Quota International of FlintThe Spirit of Sharing


Quench in our hearts, O Lord, all fires of selfishness,
Unfold to us the joys of true friendship,
Open our minds to a better understanding of service,
Teach us the real meaning of sharing,
And help us to hold high those principles of Quota for which we stand.

quotainternational-2Quota International of Flint is an organization whose mission is to serve the deaf and hearing impaired community, as well as disadvantaged women and children. In order to live up to their mission, Quota raises money, and with that money, do good work for the community. In the community, they have donated money to the Flint Institute of Music, the YWCA SafeHouse, the Communication Access Center, the Children’s Museum, Special Olympics, Wellness HIV Services and scholarships that are intended for college-bound Michigan School of the Deaf students, as well as for sign language interpreting students at Mott Community College and Baker College. In 1989, the club established its own foundation from which they do much of their grant-making.

In addition to raising funds, Quota also provides hands-on service, such as holiday parties for the residents of the YWCA SafeHouse and the Shelter of Flint; working with the School for the Deaf students to bake and decorate Christmas cookies; collecting socks for women at the NEW Life Center; sorting items at the Foodbank of Eastern Michigan; and, until last year, organizing the Shoes that Fit program for the Flint community schools. This program, in which they collected shoes, hats, and gloves for students, was started by club member, Connie Rau. Quota has also been connected with the Flint Police Department through the Cops & Kids Program by giving “Quota Cares Bears” to children who have experienced something traumatic. Another project is installing sound amplification systems in over forty school classrooms in the county, which has a lasting impact and serves hundreds of children each year.

The events Quota hosts themselves include a Trivia Night fundraiser. For the Trivia Night, it is held at the FIM. “The FIM is very generous and donates their atrium space for us,” says Shelly Hoffman, President and club member for eight years. Other events include several different dinners throughout the year – a holiday dinner and auction, and a chicken dinner in October. In October, the Junior Quota Club comes to the event and helps. The Junior Club is comprised of members of the American Sign Language Club, Hands in Motion, at Baker College. “They have been incredibly helpful,” Hoffman says. “They energize us.”

The national umbrella organization of Quota International was founded in Buffalo, NY by Wanda Frey Joiner in 1919 – just a year before women got the vote in the U.S. – as a women-only club. By 1925, clubs were emerging all over, even Canada. By the 1930s, clubs had spread to the South Pacific. The original intention of the club was for women in business who were at a management level or above. While the organization has since relaxed rules around this, Quota is still comprised predominantly of women in business or at executive levels. This is evident in the international board, which is comprised of five members, three of which are business owners.

As for the name, they chose “Quota,” which is Latin for “a piece of” or “a share of” – to denote the sharing aspect of the club.

Flint’s club has been around since 1944, right in the middle of WWII. “I always found that puzzling and exciting,” says Hoffman. “What were they doing that they had the time and thought to organize this club? I’m assuming it was to help with the war effort.”

In the past, Quota would give small amounts of money to organizations that needed it, but according to Hoffman, they are starting to look at things differently: they issued a request for proposals and solicited competitive funding proposals, wanting to make a bigger impact by donating more to one organization. This year, Quota selected Flint Youth Theatre as their recipient, awarding an $8,000 grant to assist with the education and transportation of school children.

Currently, the Flint club has 31 members. “We’re small, yet we do a tremendous amount of work in the community,” says Hoffman. “We’ve been the bedrock. We’d like to boost our membership and do more work.”

Hoffman has been president for almost a year. “I’ve been working toward making our club more viable in the 21st century,” she shares. “In addition to streamlining our charitable work, we’re looking at how our board and organization are structured, making it more functional to meet the changing times.” As president, she serves as a delegate for the regional meeting and at the international convention, which will be held in Brisbane, Australia this year. At these conventions, they learn best practices and find new ideas to help them move forward. There are six Quota clubs in Michigan, and clubs in 13 countries worldwide.

“One of the amazing things about Quota International of Flint is that the women involved have an amazing capacity for caring,” Hoffman shares. “The members of our club are incredible at showing that they care. They always make sure that people are cared for or thought of.”

Last month, Quota’s Annual Tea and Auction was held at The Whiting, where everyone wore giant, fabulous hats, drank tea, and participated in silent and live auctions. The club netted close to $5,500 from this event. Those funds, coupled with other money the club has raised throughout the year, will be used next year to support another worthy project.
Shelly Hoffman, President

Photography by Eric Dutro


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