New York, May 20, 2016 – Innovation by individual Junior Leagues was recognized at the 94th Annual Conference of The Association of Junior Leagues International through the presentation of Junior League Awards in areas ranging from community impact to fundraising to leadership development. The event, which brought together women from among 291 Junior Leagues in four countries, was held in Atlanta from May 12th-14th.
AJLI President Ellen Rose, a member of the Junior League of the City of New York, said, “The depth of innovation contained in the work by these twelve Junior Leagues demonstrates the creative power of women as volunteers committed to creating lasting community impact. It’s also noteworthy that these awards were made in the 115th anniversary year of the founding of The Junior League. The powerful example of our founder, Mary Harriman, lives on in the work that these and all of our Leagues do every day.”
The 2016 honorees are:
Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures Community Impact Award
Winner: The Junior League of Collin County’s JuMP program (as in “juvenile mentoring program”) is a serious attempt to deal with a problem with far-reaching impact on young offenders, their families and their communities. Working with the county’s Juvenile Probation Services, JLCC volunteers serve as mentors for 12-to-15-year-old kids on probation for the first time for non-violent, misdemeanor offenses using a unique curriculum grounded in teen-focused topics like self-esteem, appropriate internet use, healthy relationships, and life skills training.
Honorable Mention: Working through a strong partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of the East Valley, the Junior League of Phoenix has expanded its participation in the Junior Leagues’ Kids in the Kitchen program from one chef working with five girls in 2005 to twelve events serving more than 1,200 kids last year. JLP’s Kids in the Kitchen also now has four core programs – including one with diabetes-friendly cooking classes that supply diabetes prevention and management tools.
Fund Development Award
Winner: Fund development is never far from the minds of League leaders. That’s why the Junior League of Houston’s Community Endowment initiative, launched in 2000 to celebrate the League’s 75th anniversary, represents a concept that is simple but powerful…to ensure that funds are available, in good times and bad, to support League programs and initiatives through a permanent endowment. And that’s what JLH members did…raising $10 million over the course of a three-year fundraising campaign.
Honorable Mention: The Junior League of the Quad Cities’ I AM Strong 5K Mudventure Race is not only a great fund-raiser, it also provides an opportunity to collaborate with area businesses to support local charities that benefit women and children. The women’s-only mini-marathon (with mud) is an event that offers participants a chance to bond and support one another through a fun, but physically challenging exercise.
Marketing & Communication Award
Winner: The Junior League of London’s Little Black Dress Initiative is an innovative poverty awareness campaign where participants commit to wearing the same black dress for five days to raise awareness of how poverty limits people’s resources, confidence and opportunities. The impact of direct personal contact socially and in the work place, combined with creative use of social media, has been a conversation starter about the impact of poverty in London as well as JLL’s story as an important agent of change in the London community.
Honorable Mention: The Junior League of New Orleans’ Diaper Bank program addresses a serious problem for as many as one in three U.S. families in the U.S. – struggling with the high cost of diapers. Using a comprehensive strategy put together by members with professional experience in marketing and communications, JLNO educated the New Orleans community about diaper need through diaper drives, community engagement and volunteer involvement.
Winner: Some 35 years ago, the Junior League of DeKalb County saved the historic Mary Gay House in Decatur, GA from destruction and transformed it into League headquarters as well as a beautiful rental facility for weddings and other events. After five years of declines in rental revenues cut dramatically into funds available for League activities and initiatives, however, a major renovation and repositioning of the facility was required – and successfully implemented, with revenues up an anticipated 179% since the start of the project in 2013.
Honorable Mention: After more than 80 years, the Junior League of Phoenix moved from a one-size-fits-all board to a new governance structure that separates key functions into a governing board and a management team. The benefits include increasing financial responsibility and sustainability, improving membership growth and retention, increasing the leadership pool, and increasing the League’s brand recognition in the Phoenix community.
Member Recruitment & Engagement Award
Winner: Faced with a serious decline in new members, the Junior League of San Angelo allowed new members to tailor their JLSA experience to match their lifestyle and interests. Then it fully immersed Provisional members in League life through a new curriculum. Finally, the League engineered an ambitious social media campaign to showcase its projects, membership and mission to a much larger audience of potential members.
Honorable Mention: An ingenious networking event allowed the Junior League of Midland to re-involve Sustaining members as well as former members. The Second Tuesday Club holds social events every second Tuesday from September through April at League headquarters, in members’ homes, or in local cultural centers. Due to the overwhelming response, after only two years, membership in the Second Tuesday Club is now at full capacity.
Leadership Development Award
Winner: The Junior League of Cincinnati’s four-year-old Board Bank program develops the leadership potential of League members by training them to be successful nonprofit board members and then helping to place them on nonprofit boards within the Cincinnati community. For many Board Bank graduates the program is a bridge to serving on their first nonprofit board. For others, it’s a chance to deepen their experience on the nonprofit boards on which they already serve.
Public Policy & Advocacy Award
Winner: Since 2008, the Junior League of Los Angeles’ Community Leadership Forum has sponsored conferences on pressing issues like early childhood literacy, education, foster youth and human trafficking. Government agencies, nonprofits and issues advocates are part of the mix as speakers, and the events are open to the community at large, not just League members. The 2015 forum brought together experts from the city, state and federal levels to discuss "The Disturbing Link between Foster Youth and Human Trafficking."
In addition, long-time Junior League of Toronto member Martha “Martie” Strayer Russel received the 2016 Mary Harriman Award for Community Leadership, The Junior League’s most prestigious member award, and the Junior League of the City of New York’s DeNora Getachew and the Junior League of Phoenix’s Jessica Eldridge received Rising Star Awards, which recognize and celebrate emerging leaders from within the 291 Junior Leagues.
About The Association of Junior Leagues International
Founded in 1901 by New Yorker and social activism pioneer, Mary Harriman, the Junior Leagues are charitable nonprofit organizations of women, developed as civic leaders, creating demonstrable community impact.
Today, The Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) is comprised of more than 150,000 women in 291 Junior Leagues throughout Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. Together, they constitute one of the largest, most effective volunteer organizations in the world.
Tracy Van Buskirk
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