Junior League of Chicago


The Junior League, one of the oldest, largest and most effective women’s volunteer organizations in the world, has matured and evolved since it was founded by social activism pioneer Mary Harriman in 1901.

The Junior League of Chicago was founded in 1912 by Lucy McCormick Blair Linn. The initial focus was to interest young women in the industrial and social issues of the city, research ways to effectively address those issues and to bring about positive change, and to set an example for others about the importance of civic welfare. The objectives of the founding members have remained constant throughout the years and to this day include

  • Developing projects in response to the ever-changing needs of the community
  • Developing, funding, and staffing projects and ultimately turning them over to the community as independent organizations

Mission Statement

Junior League of Chicago, Inc. is a metropolitan organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. The Junior League of Chicago, Inc. reaches out to women of all races, religions and national origins who demonstrate an interest in and a commitment to voluntarism.


Issue Area

The Junior League has three focus areas in the Community:

For more than a century, the JLC has diligently worked to empower at-risk families—especially women and girls—through hands-on mentoring, advocacy and education. Our Community projects and focus fall into the following categories:

  • Health Education
  • Adult Life Skills
  • Education in the Arts
  • Mentoring
  • Combination of mentoring
  • Education and Advocacy


Our commitment, has remained unwavering: to develop exceptionally qualified civic leaders who can identify a community’s most urgent and pressing needs and address them with meaningful and relevant programs and initiatives that not only improve lives, but change the way people think.


  • Commitment to the Community: The Junior League of Chicago is passionate about the causes we support. Our commitment includes advocacy, development, collaboration and service.

  • Respect for Individuals: Junior League of Chicago members treat each other, those with whom we work and those we serve, with respect and dignity.

  • Welcoming: The Junior League of Chicago welcomes all women who wish to serve the community, embracing their ideas, differences and contributions.

  • Mentoring: Junior League of Chicago members share their experiences and expertise with one another, and with those we work with and serve.

  • Thoughtful Risk-Taking: The Junior League of Chicago provides training and a safe environment for responsible and thoughtful risk-taking.

  • Camaraderie: The Junior League of Chicago is an organization where members enjoy their experience, developing personally and professionally.


The Junior League of Chicago, Inc. is funded by generous contributions from its members, the public and corporate donors. The organization raises most of its funds through fundraising events and individual contributions to the Annual Fund. One hundred percent of every dollar contributed to these fundraising events supports the mission of the Junior League of Chicago.