District History

Following the founding of the first Altrusa Club in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 11, 1917, clubs multiplied until, in 1930, it was deemed advisable to adopt a District plan of organization. At the National Convention at White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia, ten districts were established. At that time, Ohio and Michigan were included in District Four.

In 1930, Altrusa had grown to the point where they decided to add two more districts, and the District Four Conference (in September 1930) was held at Cleveland’s Statler Hotel on September 27. Room prices were listed as $3.00 and up for a single and $1.50 and up for each person in a double room.

Dr. Nan Koh, member of the Altrusa Club of Seoul, Korea, attending the University of Michigan on a Barbour Fellowship, was a guest of the Detroit Club at the 1947 Conference. Dr. Koh brought greetings from her club. Since hostilities prevented her return to Korea, Dr. Koh was short of funds and could not continue at the University. The Dr. Nan Koh Fund was established with funds coming in from all clubs, which enabled her to continue her studies.

It was announced at the 1950 Conference that $1,554.00 had been collected for Dr. Koh. A letter from her was read telling that she was working at the Columbus State Hospital for Retarded Children and also working on a research project in gerontology at Ohio State University.

District Five came into being in 1954, and branched off Ohio and Michigan from District Four.

The District’s protégé, Dr. Nan Koh, returned home from Pakistan, where she had been sent as one of a team of three by the United Nations to train young girls in maternal and infant care. Stopping at New Delhi, she purchased an Indian bell which she presented to the District at the 1954 Conference at Lansing as a token of friendship and appreciation. All District Five conferences are now started with the ringing of this bell (shown below).


At the International Convention in Toronto in 1955, the Districts were enlarged and Windsor and London, Ontario, Canada, were added District Five.

The first ASTRA Club in District Five was organized in 1967 by the Troy, Ohio club.

District Five currently has 28 Altrusa clubs and 5 ASTRA clubs.
Oldest Service Project in District Five. Battle Creek day care. Picture in 1925
Battle Creek day care today - still going strong
2011 Conference Dayton Altrusan who is auctioneer shows how to raise funds fast by conducting a mini-auction at the conference
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