01 Jun About Us – Centennial Anniversary
The Junior League of Rhode Island, Inc.
Centennial Anniversary Celebration
Celebrate our rich history.
Celebrate our significant impact.
Celebrate our exciting future.
Service In Action
⚓ With more than 16,000 past and present members, The Junior League of Rhode Island, Inc. (JLRI) has been a volunteer powerhouse in the State of Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts since 1921.
⚓ JLRI is a proven training ground for women to become community and civic leaders – learning how to effectively manage a non-profit organization, fundraise and develop meaningful community service programs.
⚓ Over the past 97 years, 250+ nonprofit organizations have benefited from collaboration with The Junior League of Rhode Island.
⚓ JLRI members have contributed more than 1 million hours of volunteer service and over 1.5 million in fundraising dollars. These volunteer hours and dollars have a combined present- day value of $25 million in direct services to women, children, and families in difficult circumstances.
The Junior League of Providence, Inc. (JLP) was founded on June 9, 1921. Much like Mary Harriman who founded the Junior League movement in 1901, the Junior League of Providence was started by a young, newly married Vera Metcalf and 18 of her societal friends, all who shared a passion to improve their community at large.
Junior League Service
⚓ 1920s – 1930s: The JLP began their service with a strong focus on children, working with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, helping to create and enforce child labor laws. The Junior League also opened the Volunteer Bureau.
⚓ 1940s – 1950s: The Junior League founded the Smith Hill Girl’s Club and we made our television debut with the creation of a program on the importance of volunteers in the community.
⚓ 1960s – 1970s: The Junior League established the Juvenile Court Resource Unit and we partnered with Brown University, bringing in a Worlds Affairs Conference on China to Providence.
⚓ 1980s – 1990s: The Junior League of Providence celebrated 50 years of Service and was recognized by the State of Rhode Island for all of our work and programs on Alcohol Awareness for Women.
⚓ 1991: Big change for The Junior League of Providence – we changed our name to The Junior League of Rhode Island, Inc, to emphasis our various community work throughout the entire state.
⚓ In 1996, The Junior League of Rhode Island also published its award-winning cookbook Windows.
⚓ 2000s – 2010s: In 2001, JLRI advocated for a Breast & Cervical Cancer Treatment Bill, which was signed into law. In partnership with St. Mary’s Home for Children, JLRI donated kitchen appliances and provided many activities such as tutoring, arts & crafts, cooking classes, vocational nights, and fun social outings. At Crossroads RI, JLRI taught mini health, nutrition, and money management training sessions, supported the mobile medical van, and donated $30K toward a new respite unit. Additionally, JLRI donated $10K to Planned Parenthood and the Sexual Assault Resource Center and awarded over $10K in community service grants to local agencies. In 2007 during the 85th anniversary celebration, JLRI honored 85 women and conducted over 90 Done-in-a-Day community service projects. JLRI later partnered with The Rhode Island Community Food Bank: Women Ending Hunger Campaign and Children’s Friend and Service: Supporting Literacy for Young Children where members collected over 2 tons of food, served over 7,000 meals, hundreds of books and clothing items. JLRI also kicked off its first Karla Harry Storyteller event.
⚓ 2011 – present: JLRI Received the Michelle Norris award by Children’s Friend for volunteer service excellence. JLRI partnered with Project Autism where members provided visual aids, provided respite to parents, donated summer camp tuition for several children, and advocated on US Capitol Hill for Autism program support. JLRI provided babysitting services, donations, and respite to mothers at the Amos House Mother & Child Reunification Program. At the St. Mary’s Home for Children, members continued arts & craft nights, dinners, and holiday gift drives. JLRI sponsored several Touch-a-Truck and annual storyteller events. As a part of a national Junior League initiative to help combat childhood obesity, JLRI conducted many “Kids in the Kitchen” events and held a Weighing in On Childhood Obesity awareness forum. Over the past five years, JLRI has focused on youth aging out of foster care and partnered with Foster Forward and Boys Town New England. During this time, members provided Thanksgiving and holiday gift baskets, personal hygiene, diaper, and professional clothing drives. JLRI has supported Foster Forward’s annual Halloween and holiday distribution events. JLRI conducted several home makeovers to youth who have moved out into their own living spaces. Through a Fidelity Investments grant and in partnership with Junior Achievement, JLRI has provided financial literacy training to Boys Town foster youth. Lastly, JLRI held a state-wide awareness forum on youth aging out of foster care at Rhode Island College.
Current Community Service Project
Today, The Junior League of Rhode Island, Inc. (JLRI) recognizes foster youth aging out of the foster care system face distinct challenges and seeks to positively affect their intellectual, economic, social, mental, physical and emotional well-being. The League will support efforts to ensure that these individuals have services and opportunities for educational attainment, employment, health care, housing and financial stability. Additionally, the JLRI is committed to advocating for the welfare of all foster children and to educating its membership and greater community on this broader issue. Read more on our community focus here.
You can make your pledge to the JLRI Centennial Anniversary Campaign online now.