History 1992-2002

1992-1997 Members 317-345

In 1992-1993 the League placed a great deal of time and effort into the successful implementation of the focusing process.  The membership voted to focus on the prevention of child abuse and neglect.  A Program Committee was instituted to oversee the League’s efforts to work closely wit the community.  Changes were made in our governing structure to allow us to use the focusing process to our best advantage.

The RSVP Committee secured the approval of the membership to begin planning a new cookbook.  New marketing efforts, such as wholesale club distributions and tasting parties at L.L.Bean ensured another successful year for RSVP.  In addition to site considerations the Thrifty Yankee Committee hire two new employees, Carol Secrist and Priscilla Hartley.  The Maine State Horticultural Show was presented to the public for the 5th consecutive year.  All three fundraisers were closely scrutinized with the assistance of Advisory Planning and all three were renewed for another year.

Our commitment to Preble Street came to a close this year. WasteCap Portland was approved for a final year of funding. Mini-grants were awarded to Windham Adult Education, Root Cellar Ministries, Community Health Services, The Center for Therapeutic Recreation, PROP and Peaks Island Child Development Center.

1993-94 was a year of changes, challenges, and accomplishments.  The League welcomed 32 hard working Provisionals, one of the largest Provisional classes in years. Productions continued on the League’s second cookbook Maine Ingredients. After much research, the Community Research and Program Committees selected a project in our focus area of the prevention of child abuse and neglect.  In collaboration with Portland Ministries at Large, the Beacon Teen Center, a safe place for at-risk youth, opened with strong League support. The MSHS Committee made changes resulting in the highest show attendance ever.  The League opened an office in Portland to house our new computer.  Recognizing that the Thrifty Yankee was no longer a profitable fundraiser, the membership voted to close the shop and direct our resources to our other fundraisers. WasteCap Portland, a League initiated project, ended its three-year funding cycle.  The project was recognized nationally for its success with recycling programs for small businesses.

1994-1995 saw the publishing of Maine Ingredients, the League’s second cookbook.  Thanks to the hard work of all members involved in the production and sale of the cookbook, Maine Ingredients reached #1 on the Maine bestseller list. The Beacon Teen Center had a very successful first year, serving over 175 of Portland’s homeless and at-risk youth.  The Junior League Community Council on Youth was formed this year to continue the League’s and the community’s focus on the prevention of teen-on-teen violence.  The Council was made up of 32 members of the community, and was integral in increasing community awareness of the League.  A new committee, the Preferred Status Committee, was formed to retain the valuable contribution of Preferred Status Members.

1995-1996 saw a significant change in the JLP Governance System.  We adopted a council system model to provide greater operational autonomy to committees and focus Board work on policy making.  The Maine State Horticultural Show was turned over to the Maine Landscaping and Nursery Association.  Maine Ingredients was the New England Regional Award winner of the Tabasco Community Cookbook Awards.  The Beacon Teen Center received a BMW Merit Award from AJLI at Annual Conference.

1996-1997 was focused on the future.  A five-year strategic plan, “Beyond 2000,” was completed.  Membership interest and community need were used to identify a new fundraiser, a lecture series, and signature project, the Kids First Center.  Maine Ingredients continued to surpass sales expectations and was featured in the May issue of McCalls Magazine.  The Beacon Teen Center was turned over to the community and operates as part of the Preble Street Resource Center. Several mini-projects were completed in the Greater Portland area continuing our work with at-risk teens.  Celebration of the JLP’s 75th anniversary began at Annual Meeting with guest speaker, Carol Kleiner, President of AJLI and kick-off of the Endowment Fund’s campaign to raise $75,000.  The 75th anniversary year culminated with a major community initiative, “20 Events in 10 Days.”  League members volunteered at a variety of part and present projects. A special insert in the Portland Press Herald highlighted the JLP’s impressive history and community impact.

1998-2001  Members 313-344

In 1998-1999, the JLP built upon the momentum of the 75th Anniversary by renewing our commitment to the Mission. We created a recognition program to honor one member each month who exemplified the Mission. A renewed commitment to training led to the creation of a new Education Council and multiple leadership training opportunities. The Kids First Center, our Signature Project, was awarded the prestigious 1998 Cleaves Achievement Award by the Family Law Section of the Maine State Bar Association. The JLP donated the final installment in this year’s $20,000 grant, for a total donation of $60,000 and 3,000 JLP volunteer hours in just fifteen months. In May, the JLP hosted its first annual Community Recognition Breakfast to honor our community partners and present the 2nd Annual JLP Community Grant Award to Arts at the Grange, Inc. JLP Publishing raised $14,500 for the Mission, and hosted a “Maine Ingredients Day” with top Maine chefs. The 2nd Annual Golf Classic raised more than $7,400.  In April the JLP launched a new Lecture Series fundraiser, “Inspiring Kids to Aspire” by Russ Quaglia, which raised over $11,700 for the Mission. The JLP Endowment Fund reached over $38,000.

Also in 1998-1999 the JLP strengthened our policy governance system by creating a Leadership Council and instituted two Board meetings per month- one focused on operational issues and one focused on policy development. A new Mission-based Provisional course was created.  Members were saddened that our Founder and First President Marion Payson Brown passed away in 1999.  The President’s Award was renamed in honor of Sally G. Vamvakias in grateful recognition of her contributions to the JLP, AJLI, and our community.

In 1999-2000, the JLP drew on the strengths of each League member to fulfill our Mission and Vision, which exemplifies the theme for the year; “Together… we can make a difference!” With everyone’s help, we accomplished a great deal in a very short time. The following are some of the year’s highlights.

The Junior League of Portland, out of 296 Leagues in four countries, was recognized for our efforts in co-founding and ensuring the continued success of the Kids First Center.  At the 2000 AJLI Annual Conference in Miami, the JLP received the prestigious AJLI / BMW Community Impact Merit Award, with a $1000 check earmarked for the Kids First Center.  It was the second time in four years that the JLP received this award – a testament to the hard work and dedication of our 125 Active members.

The JLP effectively recruited and trained 19 enthusiastic new members. Four of these women were daughters of past presidents and current JLP Board members.  The new members creatively raised $1,700 to fund their community project, an “Extreme Day of Fun,” for 24 children form the Community Learning Center in Portland. These children enjoyed being away from the city, playing games, making friends – just being kids.

The Fund Development Council effectively raised over  $30,000 to fund our Mission.  The Third Annual Fall Golf Classic doubled their previous year’s earnings, raising over $14,200.  JLP Publishing had a banner year as well, adding $13,000 to the League’s coffers. People’s Heritage Bank contributed $2,500 toward the League’s next signature project, and the Endowment Fund committee raised almost $10,000 – bringing the Fund total to almost $50,000.

The Communications Council, with the support of the Education and Training Committee, trained League women in writing and distributing press releases, as well as effectively working with the media.  The Education and Training Committee also worked to “develop the potential of women” by offering a plethora of training opportunities, including public speaking, the Internet, conflict resolution, diversity, strategic planning, fund development and mentoring.

The Mentoring Committee was a new addition to the Membership Council. They successfully connected with members to make their League affiliation a more gratifying experience.  The JLP requirements were reviewed and adjusted as well, to provide more flexibility and recognition of members’ community service in and out of the JLP.

In an effort to “improve the community, one child at a time,” the Junior League of Portland provided caring adults for the girls in Cottage 6 at the Maine Youth Center. League members also began a new affiliation with the Community Learning Center, providing volunteer tutors to children during the school year. We continued to support the Kids First Center with a $5000 contribution, completing our $65,000 pledge, and 100 percent volunteer participation of League members. We re-established the Community Research Committee to begin work toward our next Signature Project.

Last, but not least, we moved into a larger office at 181 St. John Street, Portland. The new space was chosen after we outgrew our Elm Street location.

All of these accomplishments, in 1999-2000, from the more visible AJLI awards to the daily gifts of time and energy, are attributable to the membership’s continued dedication to the League and the community. The year’s theme held true, “Together…we made a difference!”

2000-2001 revealed a steady stream of accomplishments for the "here and now," - tangible efforts by women who truly made an impact in our League and community and in service to our mission. The following are some of the highlights, which focus on Key Accomplishments of our Strategic Plan

Strengthen Community Awareness, Involvement and Impact: The JLP increased participation with Maine Youth Center by promoting membership involvement in a new mentoring program, and refurbishing the therapy room at Cottage 8. We joined forces with the Portland Police Department to produce "Give Back the Night" and provided three individual safety forums. We initiated "Kids Kloset" to benefit Family Crisis Services through the dedication of JLP volunteers and four elementary schools in the Greater Portland area. We provided two meaningful projects designed by Community Projects and our Provisional classes for the YWCA Teen & Parent Center and Family Crisis Services. We strengthened awareness of the JLP and its mission through "Connections," a fall breakfast meeting designed to connect working women to local volunteer opportunities. We conducted an intensive membership survey through the generosity of Market Decisions, Inc. of South Portland. The results were used in the development of a simplified vision statement, revised values statement, focus and key results, and strategic priorities.

Strengthen and Diversify Fund Development: The JLP raised more than $19,000 in a one-day event at the JLP Fall Golf Classic. We continued to build on JLP Publishing revenues, exceeding the year-end goal of $13,000. We increased the endowment to surpass the $50,000 mark, with a record number of individual contributors and year-end totals at approximately $56,000. We introduced board-developed criteria for review and annual membership approval of new and existing fundraisers.  We launched a new spring fundraiser Author! Author! Literary Luncheon, which raised $3,497. We increased membership dues to more closely align and manage internal expenses.

Engage Motivate and Retain Members: We instituted an Ad Hoc Recruitment Committee and biannual neighborhood gatherings to attract new members, as well as created a membership skills database to assist in the nominating and slating process.

Strengthen Education and Training: We enhanced the League's ability to serve our mission with Education and Development's creation of the "JLP Learning Platform," a comprehensive course with offerings in all areas of non-profit leadership and management.

Strengthen Policy Governance Management System: We updated our Certificate of Incorporation, bylaws, and membership policies, as well as developed new vision, values, and strategic priorities

This year, in celebration of AJLI’s 100th Anniversary, the Association of Junior Leagues International introduced "Best Practices" Awards to honor organizational and leadership development. The 2000-2001 JLP Board of Directors also recognized the need to acknowledge organizational achievements. At our Annual Meeting and Dinner, we introduced both the award and its first recipient, Katie Shisler.  The Kathryn M. Shisler Best Practices Award was named to honor a member's outstanding commitment and long-term contribution to the Junior League of Portland.