The Wilton Woman’s Club is rooted in social activism and has a long-standing tradition of supporting and strengthening local philanthropic organizations. This year is the 11th year that the Wilton Woman’s Club is making a difference in the wider community by hosting its Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon, an event that draws hundreds of women from Wilton. This year’s fundraiser will support the Domestic Violence Crisis Center and the Wilton Domestic Violence Task Force.

Tickets are on sale now for the March 29 event, which will take place from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Rolling Hills Country Club.

The WWC philanthropy co-chairs Mariann Bigelow and Dianne deWitt spoke with many organizations to decide on the 2018 beneficiary. Events on the national stage helped them make the final selection.

“After much discussion, the philanthropy committee did feel collectively that the club should seize the moment to educate our children and our community about sexual assault and harassment in society–a teachable moment, so to speak–and voted to fund programs for the Wilton Domestic Violence Task Force and for DVCC,” Bigelow says.

The sentiment is echoed by deWitt, who says helping women is a natural fit for the WWC.

“As a women’s club, it is hard to turn away from what is happening all around us and not use the moment to educate. We are very proud of this great group for this courageous choice. Sexual harassment and assault is not only a problem in society but also in Wilton, with 75 families being served each year at a cost of about $350,000—these services are free of course. This number does not include the unreported incidents in the workplace, school, and other settings. Dating violence, including the use of social media, is an important and growing aspect of this problem,” deWitt explains.

The fashion show and luncheon is a popular draw every spring, with many repeat attendees; it often sells out well before the actual day of the event. It’s a powerful formula for the WWC to be able to consistently offer support in the community.

Last year, the club raised $40,000 for its 2017 beneficiary, the Wilton Youth Council (WYC). With those funds, the WYC established the Wilton Woman’s Club Initiative, specifically to fight increasing addiction to opioids. The WWC Initiative has supported actions such as the “How to Talk So Kids will Listen, and Listen So Kids will Talk” workshops, and the research and presentation of results by Dr. Suniya Luthar, who studied the needs and attitudes of adolescents in Wilton, and how to promote positive development.

This year’s luncheon will include a drawing for two tickets to see Hamilton: An American Musical on Broadway. In addition, the club will host a Silent Auction for many in-demand items, including eight possible trips to different locations such as Tuscany, Ireland, Alaska, and more. Finally, the luncheon will conclude with the ever-popular fashion show featuring new spring styles from Lord & Taylor, modeled by members of the club.

Wilton resident Elizabeth Etzbach as attended in the past. “Every year, this is a fantastic event for getting together with friends, previewing current fashion trends, having a delicious lunch, and supporting a great cause,” she says.

Tickets are available for purchase on the Wilton Woman’s Club website.

Organizers note the event would not be possible without the generous support of its sponsors:  Bankwell in Wilton, the Bauer Family Foundation, and media sponsor GOOD Morning Wilton.

The Wilton Woman’s Club was founded in 1966 and changes every year to match the changing needs of its members. Its goals are performing community service, supporting philanthropy, educating members, and strengthening social bonds between women in Wilton. Visit the club website for more information on how to join.

photo by Peggy Garbus