The Columbus, Ohio Chapter, CARATS, Inc. experienced a three-pronged evolution into the CARAT sisterhood. The group was first known as Pivots, then Gems, and last, but certainly not least! CARATS, Inc. Three members of the original chapter, Pivot, who were installed by the national Pivot organization in 1968, were Anne Smith, Geri Lynch and Bettye Stulle. They later formed a Columbus women’s group known as The Gems. In 1971 Geri, Anne, and Bettye applied to become a new chapter of CARATS to be organized in the Columbus community. The following year, 1972, The Gems, who were sponsored by the Cleveland chapter, were inducted into the national sisterhood at the Hospitality Motor Inn. Members of this select group of women were Jean Brown, Mildred Chavous, Evelyne Jones, Gloria Jones, Geri Lynch, Anne Smith, Bettye Stull, Janet Sullivan, Helen Ware, Carline Weddington, Elsie White and Shirley Wilson. Columbus CARATS has expanded its boundaries of friendship over the years to extend membership to other women who share CARATS philosophy and values. Thus, joining the CARAT sisterhood were Urma Henderson, Karen Taylor, Cecilia McGinnis-Padgette, Sonya Bronson, Genevieve Smoot, Gloria Miller, Elaine Reece, Linda Jackson, Willola Wagstaff, Delphine Howard Lewis, Margaret Roberts , Viola Bryson, Delores Sykes (transferred to Baltimore Chapter), Caramel Russell, Clemya Matthews, Darlene Britford, Maureen Black, Toni Toler, Kathy Sullivan, Patricia Scott, Linda Williams, Monique Coleman (transferred to Atlanta Chapter), Nancy Keels, Theresa Bland, Benita Jackson-Smoot, Simone Williams, Sherry Keys-Hebron, Carolyn Williams Francis, Cheryl Capers, Deborah Bailey, Laura Commodore, Laverne Fisher, Shelly, Lawler, Mariette Polite, Davia Stevenson, Denise Hayes (General Member), Lisa Adams (General Member), and Joan Woodard. On a sad note, Chapter members lost in death were our beloved sisters Erma Henderson, Karen Taylor, Elsie M. White, Geri Lynch (Past National President), Helen Ware, Delphine Howard Lewis, Viola Bryson, Mildred Chavous, Cecilia McGinnis-Padgette, and Carmel Russell. Never forgotten, they will always be in our hearts, “Forever CARATS”.
The Columbus CARATS first major social event was a “Wine and Roses” dinner-dance which was held in 1972 at the Stoney Creek Country Club. This established our local organization as one of the city’s premiere social connections. The next social event was the CARATS Annual Holiday Brunch, which sparkled with beautiful décor, tasty cuisine all done in CARAT Style. This brunch became the premiere social event that kicked off the holiday season in the Columbus community.
Columbus Chapter has always been actively involved at the national level in that many CARATS held national offices and served on national committees: namely, Geri Lynch, Janet Sullivan and Gloria Miller and Maureen Black, Past National Presidents; Carat Maureen Black was also Past National Financial Secretary, National 1st VP, National Archives Chair, and National Sargent At Arms. Mildred Chavous and Cecilia McGinnis-Padgette Past National Treasurer; Anne Smith, Past National Corresponding Chair; Margaret Roberts, Past National Parliamentarian and Past National Nominating Chair; Linda Williams, Past Budget and Finance Chair and Past Policy and Guidelines Chair; and Darlene Britford, Past National Amenities Chair. The 2020-2022 National Officers are: Darlene Britford, National Amenities Chair; Linda Williams, National Audit Chair, and Carat Sherry Keys-Hebron, 2021-2022 National Nominating Chair. The 2021-2023 Columbus Chapter Officers are: Linda Williams, President; Laura Commodore, Vice President; Clemya Matthew, Recording Secretary; Joan Woodard, Corresponding Secretary; Mariette Polite, Treasurer; Deborah Bailey, Financial Secretary; Maureen Black, Historian; and Sherry Keys-Hebron, Parliamentarian.
Presently, the Columbus Chapter of CARATS, Inc. is composed of 17 active members, four (4) Emeritus members, two (2) life members and two (2) general members who meet the third Saturday of each month from September until June. The Columbus Chapter, CARATS Inc. has continued its flare of fashion, fun and friendship throughout its many elegant social events and monthly meetings. During the 2020 Pandemic, the monthly meetings were held on ZOOM, a virtual platform. After the meetings we socialized, laughed, played virtual games, and celebrated the holiday season with joy and sisterly love. In 2021 when the Pandemic restrictions were slightly lifted, Columbus Carats changed their meeting format to monthly Hybrid meetings. Our business meetings were conducted on ZOOM and immediately following the meetings, the hostess invited the membership to lunch. The Columbus Carats were greeted with genuine hospitality and dined in stunning settings with impressive menus and good spirits. It was always a wonderful time to socialize, talk, celebrate, and indulge. Our theme song is “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” By artist McFadden and Whitehead and our motto remains “Friendship and Fun CARAT style”.