Junior League of St. Joseph – History

The Junior League of St. Joseph is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization founded in 1921 by Mrs. L. Robert Forgrave and 100 other young women ready to serve in improving our community. To this day, our members have remained committed to the original mission of our founders, which is to promote volunteerism, develop the potential of women, and improve the community through the effective action and leadership of training volunteers.

The League has been a staple in the community with involvement in various organizations. In 1938, the League helped with the start of the Family and Children’s Bureau, which is now known as Family Guidance. On August 28th, 1963, the League, as a catalyst, started the Allied Arts Council with Mrs. Henry Bradly. The League donated $5,000 and 1,000 service hours during the two-year probationary period. The League continues to support the arts in various capacities.

In the late 1980s, the League started a “Tossed and Found” sale as the League’s major fundraiser. This helped support many different community projects.

In 2009, the Junior League adopted Cinderella’s Closet. The program offers free Prom and Military Ball dresses, shoes and accessories to area high school girls. The space, now located at 3007 North Belt Highway, provides not only a space for Cinderella’s Closet, but also a place to conduct regular philanthropy business.

In 2012, the League started the Pony Express 5K and 10K Run as a fundraiser in conjunction with JDRF, a charitable organization dedicated to funding type 1 diabetes research. In 2013, more than $3,000 was raised for JDRF, and $15,000 for the League to support community projects. Also in 2013, the race established a partnership with the United Way of Greater St. Joseph, who is the major charitable partner in the race. In 2014, we expanded the race by adding a half-marathon.

In 2018, the League adopted the Hope Totes Project in conjunction with the Optimist Club of St. Joseph. This project provides plastic storage totes to local children when staying at/vacating local shelters to hold their personal items in lieu of using a standard trash bag.

For more information on the initiatives supported by the League, please view our brochure.

The Junior League of St. Joseph is a member of the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI). There are 293 sister Leagues located throughout the world, including the United States, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

If you are interested in joining the Junior League of St. Joseph, be sure to fill out our Potential New Member form located under the Become a Member tab.

Our Mission

The Junior League of St. Joseph is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, and to improving the community through effective leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

Our Vision

Through the power of association, the Junior League of St. Joseph will affect change to better the lives of women and children by embracing diverse perspectives, building community partnerships, and inspiring shared solutions.