The year was 1931, the country was recovering from the 1929 Stock Market Crash, the Empire State Building was finally completed and open, the Star-Spangled Banner became the U.S. National Anthem, and nine energetic and creative young ladies got together to organize what would become Entre Nous Club of Manatee County. With the help of their mother, Lillian Crichlow, Shelby and Nellie Crichlow gathered their friends together initially for the purpose of studying 20th century art. In doing so, they discovered there were local citizens and members of the community that needed assistance. Thus, they changed their purpose into a commitment towards social and civic causes, with Nellie Crichlow in leadership as the first Entre Nous President. The purpose of Entre Nous, as stated in the by-laws, “to involve members in service to the community, offer social contacts, and encourage cultural enrichment” was established. Over the past 90+ years, Entre Nous members have focused on volunteering and fundraising to support the academics by offering scholarships to further education, assist non-profit organizations within the community of Manatee County, and provide emergency relief for residents in need. In 1933, after creating a blueprint of ideas, the Club began its series of benefits to raise money for charities. Among the first interests of the Club, recipients were provided hot school lunches, free tonsillectomies, eyeglasses, and treatments for needy children. Club members worked closely with the Manatee County welfare director in answering calls for help. Entre Nous’ rich history of involvement in Manatee County and its citizens has never waned. Entre Nous has donated to numerous organizations over the years through the Community Projects committee. Non-profits that have benefitted from the efforts have included the County Historical Park, Project Hope, Healthy Start Coalition of Manatee County, S.O.L.V.E Maternity Homes, Homeless Coalition, Take Stock in Children of Manatee County, Guardian Angels of SW Fl, Special Olympics of Manatee County, and various food pantries such as F.E.L.T. (Feeding Empty Little Tummies), Our Daily Bread, and St. Joseph’s Pantry, among other non-profit organizations. In 1934, a time when women had few avenues to acquire scholarship money, the first college scholarship was presented. Over the decades, the Club has maintained the importance of valuing education, and to date has awarded more than $1 million dollars in academic scholarships. Many of these students have returned to Manatee County to serve in a variety of professional, technical and skill-based roles within their home community. By 1937-1938, Club members were involved in 12 major fund-raising projects. A fashion show was added to the benefit dances, as well as a tea dance where “the big apple” was featured. In 1938, Entre Nous served as hostess at the Bradenton Country Club to 22 officers of the Eighth Pursuit Squadron of the Army Air Corp, stationed in Sarasota. In 1951, Entre Nous sponsored First Lady Margaret Truman to sing in a concert at the Manatee County High School which drew a capacity crowd. The profits from this concert enabled Entre Nous to purchase an iron lung for Tampa Municipal Hospital in memory of Entre Nous member Carolyn Junkin’s 11-year-old son. Members were actively involved in raising much needed funds to help fight polio and continued to support the Mother’s March of Dimes and the Easter Seal Drive downtown for many years. The Club published its first cookbook, The Florida Food Fare, in 1953. Over five thousand books were printed, and that cookbook remains a much sought-after treasure to date. The first $2,000 earned from the sale of the book (at $3 each) was pledged to Happiness House, a local facility for special needs children. It is estimated that The Florida Food Fare cookbook earned over $7,500 for Entre Nous' community causes. As Entre Nous began its 30th year, the Attic Sale was added as a new undertaking for raising charity funds. The first Attic Sale, sponsored in 1960, became such a successful project that it was continued each year until 1988. In 1963, Entre Nous became the first three-time winner of the Herald’s Community Service Award. Additionally, alongside the Bradenton Herald, Entre Nous sponsored a lecture by national celebrity, Abigail Van Buren, also known as "Dear Abby". She spoke to members of Entre Nous and the community and as well addressed over 900 parents and students at Manatee High School on the issues of morality. Entre Nous' second cookbook, The Sunshine Sampler, was published in 1981. The cookbook was so successful that all 20,000 printed copies were sold. In 2007, the third and final cookbook, Treasured Traditions, was published and sold until 2016. The very first Christmas Holiday Tour of Homes was held in 1978, earning a profit of $5,000. The Tour of Homes continued to be held for 43 uninterrupted years, breaking tradition only during 2020-2021 due to Covid-19. In 1993, Entre Nous created two new fund-raisers. "A la Carte" in which members hosted themed dinner parties in their homes, raised $10,000 in the two years it was held. The Entre Nous Holiday Pantry was also added to the Tour of Homes. Canned jellies, jams, dry mixes, herb vinegars and other goodies were made by Entre Nous members and sold to patrons during the Tour of Homes. The Pantry was very successful and raised over $20,000 in the four years it was a fundraiser. The Holiday Tour of Homes rose to a new fundraising level in 1996, with the addition of corporate sponsors for the Champagne Reception. The first year of sponsorships raised an additional $10,000 alone. Each year, Tour of Home records began to be broken with profits of over $58,000 being raised in 2001. In 2020 and 2021, Covid-19 prevented the Club from offering physical attendance of the Holiday Tour of Homes. With resiliency and perseverance, the Club instead created and presented the Festival of Trees, an online auction offering beautifully decorated trees and themed packages. The two years combined raised over $60,000. As of 2022, Entre Nous has successfully fundraised over $2.4 million for the community and citizens of Manatee County. Updated June 202
Who We Are
What started out in the Fall of 1931 at the home of Nellie and Shelby Crichlow, has evolved into an organization that would make the original 9 ladies proud, Entre Nous has raised and reinvested back into the community over $2,000,000. The Club's mission statement: To inspire lifelong service, promote goodwill, and strengthen our community has never wavered. We are dedicated to giving back 100% of the profits raised to support Manatee County by providing money for scholarships, welfare, and to charities for local projects.
To quote Mahatma Gandhi:
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
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