"Charm is the Essence of a Woman's Power"
It is a distinct honor to extend to you, on behalf of the National Executive Board and our 20 chapters, a welcome to The Charmettes, Incorporated's national website. We are “Elevating Leadership with the Spirit of Charm”.
Our founders, friends Gwendolyn Baker Rodgers and Frankie Drayton Thomas, recognized the need for an organization which would bring together women with similar ideas, principles and backgrounds. These women are and forever will remain our anchors. As we elevate leadership with the spirit of charm, we are determined to move forward and advance while embracing the ethos of these anchors as our motivation.
We invite you to peruse the pages of this site and familiarize yourself with our 71-year history and our current initiatives. With nearly $900,000.00 having been donated to the Howard University Cancer Center through our efforts, we are certain that you will be inspired to collaborate with us in our quest to eradicate Cancer within our lifetime.
Indeed, “Charm is the Essence of a Woman's Power!”
Cecily Robinson-Duffie, Esq.
22nd National President
The Charmettes, Incorporated
The Charmettes, Inc.
Who We Are
The Charmettes, Incorporated is a national civic organization that had its beginnings when friends Gwendolyn Baker Rodgers and Frankie Drayton Thomas recognized the need for an organization that would bring together women with similar ideas, principles and backgrounds to utilize their skills, talents and resources to make positive and lasting changes in the community.
They invited ten of their friends to join them, and on June 17, 1951, the West Palm Beach Charmettes was created. Their impact in the community was felt immediately and the service and contributions of the group continued to grow. A national organization was born as new groups were formed in Florida, Washington, D.C., Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.
In 1981, The Charmettes, Incorporated adopted a national thrust to support research and services to find a cure for cancer in our lifetime. In 2006, recognition of The Charmettes long-term support, The Howard University Cancer Center named its cancer infusion center, “The Charmettes, Inc., Gwendolyn B. Rogers, Chemotherapy Infusion Suite
"The Charmettes, Incorporated is a sisterhood of dedicated women committed to improving the quality of life within our communities through advocacy, education, service and support for cancer research."
Gwendolyn Baker Rodgers
Gwendolyn Baker Rodgers was born to Portia and Oscar Baker in West Palm Beach, Florida. “Gwen”, as she was affectionately called, spent most of her life in South Florida. She attended Palm Beach County Schools, graduating from Industrial High School in 1944. She attended Bennett College in North Carolina, later transferring to Howard University in Washington, D.C.
While attending Howard, she met and married Edward Rodgers. To this union three children were born: Anthony “Tony”, Sandra “Cissie” and Edward “Eddie II”, Jr. Gwen was a creative, loyal and dedicated person. Her tenacious spirit was evident in every task she undertook. She brought this “can do” spirit to The Charmettes. Gwen worked tirelessly to promote the growth and development of this organization. She was steadfast in her belief that Charmettes should play a vital role in the African American community. She embraced the national project and worked to promote The Charmettes as a champion for the eradication of cancer.
Not only was Gwen a dedicated Charmette, but she was an active and faithful member of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church. Gwen was a beloved wife, devoted mother and a cherished grandmother. She was an inspirational friend to all who knew her.
We appreciate the annual grant from the Gwen Baker Rodgers Memorial Fund of the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties.
Frankie Drayton Thomas
Frankie Drayton Thomas was born in May 1928 in West Palm Beach, Florida and was a member of the Industrial High Class of 1946. She graduated from Howard University, Washington, D.C. in 1950.
Frankie later earned a master’s degree in public administration from Florida International University. She returned to West Palm Beach and became the first black college-trained social worker hired by the Department of Public Welfare. She enjoyed a career as a social worker in both Florida and Washington.
She was the co-founder of The Charmettes, Incorporated, where she served in many capacities in her local chapter, including President, Vice President, Treasurer, Chaplain and Parliamentarian. She served the national organization as President, Vice President, Parliamentarian, Historian and Executive Director. Frankie contributed to writing many of The Charmettes, Incorporated’s major documents, and her knowledge of our process and procedures was singular.
She initiated the annual contribution to Howard University Cancer Center and was very involved in many political, social and family endeavors. A friend to many, an advisor, a social worker and a useful active citizen, Charmette Frankie married James Thomas, Sr., and had two children, James Thomas, Jr. and Attorney Iola Thomas Mosley. She passed peacefully on Saturday, February 27, 2010.