notably the Woman’s Club raised and donated over $700,000 to different local nonprofits in just over the past 11 years.

“I love the community and how everyone is there volunteering and wants to be there. No one has to be there,” observes Heather Spadaro, Vice President of the Woman’s Club of White Plains Foundation. “It makes the dynamic so much different where everyone is there to have fun, help the community, and nurture new friendships. It’s a win-win in every aspect.”

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Here’s what you need to know about Woman’s Club of White Plains, and other community groups, to get involved. 

Woman’s Club of White Plains

305 Ridgeway, White Plains; 914.948.0958

The Woman’s Club of White Plains has a house, ballroom and grounds where members gather to volunteer in a variety of philanthropic ways. Throughout the year, members provide volunteer hours and raise thousands of dollars for a broad range of charities and nonprofit organizations throughout White Plains and beyond. 

“By being a member of the Woman’s Club and being part of these efforts, you also gain relationships and friendships as you become friends with the women you are on committees with and volunteer with,” says Spadaro, who has been a member for over 10 years. “So in the end, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of dollars we have given out to the community over the past hundred years, we offer lifelong friendships as well, which is something we don’t take for granted.”

Anyone can join, and you don’t need to live in White Plains. For example, Spadaro grew up in Mamaroneck and now lives in Stamford, Connecticut. The group includes women who live in Florida and are still members, as they moved away from Westchester but still want to give back. Many of the events have a member discount price, and a few throughout the year are free to members. The club also has “The Merchant Discount Program” for members, which is a membership card that you receive when you become a member. When you show it at any of the participating businesses, you can receive special offers that range from free items to discounts off purchases.

“It is a nice perk for members and extremely nice of our local businesses to be a part of this program,” notes Spadaro. “Once you have been a member for at least two years consecutively, you are able to get discounts in renting the space for personal events like weddings and parties.”

Giving back: The signature community service program is called “Acts of Kindness,” which includes many initiatives the club funds and executes itself. It partners with The Coachman Family Center in White Plains to provide “Welcome to Your Home” kits of cleaning supplies for families moving into permanent housing from the shelter. It also supplies “Personal Care Kits” to families entering the shelter who may have been displaced from their homes after fires, floods, or other natural disasters. Once a month, the Woman’s Club make sandwiches for the Lifting Up Westchester food pantry. It has its own Side Door Thrift Store, which is open Tuesday mornings.

Rotary Club of Westchester

Elmsford; 914.592.7898

This nonprofit organization is dedicated to giving back to the community in different ways. Recently, it held a food drive for Ramadan; partnered with the Westchester Muslim Center for a Chand Raat celebration with henna, jewelry and clothing; and provided learning sessions for its newest members. 

The club’s theme for 2024-2025 is “The Magic of Rotary,” focused on the transformative power of the club’s service in communities with hopes of creating moments of wonder and inspiration. The club meets bi-weekly on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on Zoom.

Giving back: Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders focused on tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. In 2024, the Rotary Club of Westchester held a Ramadan Food Drive.

Kiwanis Club of Bronx-Westchester South

Across Westchester; 914.924.7518

This division has multiple clubs in Westchester, including East Yonkers, Hartsdale, Mount Vernon, Westchester Village, and Yonkers. Locally, it hosts programming like an April Westchester Village Memorial Breakfast and an East Yonkers Nurse Appreciation Dinner in May. Other events include the Westchester Village Golf Outing/Card Party and the East Yonkers Scholarship Dinner.

Giving back: Since 1915, Kiwanis has been creating opportunities for children to be curious, safe, and healthy, regardless of the community in which they live. The term “Kiwanis” comes from a native term closely resembling “we build.” This division volunteers with communities in The Bronx and Westchester County. Members stage approximately 150,000 service projects and raise nearly US$100 million every year for communities, families and projects.

Westchester Lions Club

Across Westchester; 708.296.4439

The Westchester Lions Club is celebrating over 50 years of service with 23 members and counting. 

Its annual Winterfest Fundraiser is one of the local Lions club’s biggest hits. Held this past February, the $40 donation for a ticket helped give back to the area as the net proceeds benefited the needs of local communities. Besides this, the group usually pops up at other events to raise more money. For example, members were at Westchester Park District’s Winter Wonderland event making popcorn for hundreds of people. They also sponsored screenings at the Westchester Senior Health Fair last fall. During Lions Candy Days, members can be seen throughout the community collecting donations on street corners. 

The Westchester Lions Club meets on the first Monday of every month at 7 p.m.


Giving back: The Lions Club aims to empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace, and promote international understanding. They engage in various charitable activities such as providing assistance to the visually impaired, supporting youth programs, organizing health initiatives like diabetes awareness and vision screenings, and aiding disaster relief efforts. Lions Clubs also focus on environmental projects, literacy programs, and promoting cultural exchange. Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with over 1.4 million members in approximately 49,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the world.

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