AAUW Atascadero began in 1937 with 10 members — all of whom have since passed away. Many were teachers in the beginning years; two who laid the groundwork for the Atascadero branch were Maybelle Frandsen (President in 1937-39 and 1951-53) and Shelley Fenny (President in 1939-41 and 1943-47).
In 1950 there were 22 members. Money for the Educational Foundation was raised from bridge parties, selling stationery and greeting cards, and by holding International Dinners.
1960-70 saw our membership grow to almost 40 members. In these years there were discussions of legislation. Today AAUW supports womens’ causes and tries to encourage more women to run for elected office.
During the 1970’s we studied topics put out by the AAUW National organization. Study groups were held on the AAUW topic for the year. These topics were on Women’s Health, the Energy crisis, and Education. as membership increased, Interest Groups began – including a weekly Quilting Group, Sandpile (a young mothers group), Coupons, and Lunch Bunch. Elizabeth “Betty” Putnam came to town in 1974. She was the driving force for our branch and the Educational Foundation during the 1970’s and 1980’s. During the ’70’s our membership rose to 80.
The 1980’s were more action oriented (membership reached 100 because of Sandpile); ArtPark was started, and in March 1980 the National organization proclaimed one week as Action for Equity Week.
During the 1990’s, Social Era/Fundraising continued for the Educational Foundation and the Legal Advocacy Fund was established to help women in Universities and Colleges who faced work discrimination. Membership during the 1990’s hovered around 80.
From 2000 to the present we have focused on math and science programs for Girls (TechTrek and STEMTrek); Scholarships for Women and Girls; Loans for International Women (KIVA); Gender Equity (the pay gap), Sexual Harassment and Bullying at School, and Community Involvement. Membership today is around 100.