San Francisco, California, Alumnae Club

Charter date: 1/1/1926

The History of the San Francisco, California, Alumnae Club

On November 17, 1925, 14 alumnae of Pi Beta Phi petitioned national Headquarters with a handwritten letter, signed by all, which read:

"We, the Pi Beta Phi Alumnae, residing in San Francisco, feeling that the Bay forms a barrier to efficient work for the Settlement School, do petition the Grand Council for a charter for an alumnae club to be known as the San Francisco Alumnae Club of Pi Beta Phi."

In 1926, Grand Council granted the charter that formed the San Francisco Alumnae Club. The club became the second alumnae club in northern California, 13 years after the Berkeley Alumnae Club was created.

Throughout the years, the club has participated in endeavors contributing to the welfare of San Francisco as well as Pi Beta Phi philanthropies and projects. The San Francisco Alumnae Club supports local literacy initiatives, food bank distribution sites and women’s shelters. Members have sponsored theatrical events, pool parties and garden parties. 

The San Francisco Alumnae Club traditional holiday gatherings and fundraisers are recorded from the early 1930s. Cookie Shines are a timeless part of the club’s heritage, and members have had luncheons at Golden Gate Fields since the 1960s. The club strives to honor the legacy of the women who came before while remaining relevant to the needs of the club’s current members. 

Philanthropic Service

Philanthropic work has always been a passion of the San Francisco Alumnae Club. A few early examples include:

  • 1955 - The Pacific Avenue Fun Fete street fair raised $6,781 for the Pi Beta Phi Medical Research for Children Fund. $2,500 was donated to the San Francisco Children’s Hospital. The balance of funds was awarded to other Bay area medical research projects benefitting pediatrics. Many area Pi Beta Phi alumnae clubs and active chapters participated to make the event a success.
  • 1961 - The Pi Beta Phi Rummage Sale was held in Larkin Hall at the Civic Center. One customer at the rummage sale remarked, “Pi Phi has the best and classiest rummage in town.”
  • 1961–62 – $1,000 was donated to Meals on Wheels. Pi Phis donated 1,310 hours of service to the organization. Meals on Wheels began as a pilot program in San Francisco in 1960 and was later adopted as a permanent community program.
  • Currently, the club participates in the Champions are Readers® program.

Notable Alumnae

  • Imogen Cunningham, photographer 
  • Mary Katherine Campbell Townley, crowned Miss America in 1922 and 1923 (The only woman to win the title twice.)