2012 MARY HARRIMAN AWARD Winner
Interview with Anne McDonald Milling
The Junior League of New Orleans
Causes/Issue Area(s): Voluntarism, Environment
Honors/Achievements: Created the "Women of the Storm" initiative
This year’s winner of the Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award is Anne McDonald Milling of the Junior League of New Orleans. Milling is nothing short of a powerhouse. She is a passionate and disciplined volunteer who’s never met a noble cause she didn’t get behind, a renegade reformer who is relentlessly committed to the health and welfare of her community, and a persuasive advocate who has used her skills, her network, and her voice to make a positive and enduring impact on her beloved city of New Orleans.
Milling's accomplishments are the stuff of Big Easy legend. From hunger to AIDS, good government to ethics reform, coastal restoration to diversity and inclusion, she has proved herself to be a standard-bearer for civic leadership and an ardent keeper of the Mary Harriman flame.
Among her many good works, one in particular stands out. In January 2006, in the destructive wake of Hurricane Katrina, Milling conceived of the now-famous initiative she called, "Women of the Storm." With a culturally, economically, and socially diverse group of 130 women, she traveled to Washington to extend personal invitations to members of Congress to tour the storm’s devastation first-hand. Having borne witness to the magnitude of the tragedy, these legislative leaders ultimately approved funding for a critical housing restoration initiative for the citizens of New Orleans.
With the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in the spring of 2010, Women of the Storm sprang into action again producing a video campaign called “Be the One” that featured several influential celebrities who lobbied for funding for coastal restoration. The campaign garnered some 100,000 signatures in just 100 hours.
A Junior League of New Orleans past President and Sustainer of the Year, Milling has served organizations and institutions in all aspects of her community, including the City of New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board, Loyola University of New Orleans, Longue Vue House and Gardens, the NPR Foundation, the Louisiana Superdome Commission, Tulane University, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
Her work consistently bears the hallmark of a true servant leader: a conviction that her greatest power lies in her ability to bring others to the fight and to cultivate in them a passion as unwavering as her own.