The American Business Women's Association was founded in 1949 by Hilary Bufton, a Kansas City business man. The first chapter appropriately named "Pioneer Chapter" was chartered November 21, 1949.
From that very small beginning, the Association's growth has been phenomenal. Today there are more than 2200 Chapters in all states and Puerto Rico. Membership roles include more than 115,000 of today's modern business women taking advantage of year round opportunities for conferences, seminars, conventions, workshops, programs, activities, and scholarship support.
"The mission of the American Business Women's Association is to bring together business women of diverse backgrounds, and to provide opportunities for them to help themselves and others grow professionally through leadership education, networking, support, and national recognition."
All Chapters offer tangible support to women in the form of scholarships at all levels of study. The scholarship support has been utilized by hundreds of thousands of women and is recognized nationally as a significant contribution to the advancement of women. Local Chapter sponsored scholarships awarded annually have long surpassed the 10 million dollar mark.
A national scholarship fund, The Stephen Bufton Memorial Educational Fund (SBMEF), established in 1953, helps women achieve their business and professional goals through outright grants and interest free loans. Candidates for this scholarship aid are recommended by local Chapters and must be at least a Junior in college. The SBMEF is a tax-exempt fund supported by voluntary contributions from local Chapters, individual members, interested people, corporations, honorary gifts, and bequests. Since its inception, this fund has provided more than 7.5 million dollars in grants and loans.
In recognition of the Association's 20th anniversary in 1969, the Trustees created the President's Scholarship. This $3,000 scholarship is awarded annually for graduate study in a specific discipline announced by the Board of Trustees each year.
In 1986 the Trustees created the Hilary S. Bufton Jr. Scholarship and the Ruth H. Bufton Scholarship in recognition of their special contributions in founding and direction of the Association. These scholarships are awarded annually in a specific field of study, and are in amount of $10,000. The awards alternate between the two funds.
Sponsoring corporations from time to time have offered scholarships (minimum $3,000.) in a specific field of study, which the corporation designates. Candidates are evaluated by the Trustees.
ABWA, based on its years of experience in developing women business leaders, promotes member growth through committee and officer opportunities, team building presentation model,s and leadership development programs. Long before networking and mentoring became business buzz words, ABWA created a forum where women came together to share their successes with one another to support one antoher’s goals and offer recognition of personal achievement.
The time and talents of these ABWA women over the past 45 years made possible the national scholarship program for women students, which has been recognized by a Presidential Citation. More than 30 million dollars in scholarships have gone to women earning college degrees, doing advanced study, retraining for the workplace, or taking continuing education courses.
AND IT'S NOT DONE YET! 7/1/96