Browse the historical outline of The Junior League of Springfield



Back to Top1999

The League celebrated 60 years of service to the Springfield community as a service league in 1999. On the community side of League operations, our major initiative, the Signature Program, Parents and Children Together, or P.A.C.T., moved from the planning and administrative stage to the implementation stage. Partnering with the Junior League are The Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfields, Springfield Community Federation, and Imani, Inc. Program activities kicked off in November with a Thanksgiving Feast hosted by the Signature Program Committee and Provisionals. It was followed by the tutoring segment of the program that ran throughout the school year. Also, a Girl Scout Troop, #80, was funded and staffed. In cooperation with the Education and Training Committee the Signature Program held a two-day diversity training course in November and again in April with a nationally recognized expert who led 22 members through lectures, videotapes and interactive group exercises tailored to League and P.A.C.T. issues. P.A.C.T. also instituted a grant program to further the P.A.C.T. mission. A total of $11,000 in P.A.C.T. funds was awarded to four community service providers. A springtime arts and crafts event was held and under the P.A.C.T. umbrella, League members participated in “Sprucing Up Springfield”. To provide more consistent support for the P.A.C.T. program, the membership voted to require League members to serve four volunteer hours on P.A.C.T. Outside of P.A.C.T., the League awarded 14 community grants totaling $15,000, of which 94 percent of the services provided fall within our focus area of child growth and development and parental education. Also, $1,000 in emergency grant money was awarded to the Springfield Area Arts council to help alleviate a financial crisis threatening the existence of the organization and its community arts programs. A new award was established this year, the Junior League High School Senior Girls Community Service Award. The award recognizes one outstanding senior girl from each of the 16 eligible local public and private high schools. This year, girls representing 14 schools were recognized at the annual banquet.

With a look toward the internal side of operations, the League began operating under the new council system of governance. Three major fundraisers were held during the year. Our 46th Next-to-New Sale was held October 16-17 at the Orr Building on the State Fairgrounds. The sale netted $15,000. The Honest to Goodness cookbook, now in its 9th year of circulation, presented a check to League for $12,000 and retained funds for its own savings to cover a possible reprint and costs associated with researching the feasibility of a new cookbook. The Kitchen Tour featuring six fabulous homes on April 18 netted $8,6000, well above its goal. The Ad Hoc Committee on Admissions sought to increase our numbers and helped recruit for a trial January -to-May Provisional class. The mentoring program for all Actives returned to League this year, administered by the Membership Development Committee. Springfield was the Host City for the State Public Affairs Committee’s second Public Policy Institute. It was held March 5 and League participated in the panel on “Best Practices” highlighting our signature program. Cindy Stephenson was announced as the winner of the ABCD award. Carolyn Oxtoby was announced as a repeat recipient of the Sustainer of the Year award.

Looking toward the future, the Ad Hoc Committee on fund Development, based upon Board recommendation and membership approval, undertook a feasibility study on the possibility of relocating and restoring the historic Condell House as a future League Headquarters. The membership voted to go forward with the Condell House project and move the house to a lot on South 8th Street, pending acquisition of the lot from the Iles House Foundation. League will dedicate $20,000 of its reserves toward the cost of the project. Additional funds will be raised through donations, grants, and dedicated fundraisers. To celebrate and commemorate our 60th anniversary as a service league in 1999 and our upcoming 50th anniversary in 2000 as a Junior League, the membership voted to collaborate with the Springfield Park District to create a playground and adjacent rest/sitting area at the District’s new 180+ acre park located west on Wabash Street at the junction of Lenhart and Bunker Hill Roads. Reserve funds of $5,000 are committed to this project.


Back to Top2000

The League has provided 61 years of service to our community. Our Signature Program, Parents and Children Together (P.A.C.T.) continued in a partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield, Imani, Inc., and the Springfield Community Federation. Our Provisionals adopted P.A.C.T. as their class project. Each month they organized and conducted a special activity. In September, they hosted an open house. From October through May, they coordinated the “Learn with Me, Share with Me” workshop series. Our Actives worked with the Provisionals in their sessions in order to fulfill the four hour placement requirement for P.A.C.T. The Signature Program committee awarded a grant of $12,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield for their projects focusing on activities for parents and children. Junior League awarded approximately $10,000 to eight agencies to provide services in our focus area to the community. The money to fund these grants is provided through our major fundraisers: Next-to-New, Kitchen Tour and Honest to Goodness cookbook. Our Next-to-New Sale netted $17,392. The Kitchen Tour netted $7,216. The Honest to Goodness cookbook sales provided net receipts of $8,050. But that was not the only fundraising occurring in League. With the decision to adopt the Condell House as our headquarters, we had to find a location and raise the funds for a major restoration and renovation project. We purchased property facing the Lincoln Home National Park at 816-818 East Edwards. We started major fundraising efforts with our Capital Campaign lead by a joint committee of Actives and Sustainers. Two fundraising events, the “Save the Condell House” brunch at the Cillini home and a “High Tea” at the Sangamo Club, combined with donations and a loan from League reserves to accumulate about two-thirds of required funds to complete our project. We plan to move in to our new headquarters during the next League year. We are also selling bricks for our Anniversary Project for the playground area patio in the new west-side park. This is another project that should be completed during the next League year. As we concluded our year, Lisa Stone was awarded the Sustainer of the Year award and Gail Kacich received the ABCD award.

Back to Top2001

This was a year of change, discovery and focus. We began the year with the theme “Celebrating Our Too Grand Members” in honor of the new millennium. The Next-to-New Sale netted over $15,000. We gave nearly $10,000 to community grant recipients. We concluded our four-year project with the Boys & Girls Club, Parents and Children Together (P.A.C.T.). We ran out of cookbooks, only to discover that the printer in Hong Kong had disappeared with our films. We spent the year recreating the cookbook with the help of local printer, Williamsons Press. In November the Board re-examined our strategic and long range plans, as well as our League goals, capabilities and commitments. We conducted a due diligence review of our project to relocate, restore and renovate the historic Condell House. The review revealed that the project would take considerably more time, funds, and effort than the League had originally planned. The League voted to suspend the project. Donations were returned, and JLS members, disappointed, but not disheartened, refocused on our core mission of helping others.

In March we held the first annual JLS Oscar Party as a recruitment event. More than 60 members and prospective members came. April brought a most successful Kitchen Tour, netting $8,500. In May the Projects and Grants committee recommended four community projects to return our League to its roots- to improve the community through the effective action of trained volunteers. Four hands-on volunteer projects were approved: The Anniversary park Project to build a park for disable children and parents at Centennial Park in Springfield; a collaboration with Sojourn House to assist emergency room professionals in educating domestic violence victims about the services Sojourn can provide; the birthday Room, in honor of JLS Sustainer and past President Lisa Stone; and the Women’s Health Project, including a road race against heart disease in July 2001, and a symposium on women’s health issues in the fall, sponsored b the Prairie Heart Institute and St. John’s Hospital.

Liz Patterson was awarded the ABCD award, and Karen Barber won Sustainer of the Year.

Back to Top2002

We renewed our commitment to volunteer service by awarding $10,000 in grants and over $7,500 in projects. We implemented volunteer projects at Sojourn Shelter, St. John’s Hospital and Centennial Park. The Sojourn project taught our volunteers how to counsel victims of domestic violence. The St. John’s program included participation in the Women’s Distance Festival and raising funds for women with heart disease. The Centennial Park Project celebrates JLS’ 50 years as a Junior League and over 60 years as a service league. We were able to donate $5,000 to the Springfield Park District for a fully accessible playground for children and families with special needs.

The Next-to-New Sale netted over $11,500. Bergner Days brought in $325. Our annual Kitchens in Bloom kitchen tour netted over $7,500. Throughout the year, our Historic Springfield scarves were on sale. We were able to gross $1,705 from scarf sales. And finally, the fourth reprint of our Honest to Goodness cookbook grossed over $12,000 for our League.

The Admissions/Provisional Committee brought a talented group of 24 new Actives into our League. The ad hoc committee on Membership Status recommended a new status called Distinguished Active, giving experienced members lesser fundraising and attendance requirements as an incentive to remain Active. 13 members were granted Distinguished Active status. We introduced the JLS web site at http://www.jlsil.org.

Belinda Alvarez won the ABCD Award, and Elaine Hartong was Sustainer of the Year.

Back to Top2003

JLS awarded $14,980 in grants and $2,000 in projects. We volunteered at the new Centennial Park, WSEC Fun Time Station, Senior Services of Central Illinois Daily Bread Project, and the Parent Place Teen Mother Mentoring Program. Most general meetings offered a “Done in a Meeting” opportunity where members could bring items for a particular organization; a representative from that program then picked up the donations and educated membership about her organization.

The Next-to-New Sales netted nearly $10,000. We sold 1,095 copies of the Honest to Goodness cookbook, grossing over $15,000. The annual Kitchens in Bloom kitchen tour grossed a record $26,000, netting nearly $25,000. The event included a raffle of a playhouse donated by Buraski Builders. Sales of Historic Springfield scarves netted close to $500.

28 Provisionals were activated. We reinstituted Provisional volunteer projects and implemented a “Done in a Meeting” event benefitting the Ronald McDonald House, a holiday party for children at Sojourn Shelter, and a holiday party for attendees at the Boys & Girls Club. Members voted to combine the Nominating and Placement Committees to form the Nominating/Placement Committee to help manage our member resources and improve the mentoring program. The ad hoc committee on Headquarters Relocation recommended, and members approved, a move to 948 Clocktower Drive. We are now moved into our new home…it is freshly painted and carpeted, is on street level, and even has windows. Thanks to the generosity of the Triangle Center, we are saving almost 50% on our rent and utilities each month.

Nancy Platt was awarded the ABCD Award, Jill Steiner was Sustainer of the Year, and Jennifer Sachs received the first Provisional of the Year Award.

Back to Top2004

The 2004 JLS year centered on the theme “Catch the W.A.V.E” (We Are Volunteers Extraordinaire). We awarded $10,000 in grants and $2,200 in projects. In addition to monthly “Done in a Meeting” opportunities, we implemented a successful Cooking with Pizzazz project for PORA and volunteered at Camp Care-a-Lot and the SPARC Respite Camp field trip and Residential picnic. We also repeated the WSEC Funtime Station event and continued the Senior Services Daily Bread program. Additionally, we volunteered the Ronald McDonald House and the Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery’s Holiday Store, bowled to raise money for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and “adopted” a family with 9 children at Christmas.

The annual Next-to-New sale raised over $14,000, and the annual Kitchens in Bloom kitchen tour netted approximately $6,400. Vendor sales of our Honest to Goodness cookbook were up 32% from the previous year.

19 Provisionals were activated, and the Provisional class completed a makeover of the Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery. Tanya DeSanto was awarded the ABCD Award, Betty Grady was the Sustainer of the Year, and Deb Mulvehill was the Provisional of the Year.

Back to Top2005

This year, JLS members worked in the community, where we developed and staffed projects that empowered at-risk families, especially women and children, through mentoring, advocacy and education. Among our notable accomplishment was the development of a mini-signature project: the Springfield Children’s Museum. We cooked with the incredible ladies of PORA; we walked with the families of SHARE; we painted and decorated the Family Services Center; we played with the children at Camp Care-a-Lot and the Make-A-Wish Foundation; and we collected supplies for numerous community organizations.

We awarded $10,000 in grants and $1,900 in projects. We established new accounts and marketing strategies for sales of our Honest to Goodness cookbook and Historic Springfield scarves, tripling the size of our cookbook account/vendor list and necessitating the ordering of an additional 5,000 copies. We netted over $15,000 at our annual Next-to-New sale and roughly $15,400 at the Kitchens in Bloom kitchen tour. And we made the difficult decision (ratified by the Board) to cancel the Trivia Night fundraiser. A fundraising menu and membership fundraising requirements were approved by the membership.

13 Provisional members were activated this year. For their project, the Provisional class volunteered at the SHARE organization’s Walk to Remember. The ad hoc committee on Membership Recruitment made a number of recommendations on ways to better recruit and retain membership.

The ABCD Award was given to Rae Long. Debbie Prather was the Sustainer of the Year.

Back to Top2006

The 2005-2006 League year was eventful! We held a number of successful projects, beginning with the playground at the Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery, followed by a day at the zoo with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters and ending the year with a Family Fun Run to benefit the Parent Place. The Provisional class were also able to donate 25,000 diapers to the Parent Place for their Provisional project. In addition to these projects, we held our first Kids in the Kitchen event. In May, we sponsored the Medieval Kiddie Cocktail Ball, raising $8000 for the Springfield Children’s Museum. In addition to volunteer hours, we donated $8230 in grants and $1900 in projects.

We held our annual Next-to-New sale in late September. The Kitchen Tour raised over $10,000, and scarf and cookbook sales combined to bring in a revenue of nearly $7500.  It became clear through the year that we need to reevaluate and reinvent our fundraising projects. To that end, a Fundraising Committee was formed to present new ideas.

We activated 22 Provisionals this year. The ABCD award was presented to Barbara Rowe.

Back to Top2007

This year, we built around the acronym STARS, standing for: Service to others, Training, Achievements, Responsibility and Strength. We donated over $2,500 in goods to seven non-profit agencies and 240 volunteer hours in DIAD events. We held our second annual Kids in the Kitchen event, and Sustainers co-sponsored the La Cuna project to make shawls for cancer patients. The Provisional class of 13 members raised funds for youth art outreach programs, and the Projects and Grants committee chose Camp Care-a-Lot and the Phoenix Center as the recipients of funding and JLS volunteers.

One of our goals was to increase visibility and we worked toward that goal in a number of ways, from securing a foundation charter membership in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, distributing press releases for all of our events, and more.

During the League year, our Fundraising council raised over $26,000 through cookbook and scarf sales, the kitchen tour, our Next to New sale and other fundraisers.

Karen Kloppe received the ABCD award, and MaryBeth Farmer was recognized as the Sustainer of the Year.

Back to Top2008

The theme for Junior League for the 2007-2008 League year was “League Love Affair.” We worked to build a League that members could embrace and call their own by focusing on three objectives:

1) Improve membership through increased recruitment and retention efforts
2) Focus on projects that are JLS-initiated and more hands on
3) Expand the Kitchen Tour into a multi-day event

During the year, League members donated 723.6 hours of volunteer service, and we dispensed $1400 in grants. In addition to other projects benefiting local children, we also held a successful Kids in the Kitchen event. In May, our Kitchen Tour brought in over $18,000. In addition, we brought in over $7,000 in our annual Next to New sale.

The Provisional class of 12 members went above and beyond, organizing two projects that benefited P.O.R.A and Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault.

In February, we had the opportunity to host the regional educational conference for the Junior Leagues in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.

This year, the ABCD award was presented to Stephanie Moy-Zobus. Pat Jacobs earned the Sustainer of the Year award. Our Community Partner Award went to Lincoln Land Community College.

Back to Top2009

We began the 2008-2009 League year with our move to the Hoogland Center for the Arts on 6th Street. In the fall, we hosted our last Next to New sale. As enthusiasm for this long-standing fundraiser has been waning in recent years, we have determined to replace it next year with a Spelling Bee, which falls in line with our focus on literacy.

Also in line with our literacy focus, we held our first annual Literacy Fair this winter at the Springfield Public Library. In another first, JLS joined with UIS in hosting the Good as Gold volunteer recognition banquet.

Our Kitchens in Bloom tour featured homes in the Leland Grove area and was a fabulous success, raising over $15,000.

JLS donated $2000 in grant to the following projects: Sojourn Shelter and Services, Springfield Urban League, and St. Joseph School. In addition, League members donated more than 725 hours of volunteer service throughout the year.


Back to Top2010

Once again, our League was active in the community, hosting our second annual Literacy Fair, Kids Fest, and Kids in the Kitchen. We also awarded nearly $2000 in grants to the Springfield Area Reading is Fundamental program, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Good as Gold.

We held a successful Kitchen Tour again, hosting nearly 600 guests and raising over $14,000. We also made a net profit of approximately $1600 on the Spelling Bee.

Back to Top2011

Back to Top2012

The 2011-2012 League year was an educational year in many ways. We continued our commitment to literacy with a “Taming Literacy” project at the Henson Robinson Zoo and a very successful Literacy Fair. Kids in the Kitchen was also a hit, with more than 80 children attending. We impacted the community in many additional ways, including continued support of the Learn and Grow Garden and the Good as Gold Ceremony, the Ronald McDonald House and the annual Golden Laurels banquet.

Although we were unable to hold our Kitchen Tour this year, we did have a successful Spelling Bee/Trivia Night, netting over $2600. We also continued to sell our Historic Springfield scarves and the Honest to Goodness cookbook.

8 Provisionals were accepted as Active members of the League this year. For their project, they chose to assist the Parent Place in organizing an event to help launch their National Child Abuse Prevention Month initiative.

Back to Top2013

This year began a two-year focus on Back to the Basics. We dedicated ourselves to training, from board member training to a wonderful etiquette dinner. We doubled the amount of Provisionals from last year (activating 15 new members), and through many successful events we strengthened our relationships within the League and also increased our impact on the community. Both the Literacy Fair and the Kids in the Kitchen events were well attended, and we had a fantastic Kitchen Tour, raising $12,455.

In addition to working with our grant recipient (Camp Care-a-Lot), we participated in several additional projects. These included assisting with Habitat for Humanity’s “A Brush with Kindness” build, acting as guest chefs for the Ronald McDonald House, and volunteering at the Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery holiday store.

Back to Top2014

Following our theme of Leadership Reimagined, we have re-evaluated what our League looks like, and how it functions. . With high retention this year, nine new (Provisional) members and a number of reinstating of Sustainer members, the JLS is growing – both in number as well as in the depth of skill and talent our members bring to League and to the community. We built on those talents by sending members to local and national training. We reinforced our League’s foundation by streamlining our organizational leadership, creating more effective bylaws, member policies and operational policies.

We impacted the community through our volunteer work at the Ronald McDonald House, the KaBoom Playground build, and our partnership with US Marble and Granite to donate to the Memorial Medical Center’s Mammography Assistance Fund.

The annual Kitchen Tour raised $18,000 in contributions and ticket sales. Scarf and cookbook sales were less successful, and it was determined that our products are not bringing in enough income to sustain this as one of our major Fundraisers. With this in mind, Membership voted in April to allow the incoming Fund Development Council to explore additional Fundraising opportunities, as well as investigate ‘phase out’ options for Products so that the Committee’s efforts can be more focused on the larger Fundraisers.

We activated 9 Provisionals this year. For their project, they held a game drive to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters.

For the Sustainers, this was a year to “re-member,” to better connect Sustainers to each other, to the League operationally and to Active and Provisional members. The goal was achieved, as evidenced by renewals, “rejoins” and an ever-increasing participation in activities as the year progressed.