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 organize themselves to utilize their skills, talents and resources for community impact. They invited ten of their friends to join them, and on June 17, 1951, the West Palm Beach Charmettes were created.
The work of the initial chapter had immediate impact in the community, and soon new chapters were being developed throughout Florida and beyond. Our chapters are engaged in programs and activities that provide assistance to individuals and families in need in areas including: education, health, scholarship, and community development. In 1981, the organization adopted a national thrust to eradicate cancer in our lifetime. In addition to our cancer awareness and education programs, we have contributed more than $600,000 to the Howard University Cancer Center in Washington, D.C., to support cancer research and services. In 2006, the chemotherapy infusion center was named, “The Charmettes, Inc. Gwendolyn B. Rodgers Chemotherapy Infusion Suite”, in honor of the long term support provided to the Howard University Cancer Center.
Today, The Charmettes, Incorporated is a nationally recognized women’s community service organization, known for getting results and making a difference in the lives of African Americans and their communities. With 19 chapters active throughout Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., we are poised for even greater accomplishments in the future.
The women of The Charmettes, Incorporated are dedicated, distinguished achievers and community builders.
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.
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES
Our commitment and dedication is to our organization, our members, and to our communities;
We welcome, value, and support the diversity of skills, expertise, tools and networks of the strong African American women who make up our membership; and
We recognize the importance and benefits of supporting the eradication of cancer and partnering with historically black colleges and universities and others who share our values and support our mission.
Gwendolyn Baker Rodgers was born in West Palm Beach, Florida. She attended Bennett College in North Carolina, later transferring to Howard University in Washington, D.C. While attending Howard University, she met and married Edward Rodgers and had three children, Anthony “Tony”, Sandra “Cissie” and Edward “Eddie II”, Jr.
Charmette Gwendolyn brought her “can do” and tenacious spirit, working tirelessly to promote the development and growth of the organization. She embraced the national cancer initiative and worked to promote The Charmettes, Incorporated as a champion for the eradication of cancer. She was a beloved wife, devoted mother and a cherished grandmother that was an inspirational to all who knew her. Charmette Gwendolyn Baker Rodgers passed away in January 1994.
Frankie Drayton Thomas was born in West Palm Beach, Florida. She attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she graduated in 1950. Frankie 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.
Charmette Frankie married James Thomas, Sr., has two children, James Thomas, Jr. and Attorney Iola (Thomas) Mosely and seven grandchildren. She initiated the annual contribution to Howard University Cancer Center by the organization and was very involved in many political, social and family endeavors. She served in many capacities in her local Charmette chapter, including President, Vice President, Treasurer, Chaplain and Parliamentarian. She served the national organization as President, Vice President, Parliamentarian, Historian and Executive Director. Charmette Frankie Drayton Thomas passed away in February 2010.
About The Charmettes