The Founder of IODE Canada, historically known as the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire, was Margaret Polson Murray. Upon her death in January of 1927, she left behind a remarkable legacy: an organization with a unique identity, based solely upon two ideals, patriotism and charity. She was a woman of vision, strength, passion, dedication and creativity, known for her parallel efforts of formulating and documenting the aims and structure of IODE, while at the same time, tirelessly encouraging and persuading women in her circle of influence to join the fledgling organization.
In reading her history, I found that all did not go smoothly during IODE’s formative years of 1900 to 1907; she overcame many personal conflicts and lack of support from inside and outside the organization. She preferred to work in the role of Honorary Secretary, a strategic position in which she felt she could keep the IODE movement growing. She never held the position of National President. It was not until the National Annual Meeting in April of 1919, that she was recognized and honoured for her unique and remarkable body of work, the formation of IODE. At this historic meeting, she was presented with a magnificent, jeweled badge of the Order, a gift from all the chapters in the province of Quebec. This badge has been subsequently presented to forty-one National Presidents upon their installation, a tangible reminder of the remarkable leadership of Margaret Polson Murray.
I often wonder what Mrs. Murray would think about the significant challenges IODE faces today, that is, membership rejuvenation and the structural changes we need to make to modernize our organization and its Constitution, to comply with new federally mandated regulations.
What would she say to us?
I believe that she would say that she is proud of our vision, as outlined in our mission statement. For 113 years, we have supported her two ideals of patriotism and charity. IODE’s citizenship programs, education support and service projects enhance the quality of life for individuals living in our communities. Our members collectively make a significant financial impact in Canada with their volunteer hours and charitable endeavours.
She would be proud to know that the Constitution Committee is working diligently to review IODE’s Constitution in order to create a new By-Law as required by the 2011 Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act. Members will have the opportunity to vote on proposed changes this year, when a special edition of Echoes is sent out this spring. If approval is gained, the committee will submit the new charter documents as Articles of Continuance before the October 2014 deadline.
I know Mrs. Murray would be proud of the leadership, positive energy, strength and passion that our members are displaying from coast to coast and north to the Yukon in their efforts to grow our membership, as she did 113 years ago. They are focused to build on the Momentum that last year’s Making Connections membership campaign started, to ensure the longevity of IODE.
I believe that 2013 will be a special year for IODE as our members dedicate themselves to carrying on Margaret Polson Murray’s remarkable legacy for decades to come.
With warmest regards,