About the NFRW
The National Federation of Republican Women is America’s foremost political organization, bringing together women to impact the direction of our nation. We come together as a collective force advancing the power of women through political access and participation. Our mission is to see women from all age groups and walks of life as key players at the political table on national, state, and local issues.
Who We Are
NFRW is the largest women’s partisan political organization in the country. The National Federation of Republican Women is a national grassroots political organization composed of 1,400 local clubs and approximately 61,500 members throughout the United States. NFRW is self-supporting. Approximately 1/3 of NFRW’s operating budget comes from membership dues and club service charges. Another 1/3 comes from major donor programs such as the Capitol Regents and the Regents. The final 1/3 is raised through direct mail solicitation.
NFRW has two basic membership levels.
• Membership at the Local Level – NFRW has state federations with many local clubs in towns and cities across the U.S. It is a great network and a good way to meet other women who are interested in politics. Dues at the local level vary.
• Membership at the National Level – Those who wish to keep abreast of issues affecting women at the national level can join NFRW as National Associate Members for $25.00 per year. These members pay dues directly to the NFRW. They will receive all NFRW official publications and ecommunications, and be entitled to participate in online discussions. They may attend NFRW, state federation or nearby local club meetings but will not have a voice or a vote. (For more information on National Associate Memberships, see Appendix E.)
• Dues to become a National Associate Member should be sent to: National Federation of Republican Women, 124 N. Alfred Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
NFRW recruits, educates, trains, supports and elects Republicans. NFRW concentrates its efforts in the areas of education, communication, legislative action, candidate recruitment, campaigning, and fundraising.
The seal of the National Federation of Republican Women is a registered
trademark. It features the American Eagle, king of birds, holding a quill
pen and standing guard over our most treasured tool of democracy – the
ballot box. Adopted at the biennial convention in 1944, it portrays the
Federation’s interest in the protection and integrity of our electoral
process. The American Eagle is adopted from the Great Seal of the
United States. The quill is symbolic of the power of words, especially as
contained in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the
Republican women’s clubs have existed for over 100 years. They were originally inspired by the Republican Platform of 1872, which said: “The Republican Party is mindful of its obligation to the loyal women of America for their noble devotion to the cause of Freedom.” With that, Republican women’s clubs were off and running. The oldest club on record was founded in Salt Lake City in the late 1800s. Under the direction of Miss Marion E. Martin, then Assistant Chair of the Republican National
Committee and National Committeewoman for Maine, and with the encouragement of RNC Chair John D. M. Hamilton, an organizational meeting took place in Chicago on November 4, 1937. Thirtyeight women members of the Republican National Committee met to discuss the “desirability” of federating.
The National Federation of Republican Women was founded at a conference held at the Palmer House in Chicago, September 23-24, 1938. The delegates adopted rules for governing the establishment of a National Federation of Women’s Republican Clubs, to promote education along political lines and to encourage the following purposes:
“To foster and encourage loyalty to the Republican Party and the ideals for which it stands; to foster cooperation between independent groups and the regular party organization, which are working for the same objectives, namely sound government; to promote interchange of ideas and experiences of various clubs to the end that the policies which have proven particularly effective in one state may be adopted in another; and to encourage a national attitude and approach to the problems facing the Republican Party.”
The organization was originally known as the National Federation of Women’s Republican Clubs of America (NFWRC). The name was changed in January 1953 to the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW).
THE PALMER HOUSE, CHICAGO - The NFRW was founded here.
Eleven states became the charter states of NFRW - California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
At the age of 31, Joyce Arneill of Denver, Colo., was elected the first president of the Federation, and the organization began to grow.
At the time of NFRW’s founding, three states – Maryland, Virginia, and Alabama – had not even ratified the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting suffrage to women. The campaign of 1936 had reelected Franklin D. Roosevelt over Alf Landon with only two states – Maine and Vermont – going Republican. There were only six Republican governors, 89 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, and 16 in the Senate.
And yet the National Federation of Republican Women – born in a climate of defeat – grew in size and strength, providing a vehicle for women concerned with the direction of our government.
In 1940, the NFRW reported that, “Since the founding of the Federation, there has been a steady and consistent progress.” Thirty-four states, as well as the District of Columbia, were represented in the Federation through statewide federations and/or individual clubs.
In its earliest days, the Federation was a lobbying group. In 1940, NFRW enlisted the support of its members to urge their representatives in Washington to hold free and open hearings and a full investigation on the amendments to the Wagner Labor Relations Act. They wrote their representatives during National Debt Week to impress them with the fact that constituents were concerned about the national debt. And on June 10, 1940, NFRW President Joyce Arneill sent a letter to all club presidents urging their help in keeping Congress in session until the immediate crisis of the “foreign situation” was past.
By September 1, 1943, 23 statewide federations held membership in the national organization, along with 98 individual clubs from 16 states.
Today, the NFRW consists of approximately 100,000 members in about 1,825 local clubs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. The goals of those women who met in Chicago in 1938 continue to be the goals of the NFRW – to encourage women’s participation in the governing of our nation, to elect Republicans to office at all levels, and to promote public awareness of the issues that shape America.
Thirty-three national conventions have been held in cities across the nation, with U.S. presidents and vice presidents, homemakers and first ladies, cabinet members and celebrities attending. Presidential candidates never miss these meetings. They know that many of those attending will be delegates to the Republican National Convention or will be instrumental in the delegate selection process. They know that these women are the Party’s grassroots activists.
Programs such as NFRW’s campaign management schools, women candidate seminars, and polling schools have trained literally thousands of Republican women and men to help elect GOP candidates, and communities throughout the nation have benefited from the volunteer services of NFRW’s Caring for America and Barbara Bush Literacy programs.
Millions of American women, ages 19 to 90, have helped shape our nation through wartime and peace, through depression and prosperity, through good times and bad – all through the National Federation of Republican Women.