What We’re Thinking (the JL blog)


In June, communities across the globe pause to raise awareness for refugees, specifically on World Refugee Day. Fifteen years ago, the United Nations General Assembly designated this international observance day to raise awareness for the millions of refugees living around the world.
Even if you are not familiar with World Refugee Day, chances are you heard the political debate raging around this issue, both in the United States and Europe.
Politics aside, let’s take a look at what the Junior League of Cincinnati (JLC) is doing to help the refugees living in …


Good question.
Some people think that the Internet and the all-encompassing digital age it brought means that we don’t. After all, information is available to anyone, at any time, with access to a computer. So just Google it!
Standing in opposition to that simplistic argument is a movement that views the expansion of the role of public libraries as incredibly important to our society and culture. Here’s what the Aspen Institute says in a report calling for a “re-envisioning” of the public library.
“But this new world of ‘information plenty’ creates new, essential …


It took six years, but the tireless work of many, including the Junior League of St. Louis, led to the recent signing into law of Missouri House Bill 1583 regarding student safety and, more specifically, bullying.
According to a policy brief from the National Education Association, bullying and cyberbullying behavior is on the rise across the country, with 77 percent of public school students bullied mentally, verbally or physically, and one out of five students involved in doing some bullying. That’s a huge problem, and aside from creating a negative school …


Do you know someone who has achieved measurable community impact and, in doing so, represents outstanding acts of public service? Does that person perform these acts without the expectation of recognition or compensation? And does this person demonstrate unique vision, dedication and tenacity of heroic proportion and serve as inspiration for others?
Well, we now know for sure that Gail Houlihan, a long-time member of the Junior League of Greater Princeton and former member of the Junior Leagues of New Jersey State Public Affairs, does because she has been awarded the …


It’s no secret that women are critical to the nation’s military branches, whether as serving members or as the wives who keep families together during long and often dangerous deployments of loved ones. Leaving the military to rejoin civilian life also has its own hurdles.
That’s why a growing number of Junior Leagues have turned to programs that address the needs of military families both while they are serving and as they are leaving the service.
A great example is Between the Lines, a national program begun by the Junior League of …


Force for Good—Community First Foundation’s online giving director and Junior League of Denver member, Dana Rinderknecht, sparked $83 million in donations to nonprofits during five 24-hour donation events.
Looking back over the last six years, why has Colorado Gives Day been so successful? Are Coloradans simply more generous than people in other state?
We started Colorado Gives Day because historically Coloradans gave below the national average. I believe that was because no one was asking them to give and they didn’t have a safe and secure place to give. So that is …


Urban open spaces are vital community assets. They not only bring communities together, but accumulating evidence suggests that both the conservation of open space and the creation of city parks are investments that produce many benefits. Aside from providing opportunities for increased physical activity and social interaction, public parks and open spaces can lessen climate, air and water pollution impacts on public health.
And each of those benefits translates into economic benefits. The Trust for Public Land’s Measuring the Economic Value of a City Park System outlines ways in which cities …


Bertina Whytehead was introduced to the Philadelphia Orchard Project (POP) in 2013 through her work with the Junior League of Philadelphia. Now, she’s President-elect of POP! Aside from holding various leadership positions in the League, she has also volunteered with Girls Inc. of Philadelphia and Southeastern New Jersey. We asked Bertina how important Junior League membership and leadership training has been to her.
The Philadelphia Orchard Project sounds like a great League project. How did it come about?
Founded in 2007 by economic development pioneer Paul Glover, POP is part of a …


The answer seems obvious, right? But creating broad awareness of the true importance of nutrition as a public policy issue, and not just a matter of personal choice, is not so easy.
That’s something The Junior League has long championed. In fact, shortly after its founding in 1910, the Junior League of Brooklyn successfully petitioned the New York City Board of Education to provide free lunches in schools.
And that’s why National Nutrition Month, celebrated in March, is so important. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which launched the event in 1973, ties …


Nancy Reagan was many things in a long, productive and often glamorous life. Born in modest circumstances in New York City, she went on to become a Hollywood movie star in the 1940s and 1950s. Wife of a California governor and, later, of the 40th President of the United States, she traveled around the world, meeting popes and presidents. And through it all, she was known as her husband’s best friend and closest advisor.
She was also very much her own person. Mrs. Reagan used her own bout with breast cancer, …