In 1901, Mary Harriman, a 19 year-old woman from a socially prominent family, started the first Junior League in New York City to involve those more fortunate in helping people in need. Through the new organization, called the Junior League for the Promotion of the Settlement Movement, volunteers worked in settlement houses on New York's lower East Side to improve child health, nutrition and literacy. In 1921, thirty Junior Leagues formed what will become the Association of Junior Leagues International to collectively advance their work. Dorothy Whitney Straight was named first President of the newly formed group.
In 1931, 61 Columbus ladies came together to form the Community Service League. In the first year of its existence, the League gave 4,595 hours of service. In 1936, the Community Service League was accepted into the Association of Junior Leagues of America, joining visionary women across the United States who believed they could improve their respective communities through active volunteerism. Their legacy is alive today with that same vision and commitment.
The Junior League of Columbus currently includes a membership of Active and Sustaining members of over 750 dedicated women. Our Active members give more than 5,000 hours of volunteer service to the community each year. We have also contributed more than $1 million to the community in our focus areas since our founding.
Over the years, the Junior League of Columbus has been instrumental in many worthwhile projects that make our community a better place. Some of those projects include: opening the first pediatric wing at the old City Hospital, equipping children's playrooms at the Medical Center, helping the Historic Columbus Committee get started, working to save the Springer Opera House and many other locally significant historic structures from the wrecking ball, providing significant funding to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Medical Center, equipping the children's Transformations Gallery at the Columbus Museum, and helping establish the local Ronald McDonald House. We will continue this legacy of service and commitment to our community as we go forward into the future.