Altrusa Organization

Altrusa Organization

Dr. Alfred Durham, a member of Kiwanis, founded the Altrusa Institute in Nashville in 1917. Dr. Durham believed there was a need for civic organizations for women as many were going to work during World War I. He envisioned Altrusa being an organization where business and professional women could meet and exchange ideas. Several chapters had been established when Dr. Durham met Mamie L. Bass, who envisioned Altrusa as a service organization for women, and developed the Principles of Altrusa which defined the organization as a “builder of women” and an organization built on merit and accomplishment.

Altrusa became international in 1935 with the establishment of a chapter in Mexico. Several other nations followed. In the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, Altrusa focused on youth, literacy, and youth service. By the 80’s and 90’s, the organization was also taking on environmental issues. Altrusa chapters raise money for many local charities, including battered women’s shelters, services for runaway teens, Habitat for Humanity, and more.

The Saginaw Chapter was organized in 1960, and chartered in 1966. This scholarship established by the local chapter of Altrusa is intended to assist mature women who are starting or returning to college to complete a Baccalaureate degree.

Historical information on this page was taken from Altrusa’s website. Visit to learn more, and be sure to check out to find out about the Saginaw club, and opportunities to get involved!