The History of the Junior League of Kalamazoo
The Junior League of Kalamazoo recently celebrated 35 years of working to build a better community by focusing its volunteer and financial resources on the health, education and well-being of women and children.
Our Roots: The Service Club of Kalamazoo
Prior to joining the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) in 1980, the organization was known as the Service Club of Kalamazoo. The Service Club was founded in 1928 with a charter membership of 22 women. Its objective was “to cheerfully render such services of the economic, educational and civic conditions as the executive committee shall deem fit.”
Our Impact on the Community
Throughout its history, the Junior League of Kalamazoo has made a positive impact on thousands of individuals in the Kalamazoo area, supporting countless organizations over the years through its trained volunteers and financial gifts.
In 1995, the JLK received both the Governor’s Community Service Award and the AJLI/BMW Community Impact Merit Award for its work with the MOMobile and HealthConnect (now Healthy Futures) Program. In addition, our organization was invited to participate in the White House Dialogue on Maternal and Child Health.
In 1997, the JLK received an AJLI/BMW Community Impact Merit Award for Living with the Enemy and When Love Hurts. These programs were designed to enlighten the community about the cyclical damage perpetuated by domestic and relationship violence.
The JLK presented its first Festival of Trees to the community in 1989. This fundraising holiday event showcased the talent of local designers, offering uniquely decorated trees, wreaths and other holiday items. We also provided special events and a children’s area to fill every tyke’s eyes with holiday cheer.
This three-day event brought over 6,000 people downtown to enjoy the festival, downtown shopping and restaurants. Additionally, it allowed the JLK to fund its own projects and substantially increase grants to the community. This event raised more than $1.5 million over the past 20 years to meet a variety of needs in the Kalamazoo community.