The Association of Volunteers: Women’s History Month

The Association of Volunteers at Women’s College Hospital was founded in 1915 as an auxiliary, creating a legacy that still endures more than a century later.

Members of the Cradle Club (Mrs. Gordon Neill and Mrs. Douglas McKnight) with dolls ready to be gifted to children of the hospital’s outpatient clinic, 1933

One of the earliest working groups of the Association of Volunteers was the Cradle Club, a group of young women spending their free time devoted to positively impacting the health of birthing women. Women’s College Hospital was one of the few institutions in the city successfully fighting maternal mortality. The Cradle Club supported their fight through funding advanced medical equipment – including the hospital’s first incubator. While the Cradle Club’s success was often measured in dollars raised and baby clothes sewn, its real value lies in the huge impact it had on the health of mothers and babies in Toronto, especially amongst the poor and working class.

Members of the Association of Volunteers at Women’s College Hospital, 2020.

Today, the Association of Volunteers is represented on the Hospital’s Board of Directors and continues to uphold the values of original members of the Cradle Club. The Association of Volunteers has supported facility improvements and numerous aid projects. In addition to fundraising, the Association of Volunteers supports Women’s College Hospital through service: volunteers assist in waiting rooms, staff information desks, and provide administrative support in clinics.  

Volunteers are integral in supporting the hospital’s mission of advancing and advocating for health equity and developing solutions for the most pressing health system challenges.

Learn more about how you can volunteer with Women’s College Hospital.