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Woman’s Literary Club

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Donor Advised Fund & Scholarship Fund

Woman's Literary Club

The Woman’s Literary Club of Holland has been investing in the community for 124 years, adapting and expanding its purpose over time but never straying from its commitment to helping residents of the greater Holland/Zeeland area thrive.  

The Woman’s Literary Club (WLC) was officially organized on June 7, 1898, by Anna Coatsworth Post. Their articles of organization describe the club’s purpose, “believing that our happiness as individuals and our usefulness as citizens depends on our intelligence, we women of Holland unite our efforts to further intellectual improvement, and to diffuse useful knowledge.” The 27 founding members met regularly to study literature, history, and science. They also prioritized civic and philanthropic engagement.  

WLC grew rapidly after its founding, with 170 registered members by 1914. Club leadership purchased a plot of land and built a clubhouse on the corner of Central and 10th Street in downtown Holland to provide space for meetings and civic projects. During World War I and World War II, WLC partnered with the Red Cross to help support troops and their families by contributing funds, clothing, and blankets.   

In 1997, facing rising costs for general maintenance and a needed renovation, WLC sold their clubhouse. “Following the sale, the members were faced with a decision about how best to use the proceeds,” said Carol Cudzilo, WLC President. “Keeping with our longstanding tradition of philanthropy, club leadership reached out to the Community Foundation to inquire about establishing a Donor Advised Fund and the Woman’s Literary Club of Holland Donor Advised Fund was established in 1998.” 

 “The club members decided that a partnership with CFHZ was the best path to accomplish their current and future charitable goals. We use a portion of the fund to make grants focusing on key categories that include arts, civic service, education, women, and youth,” said Carol Nuismer, WLC member and Chair of their community outreach committee. Herrick District Library, Holland Hospital, and Children’s Advocacy Center are among the 18 organizations that received grants from the fund this year. 

Left to right: Jane Osman, Carol Cudzilo, Carol Nuismer

To promote women’s learning, WLC began giving school loans to female students in 1916 and formalized the process in 1925 by establishing the Kate Garrod Post Education Committee. Kate was an honored member of WLC who also generously provided for the club in her estate. In 1999, WLC decided to transition from loans to scholarships and opened their application process to both women and men.

Members of WLC voted to establish the Kate Garrod Post Woman’s Literary Club Scholarship Fund at CFHZ in 2010. Jane Osman leads the WLC Scholarship committee and said, “Creating the scholarship fund at the Community Foundation reduced our administrative burden while allowing us to remain involved in the process of selecting recipients. We are happy to continue supporting local students and feel good about this fund continuing in perpetuity.” 

After 124 years of service to the community, WLC isn’t slowing down. Their future projects include placing a plaque at Window on the Waterfront to honor Lida Rogers, who spoke at a WLC meeting in 1927 and inspired the creation of the Tulip Time Festival. “We’re so proud of the contributions Woman’s Literary Club has made,” said Carol Cudzilo. “For over a century we’ve helped women broaden their horizons and provided an outlet for them to create positive collective impact on the place they call home.” 

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