Skills for Impact

a national initiative to take on crime and delinquency

skills for impact book

Various Leagues under the auspices of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.

Issue Area(s): criminal justice, juvenile justice

Metric of Success (if quantifiable/available): The nationwide Crime Stoppers program is one of the legacies of the initiative.


In 1973, with the aid of a grant from the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Association secured the services of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency and began planning the four-year IMPACT program, which was designed to enable local Leagues to reduce crime and delinquency through changes to the criminal justice system.

How it works

League members worked as one-on-one client volunteers, planners, researchers, administrators, fundraisers, advocates, catalysts, and coalition-builders in a range of areas including crime prevention, rehabilitation, diversion, law enforcement, court reform, and corrections. Their experiences and findings were compiled into a handbook entitled “Skills for Impact: Voluntary Action in Criminal Justice” which was used to enable other organizations interested in answering the challenge laid out in the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice in 1965:

"Every American can translate his concern about, or fear of, crime, into positive action. Every American should."

What’s the impact?

The program inspired approximately 190 engagements by more than 3,000 volunteers. Leagues spent more than $1.5 million of their own funds and raised approximately $7.5 million in outside monies for projects designed to be taken over by local community agencies.

With a grant from Sears Roebuck and Co. and an expert advisory panel, the Association developed a film entitled “Criminal Justice in a Nation of Orphans” that sought to raise awareness among the general public of the problems in the criminal justice system and some promising attempts to remedy it. The film was viewed by more than 10 million people.

The Crime Stoppers program is also a legacy of the initiative.