The Criterion Civic Club Celebrates Founders Day


LEESBURG – The professional retired Black women showed up elegantly adorned in their black dresses, white gloves, and white pearls, ready to celebrate their organization’s Founder’s Day Sunday, January 15, 2024 at Citadel of Hope Ministries, 2795 South Street, Leesburg, Florida.

The Criterion Civic Club, Inc.’s Founder’s Day celebration honored a viable member of our community, Ms. Victoria Johnson, who opened Victoria’s Haven, a shelter for women struggling with addiction issues and homelessness, and foster children who aged out of the system. The shelter, which opened in 2016, is located at 1403 Pembroke Dr., Leesburg, Florida.

Mrs. Johnson, who received a plaque, said “I was surprised to be recognized for supporting women by the Criterion Civic Club.”

Ms. Bettye Coney, a member of the Founder’s Day committee, was elated as Pastor Dannie Williams of Citadel of Hope Ministries called her to the podium. She gave a brief history of the Criterion Civic Club, Inc., informing the audience that it was established in 1954 by women who wanted to help improve the quality of life for residents of Lake County.

Ms. Coney stated, “We have as members a doctor, civic leaders, a playwright, business and retired educators from New York as well as Florida.” She recognized the organization’s first centenarian and a longtime active member, Ms. Elsie Broomfield, a Eustis educator who celebrated her 100th birthday December 22 2023 and passed on to glory on January 8th, 2024.

Founder’s Day committee members, Ms. Bettye Coney and Ms. Brenda Major Jones, concluded the Founder’s Day event enjoying lunch at Cotton’s Kitchen in Leesburg, where they fellowshipped and discussed the services and high school scholarships that the organization still provides for the Lake County community.