About

The Service Club of Chicago, one of the city's oldest philanthropic organizations,  was founded in 1890 by fourteen young ladies of privileged Chicago families whose names were synonymous with the cultural and industrial growth of that era. Inspired by Jane Addams of Hull House (1889), they shared a deep desire to improve the lives of the less fortunate. These early members made significant contributions to the neighborhood social service agencies, which were the crossroads for immigrants and their children during the great immigration influx of the 1890's. The goals, determination and mission have not changed in more than a century, and today the Service Club of Chicago plays a major role in the life of the city.

Much has changed in the Club's history. Before the turn of the century, fund-raising projects included bazaars held in the homes of members and sewing for the poor. Today, there are dinners, balls, fundraisers, educational tours and "A Day on the Terrace."

Four years after its beginning, the Service Club was incorporated, and its leaders adopted the motto, "No one is greater than the service he or she renders the world."

Membership continued to grow and philanthropic programs expanded to include welfare and civic groups, destitute families and individuals. In 1904, the Club published its first cookbook which raised considerable sums of money.

In 1914, the Club launched its Club Revue, featuring the season's debutants and their escorts who performed original skits. The revue continued for twenty-six years and always drew rave reviews.

Despite the grim realities of World War II, the Service Club remained determined to carry on its commitment to the underprivileged. In 1941 Club members sponsored the opening night of Shipstad and Johnson's Ice Follies, a benefit that continued for the next decade.

In 1952, in an innovative bold move, unique on the charitable scene, the Club introduced a dinner concert and formal ball called Bal Musique, presented by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. This has remained a successful benefit concept, and each ball has been unique.

Planning and implementing these gala events involved leadership, volunteers and hours of work. In addition to raising funds, the efforts resulted in the establishment of long-lasting friendships and the satisfaction derived from women working toward a common goal.

Today, the Service Club of Chicago operates from its office in Chicago with no paid employees. Every dollar raised is devoted to charity, with administrative expenses being supported by dues. Members are proud of that claim.

Service Club of Chicago has had a proud past as it allocated millions of dollars to Chicagoland agencies.
We look forward to the future with determination to reach even greater heights and achievements.

No one is greater than the service he renders the world.
No one possesses more than he gives.
No one stands straighter when bending to comfort another.
Sooner or later every deed that you do will return to you.
Live every moment to give yourself to your brother.
Give every moment as long as you live.
There is no greater plan.

For no one is greater than the service she renders the world.

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