Manatee County proclaimed April 24, 2018 to be the Palm Aire Women's Club Day.
It started with a group of 17 women meeting for lunch 60 years ago and has evolved into today’s group of 150 who stay busy finding ways to give back to their community.
Manatee County declared April 24 as Palm-Aire Women’s Club Day in appreciation of the club’s gifts to local charities and scholarship money to State College of Florida students.
The women’s club first started giving to SCF students in 2001. Since then, the club has awarded 170 scholarships, worth more than $128,000.
The president of the club, Peg McKinley, said receiving the proclamation was an exciting experience.
“We’re representing all of the women who came before us,” McKinley said.
The Palm-Aire Women’s Club started in 1958 as the DeSoto Lakes Women’s Club, and in 1961 merged with the women from the DeSoto Lakes Country Club Colony, which is now the Palm Aire Country Club. They officially changed their name to the Palm-Aire Women’s Club in 1964.
Pattie Meades, the club’s vice president, said the club’s original fundraiser was intended to build a meeting place. Once they started raising money, though, the club members decided instead to give it back to their community.
These days, McKinley said she loves hearing stories from students who have benefited from one of the club’s scholarships.
“They’re not all traditional students,” McKinley said. “One this past year was a mother in her 30s.”