CHAR History

In 1960, thirty-one women, most of them young moms, joined forces to form the new AAUW Citrus Heights Branch, under Branch President, Penny Lindsay. On May 10, the Citrus Heights Branch AAUW received its charter as the 81st branch in California, an Unincorporated Association under Federal Identification Number 94-6075631. The women came from small communities to the east of Sacramento, Fair Oaks, Carmichael, and Citrus Heights. By the second year, there were section meetings on Art, Civil Defense, Elementary and Secondary Education, Higher Education, International Relations, Mass Media, Social and Economic Issues, Status of Women, two book groups, drama and bridge.


On December 6, 1978, under President Norma Anderson, V. Ann Vanzaldt, Treasurer, registered the Association with California under California CT 34372. Based on the Citrus Heights 1978 application it:


“…is a branch of the National AAUW and is in the California state Division AAUW which ‘is already registered with you (CTT’ No. -18993)~ The purpose of AAUW is to provide continuing education for women, promote the status of, women and serve the community through action. The Association has an active Legislative Program and the support of legislative issues is an important part of our activities. The AAUW Educational’ Foundation is the national charitable organization which assists the Association in its work toward the advancement of women and equal, educational opportunity. The Foundation provides fellowships for women scholars to complete their advanced degrees. It awards Research and Projects grants annually, to AAUW members.”


Under income tax information the application stated:


“AAUW is a social welfare organization exempt under Section 501 (c) 4, Internal Revenue Code and Section 2) 701f of the Revenue and Taxation Code. Unincorporated branches are exempt under a blanket exemption at the Association level dated June 11, 1952 and a blanket exemption at the state level dated May 2, 1969. All branches should have a Federal and a State Identification number. Some branches are separately incorporated under 501 (c) (4) few under 501(c)(4). Citrus Heights Branch AAUW received its charter in May 1960. Federal Employer Identification No. 94- 6075631, California State Franchise Tax Board Exempt Organization No. 9792649”


Because the Branch covers a very large area outside of Citrus Heights, the name was officially changed to Citrus Heights-American River Branch in 1989. Today our membership extends to Sacramento, Carmichael, Fair Oaks, Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova and Folsom.


The branch received a number of state awards for political involvement. CHAR was recognized for its legislative workshops held at the Capitol and American River College. CHAR presented bills that were supported by California State AAUW and sponsored candidates’ night for local elections. In 1978, CHAR presented a forum of the 3rd Congressional District candidates which included Robert Matsui, Sandra Smoley, Jean Moorhead and Ben Franklin.


As time evolved CHAR expanded its reach beyond the political by adding activities that included “This Beleaguered Earth – Can Man Survive?’ A project emerged in the form of an old fashioned melodrama “Putrid Pollution Rides Again.” The melodrama was presented at local schools and community groups for over three years. A later study group evolved into a multi-year study of the nursing homes in the area. The branch received a commendation from the California Department of Health and Welfare for outstanding community volunteer achievement for its Comprehensive Nursing Home Directory, published in 1978 and revised in 1983. Also, in 1983 CHAR members landscaped the Sacramento Science and Junior Museum Grounds by planting, weeding and watering throughout the year. To fund this project, CHAR made and sold over 40 grapevine wreaths at the Science and Junior Museum Fund Raising Fair.


In 1986-1987 CHAR joined with California State University Sacramento to present a re- entry workshop for those wishing to re-enter post-high school study. The community colleges, the state universities, and the U.C.’s were represented. In 1988 CHAR established a scholarship program at American River College for women who are heads of households and single parents. This program is on-going as the Local Scholarship Program. Awards were and are based on financial need, realistic goals, and scholarship ability. Up to three scholarships or more are awarded each year. This program was expanded into our present-day yearly celebration of the award winners, donors, and fundraisers to fund future scholarship winners.


In 1998, Marie Wolbach founded Tech Trek with the help of an AAUW Community Action Grant. This is a project to introduce girls graduating into the eighth grade to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The eighth grade is important because many schools allow students to select math courses that will not prepare them for STEM classes. CHAR wants the girls to make an informed decision. In 1998 CHAR selected its first Tech Trek camper, Melissa Langeland, who attended the first Tech-Trek Camp at Stanford University. In 2019 CHAR selected five students who attended Tech Trek camp at UC Davis. In 2019 CHAR expanded the Tech Trek program to include a Tech Trek Alumni Program that will that mentor and provide support from Alumni for Tech Trek students graduating from the eighth grade into high school and college. It’s CHAR’s desire that the Alumni Program will evolve into a support group that will support the girls throughout high school, college, and throughout life.


Over the ensuing years we financially supported the AAUW national office programs called AAUW Funds (formerly Educational Foundation and Legal Advocacy Funds) through fund raisers and donations. The AAUW Funds is the principal supporter of advanced degrees for women and it provides grants for community service projects and legal assistance to fight discrimination.




Today CHAR’s mission is to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research and its execution is more aligned with IRS Code 501c3. Our primary programs include (1) an Intern Program to support students and further research and critiques of the non-profit world and emphasize science, technology, engineering, math, accounting, etc., (2) Days for Girls to create and distribute hygiene kits that girls use during their menses so they don’t fall behind in school and work during their menstrual periods, (3) Tech Trek that introduces young girls to STEM classes, (4) American River College CHAR partnership to support student programs and introduce students, faculty, and staff to AAUW; and help faculty, staff, and students navigate the AAUW maze to receive the resources they need to inform, achieve and gain leadership skills, (5) AAUW Funds to support the National office programs, (6) Local Scholarships to help and encourage single parents who are head of household to continue their education, (7) Women and Girls Commission to establish a commission on the Sacramento County Board that can identify laws, practices, or conditions concerning or affecting women and girls which impose special limitations or burdens upon them or upon society; and to act as an information center to institute local self-help activities designed to meet educational, employment, and related needs, (8) a Ballot Proposition Forum to better understand ballot propositions as an informed voter, (9) and special interest groups designed to keep abreast of the world, philanthropy opportunities, and insight through interactions with informed, interested individuals.


On November 5, 2019 we received approval for registering as a California Corporation.


On April 21, 2020, we received IRS determination that we are a 501(c)(3) organization under EIN: 84-3730820 as of November 5, 2019.


On August 3, 2020, we received California State approval to operate as a tax exempt corporation effective November 5, 2019 under section 23701d, as CCN: 4528105.

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