The King’s Daughters movement began in New York City in 1886 as a faith based effort to assist women and girls. Members formed small “Circles” which undertook various projects. The movement arrived in Springfield in 1888 when ten women from Christ Church organized the City’s first Circle. By 1892 there were 26 King’s Daughter’s Circles in Springfield, and the decision was made to unify behind a single purpose. In June 1893, the King’s Daughters (KDO) incorporated with a mission of providing a home for women, especially elderly women. The mission became reality in 1895, when KDO acquired the Post Home on Black Avenue, near Lincoln Park. The house which sits high on a hill overlooking the former Ursuline Academy had been the home to Charles W. Post who went on to found the Post Cereal Company.
For over 100 years, the King’s Daughters’ Home provided an affordable, quality living environment for women from our community. Due to changing times and needs, the Home was sold to Springfield College in Illinois/Benedictine University in 2006. The Circles refocused their efforts to serve a broader scope of senior citizens all across Sangamon County through grants and hands on volunteer efforts.
Hands on service has always been a hallmark of KDO. Circle members continue that tradition today, volunteering for such programs as the Red Cross Meals on Wheels and Senior Services Daily Bread. Circle members assist with activities at the Illinois Presbyterian Home Fair Hills Residence and the Senior Services Center and collect food for several local food pantries. Additionally, through annual grants, KDO provides financial support to programs that enhance the quality of life for older residents throughout Sangamon County.
In May 2022, KDO awarded $185,000 in 18 grants to 15 not-for-profit organizations for programs ranging from construction of residential wheelchair ramps through Habitat for Humanity, to vision expenses not covered by Medicare, to basic necessities, to adaptive dance classes for individuals with Parkinson Disease. This brings the total of grants awarded since 2008 to over $2 million.
The King’s Daughters Organization will host its 74th Luncheon and Style Show on Columbus Day, October 10, 2022 at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield. The theme is “Back Together Again” as the organization celebrates a return to an annual style show following a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are selling quickly. To learn more about the organization, visit www.KDOSpringfield.org.