UPDATED January 29, 2017


2017 THEME



Historical Evolvement:

- McLean County Association for Home and Community Education (HCE), ( 2001- present)
- Formerly known as Homemakers Extension Association (HEA), (1962-2001)
- Formerly known as Home Bureau, (1920-1962)
- Formerly known as McLean County Home Improvement Association,  Organized 1918
  Cooperating With U.S. Department of Agriculture and University of Illinois Extension

HCE Members affiliated with:

         - Illinois Association for Home and Community Education (IAHCE)
       - National Volunteer Outreach Network (NVON)

       - Country Women's Council, USA  (CWC)
       - Association Country Women of the World (ACWW)


       The ACWW is an international association composed of country women and

       homemaker organizations. This organization grew out of a conference of women

       held in 1930. Each member of a constituent organization is a member of this association




6TH Floor, Vincent House, Vincent Square

London SW1p 2NB, England


ACWW stands for the Associated Country Women of the World.  It is the largest international organization of rural women and homemakers, currently representing millions through the linking of over 376 country women’s clubs and societies in 64 countries, each with their own national characteristics and independent activities.  It has consultative, non-governmental status with certain United Nations agencies, and has a uniquely down to earth approach in promoting international goodwill and offering practical help to its members.  Through projects in rural communities, ACWW aims to improve the standard of living for all women and their families in: health and nutrition, housing and fresh water supply, literacy, small-scale agricultural and income-generating schemes, and leadership training that encourage women to play a full part in the development of their communities. 


Membership dues have always been set at a low level so that eligible societies are not prevented from joining because of cost.  Other means of financing the ongoing work and infrastructure of ACWW had to be found – in 1939, then Chairman of Finance, Mrs. Godfrey Drage, had the idea of asking every member of every ACWW society to donate at least the smallest coin of her country each year to enable the continuation of essential work on behalf of other women and their families.  This voluntary fund has become the lifeblood of ACWW, and it is known as PENNIES FOR FRIENDSHIP.  Today  nothing functions without these PENNIES – ACWW projects administration, United Nations links, Officers’ Conferences, and the Countrywoman Magazine, are all supported by Pennies for Friendship.


Collecting these valuable PENNIES – many member societies arrange a central collection through their branches each year, and pass on the total to ACWW.  But PENNIES can also be individual donations, collections at members’ meetings, the result of fund-raising sales, competitions and sponsorship events – held perhaps on ACWW Day, April 29 each year.  Every country has its own name for PENNIES, and some members like to give, say, the equivalent of a loaf of bread or a cup of coffee.  EVERY PENNY COUNTS!


ACWW depends totally on YOUR generosity to enable the continuation of vital work on behalf of women striving to improve the quality of family life in rural areas, and is grateful for all donations given in Friendship and Support of the work THAT WE ARE DOING TOGETHER:  ACWW works with women worldwide!


What kinds of projects do our “pennies” support?


The many “coins” from the U.S. are joined by coins from Germany, England, Canada, Wales, Australia, South Africa…and other countries.  Some of the coins remain in London to run the office of the ACWW.  They also will be used to help support grants given by the United Nations for field work in developing countries or informing member societies of help available through these grants.  The coins help ACWW members speak for rural women and homemakers at United Nations meetings or arrange seminars in literacy, nutrition and child care in developing nations.  They’ve been used in India to fight nutritional blindness and help fund skill training in agriculture, day care centers, home economics and income-generating programs for women.  ACWW have helped fund beekeeping in Botswana, palm oil production in Ghana, sunflower production in Cameroon, goat raising in Haiti, and malnutrition, safe water, unemployment, disease, illiteracy in many other nations.  With the help of UNESCO funds, ACWW pennies have provided tube wells in Assam, Bengal and Pak istan and water storage tanks in the South Pacific.


Coins collected also are used to support such projects as IFYE, International Peace Garden, Mini-Stipends, Feed Women of the World, Safe Water and Our International Homemaker Exchange Program.  The following is part of a reprint from Water For All, project #71: “The high incidence of water and sanitation-related diseases world-wide is staggering.  The alarming truth is that every year millions die from dehydration caused by diarrheal diseases transmitted by polluted water and unhygienic conditions.  Women and children are principal sufferers and ACWW is committed to helping women and their families through Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade. The provision of clean drinking water and basic facilities was and still is a high priority.  In 1993 ongoing water projects in Africa, South Pacific, Indian subcontinent and the Far East are bringing the benefits of improved health, hygiene and subsistence food production to remote villages.”




Collect “pennies” from all members during the year or in the month of October.  Then send the collected amounts of money to our McLean County HCE treasurer by OCTOBER 25th of each year.  Money is only sent to the state organization one time each year.  Save your money in each unit until this October 25th date.  In November, 2014 McLean County HCE will send in money to IAHCE for Pennies for Friendship that was collected from all Home and Community Education units (groups).  We thank you for: helping women helping women, fighting hunger, disease and poverty, and to help build bridges for friendship between nations.


UPDATED 01.29.2017