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GFWC Desert Jade Woman's Club

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The Desert Jade Woman's Club originated 50 years ago in 1960, as the Desert Jade Junior Woman's Club in Phoenix, Arizona. Consisting primarily of Asian-American women as a social group in the early days, they decided to drop the age limitation of 35 years for new members on March 4, 1970 and open membership to all ages.

At the time, new clubs required sponsors so the Starlight Woman's Club of Glendale was enlisted to be the sponsor of the group and Mrs. Katie Wagher became the club's first Junior Coordinator. In April 1960, the club became a part of the Arizona Federation of Women's Clubs-AFJWC and the General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC).

Various successful club projects of the past include:

  • Chinese school - Founded in 1968, the Cultural Language School helped to fill a gap between children of Chinese ancestry and their elders. The club was awarded the Shell Oil Education Award, Second Place, at the AFWC 1970 Convention and the monetary award was used to provide college scholarships for local Chinese students
  • In 1974, the club became an active participant of the Phoenix Chinese United Association, which opens its membership to all Chinese community and family service organizations. As a result, the annual July 4th celebration has become quite successful and members assist with serving food, operating fun activities for children, and advising queen contestants of the Miss Phoenix Chinese Queen contest during the pageant.
  • In 1976, "Lotus Pod" was begun, a compilation of Chinese-American cultural history and information published as a booklet, to be passed on to the younger generation. Proceeds from its sale have been used for educational scholarships.
  • In March 1978, the club participated in the city sponsored, "Hello Phoenix," a two-day affair held at the Phoenix Civic Plaza in downtown Phoenix. This city-wide project focused on ethnically oriented performing arts programs.
  • In 1995-1996, the club raised funds for the Arts of Asia Gallery at the Phoenix Art Museum.
  • In 1996-1998, a large donation was made to benefit the Chinese Senior Center.

In years following, donations were made to benefit the Brunson-Lee Elementary School in the Balsz District; to the Never Again Foundation, assisting victims of domestic violence; to the Jody Bauer Memorial Scholarship Fund, used for $50.00 scholarships to 8th grade students entering high school; to the Silent Witness Fund; to the "Save the SunMerc Coalition," whose goal was to preserve the historic Sun Mercantile Building; to the St. Vincent de Paul Free Medical and Dental clinic; and many, many college scholarships to a great many deserving high school seniors.

Mention must be made of some of the successful fund raising projects the group participated in. These included: rummage sales, Chinese food bazaars (where countless thousands of the famous eggrolls were sold), t-shirt sales ("Year of the Tiger"), cookbook sales ("Tea and Chopsticks"), and a whole variety of handmade crafts.

List of Club Presidents:

  • 1960-1961 Marjorie Sing (Jack)
  • 1961-1962 Margie Gin (Ervin)
  • 1962-1963 Viola Ong (Frank)
  • 1963-1964 Anna Tang (George)
  • 1964-1965 Ruth Lee (Chuck)
  • 1965-1966 Thelma Tang (Eugene)
  • 1966-1967 Mary Tang (Lang)
  • 1967-1968 Betty Lim (George)
  • 1968-1969 Helen Tang (Bill)
  • 1969-1970 Jean Tom (Henry)
  • 1970-1972 Kathleen Tang (Jack)
  • 1972-1973 Anna Tang (George)
  • 1974-1976 Willie Mae Tang (James)
  • 1976-1978 Lucy Yuen
  • 1978-1980 Margie Gin (Ervin)
  • 1980-1982 Mary Tang (Lang)
  • 1982-1984 Louise Ong (Arnold)
  • 1984-1986 Bali Tang (Gene)
  • 1986-1988 Mai Young (Jung)
  • 1988-1990 Marian Quan (Bob)
  • 1990-1992 Mary Keller Wong (George)
  • 1992-1994 Lani Wo (Arnold)
  • 1994-1996 Margie Gin (Ervin)
  • 1996-1998 Elaine Wong (Marshall)
  • 1998-2000 Lucy Yuen
  • 2000-2002 Barbara Yim (Dan)
  • 2002-2004 Grace Lee (Victor)
  • 2004-2006 Virginia Chang (David)
  • 2006-2008 Grace Lee (Victor)
  • 2008-2010 Grace Lee (Victor)
  • 2010-2012 Barbara Yim (Dan)

Contributed Collections


Grace Lee
GFWC Desert Jade Woman's Club
201 E. Secretariat Drive
Tempe, AZ 85284

Rights & Reproduction

Rights governing use of any photographs and/or any material from this website are held by the GFWC Desert Jade Woman's Club. Direct inquiries to desertjade[at]

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