top of page

About Chums

Mary Barnes, Joyce Tate Brown, and Theodora Jackson -formed a social club and name it after their friendship:  Character and charm we strive to attain,  Honesty and humility are always our aim, Understanding and unselfishness we exhibit each day, Modesty and moderation light our pathway - CHUMS."   Their legacy is carried on by 40 Chapters throughout the U.S. 

Chums, Inc. is a national organization that began in Norfolk, Virginia when three women -  Mary Barnes, Joyce Tate Brown, and Theodora Jackson - got together in friendship and from there built an national organization that now includes our Cleveland Chapter


The idea for Chums came about on a cold, rainy night in February of 1946. The three founders were sitting in Barnes' red Ford convertible. The war was officially over, each of the young women had a boyfriend serving in the military who wasn't home yet, and segregation was still the norm. That particular night, the three friends couldn't think of anything to do so they decided to form a social club and name it after their friendship "Chums."  

About Us Cover Pic

Chums Cleveland Chapter was formally installed in May 1968.  Since then, we have proudly served our community, given freely of our time, and lived up to the National Chums motto:

"listen to the children . . . enrich their lives."

Chums, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for women to meet in friendship and fun, to encourage the spirit of helpfulness, and to use their many talents in service to the community.  

Chums, Inc Cleveland Chapter is a 501(c)(3) organization. Your generous gift is fully tax-deductible and will help us fund our mission to help those in need. 

Cleveland Chums Incorporated find creative ways to support our communities through the building up of our children.  It's staggering to consider the statistics of our children that are minorities, disenfranchised, or come from low socio-economic backgrounds.  Many of the troubles our society faces stem from:

•    High school drop-out rates

•    Illiteracy

•    Child homelessness

Chums Non-Profit
Barbara J. Neville, National President

Our Mission


As we close out 75 Years of Chums, Incorporated, I look forward to year 76. As the 20th National President, it is my privilege to lead and serve you. We embark on a journey that will be very familiar yet very different. Familiar in terms of our principles and purpose. Different in terms of a more focused, intentional, and innovative path. We must live out our founders’ purpose of innovation and growth. As I stated earlier this year, our founders were trailblazers and visionaries. Status quo was not their legacy. Intentional Excellence is our mantra!


Our Past National President, Chum Elizabeth Saunders, also took us on a journey. “Chums on the Move” was intentional and necessary. The Covid-19 Pandemic that put our lives on hold only made the journey slower. It did not stop us. We achieved extraordinary accomplishments during extraordinary and sometimes devastating times.


As Chums, and based on our constitution, we have a fiduciary duty to leave our communities and, especially our children, in a better place. Our children are more in need of our support than ever before. Covid not only effected our immune health, it left families without jobs and consequently health insurance, housing, sub-standard education, mental health concerns, food shortages and much more. As a result, our children need us more than ever. We must step up our level of service…we must make an impact in our communities. I am asking for active participation to ensure our success. Intentional Excellence requires us to utilize all our experience and talents to make the biggest impact in our communities. Your ideas and suggestions are necessary to embark on this journey. I can’t wait to see what we can do when we commit to the process of service.


And finally Chum Sisters, I ask you to embrace your own uniqueness and talents. You are the key…our secret weapon…to innovate and grow our organization; to make a significant impact on our communities. If we lead with HEART, LOVE and COMMITMENT, we serve with HEART, LOVE and COMMITMENT!

God bless each of you as we embark on this journey together!


Yours in Service and Sisterhood,


Barbara J. Neville

National President


Chums Event Cleveland
Get In Touch

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page