History 2002-Present

2002-2007 Members 317-323

The Junior League of Portland celebrated its eightieth year during 2001-2002 by launching several new initiatives.  The Communications Council worked to heighten the community’s awareness of the JLP and its mission and to ensure timely and appropriate internal communications were received by League members in order to strengthen connections between our members.  The Communication Council met its strategic plan goal of launching jlpmaine.org at the Annual Meeting in May.  In addition, The Beacon was redesigned and renamed The Column to incorporate the new nationwide AJLI logo designed to link all Junior Leagues under one identity.  Our color scheme changed from blue to red, as we excitedly became one of the first Leagues in the country to incorporate the new logo into our internal and external communications.  Thanks to the generous donation of meeting space by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, our General Membership Meetings moved from The Woodlands Club to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.

The Community Council provided the membership with meaningful volunteer opportunities through the Kids Closet, Long Creek Youth Development Center (formerly Maine Youth Center), Give Back the Night and Children’s Museum of Maine.  The JLP membership voted to launch its next Signature Project in collaboration with Community Counseling Center to develop a Trauma Center for the Greater Portland community.  Selected trainings were offered through the Learning Platform designed to engage and motivate members.

The Fund Development Council was charged with building and strengthening the JLP’s capital reserves and developing a sound fiscal strategy geared toward the preservation of our organization.  Much of the year was spent developing clear, effective policies and procedures that support the mission, vision and values of the Junior League of Portland.  Our first grant application to support operating expenses was submitted to Narragansett One Foundation.  A great deal of time was spent revising the current investment policy to include policy and procedures for rebalancing of our investment portfolio, investment monitoring and control and the roles and responsibilities of the Board of Directors and the Endowment Committee.  JLP Publishing continued to increase the visibility of our award-winning cookbook Maine Ingredients by continuing collaborations with LL Bean, Stonewall Kitchen and our own fundraisers Home for the Holidays and Author! Author!  All proved to be rewarding opportunities that thrived on the support of the general membership.  Our first cookbook, RSVP, entered its sixth printing with a slight change to its original cover.  The JLP launched its first holiday boutique, Home for the Holidays at UNE incorporating the very successful Sustainer booth, Vintage Chic and Nicely New, netting approximately $9,000. Author! Author! spotlighted renowned Camden author Tess Gerritsen raising approximately $5,000.  The League successfully secured $7,000 in corporate sponsorship money for our fundraisers Home for the Holidays and Author! Author!

The Membership Council was again challenged to engage, motivate and retain members.  Our membership responsibilities were revised to make our requirements more adaptable to our membership’s needs while continuing to meet the demands of our organization. On the heels of September 11th, the JLP welcomed 7 new members.  By selling “Women’s Pins” designed by Lucinda, the Provisional Class raised money to support their “Safety Day” at the Children’s Museum of Maine.  Over 200 children were delighted to meet with Firemen, Policemen, Coast Guard officers and Bicycle Safety experts to learn important safety tips.  The Sustainers welcomed seven new Sustaining members.  Four Sustainers moved to Sustainer Gold status having served fifty years in the Junior League.  Seven membership recognition awards were given to those individuals who exemplify our mission.

For the first time in the history of the Junior League of Portland, a $5,000 matching grant was secured for annual funds.  The membership embraced this opportunity and raised approximately $7,000 of its own money to meet the matching grant thereby raising $13,000 in its first Holiday Appeal.

In 2002-2003, we demonstrated our commitment to community involvement with continued participation with the Long Creek Youth Development Center.  We also continued our collaboration with the Portland Police Department in the production of the "Give Back the Night" safety forums which we brought to local high schools. We began providing volunteers for the Ronald McDonald House and Habitat for Humanity.   The Provisional class raised its own funds and coordinated a cadre of volunteers to spend the day making the new Girl’s Home at Opportunity Farms a bright and inspiring place to live.

The JLP raised more than $17,000 during our 2nd Annual Home for the Holidays Boutique exceeding expectations.   Our new Blueberries & Moose Celebration of Children’s Literature raised $1800 and proved to be an extraordinary public relations and community event. We continued to build on JLP Publishing revenues, launching new accounts and creating a new marketing display.  Tastings at LL Bean and Stonewall Kitchen added to the success of this committee.  The JLP increased the Endowment Fund to surpass the $60,000 mark, and for the second year in a row had a successful Annual Appeal campaign.

In 2003-2004, the Junior League of Portland completed the strategic plan for and named the Greater Portland Trauma Assistance Network - the JLP's Signature Project collaboration with Community Counseling Center.  Our members continued to support the community through three additional projects - working with the incarcerated girls at Long Creek Youth Development Center, providing meals for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House and producing three safety forums for local high schools through the Give Back the Night Program in collaboration with the Portland Police Department.  Our three fundraisers, the Home for the Holidays shopping extravaganza, cookbook sales from our two cookbooks and the Blueberries & Moose children's literacy event, netted a profit large enough to leave the JLP with a net profit in 2003-2004 in excess of $10,000.


In 2004-2005, the Junior League of Portland, in collaboration with Community Counseling Center, launched Trauma Intervention Program (TIP), the first program of the Greater Portland Trauma Assistance Network.  TIP provides a layperson volunteer to the scene of a traumatic event or situation within 20 minutes to assist individuals affected, but not injured, by the tragedy.  The League also supported three community projects - Long Creek Youth Development Center, Ronald McDonald House and Preble Street Resource Center.  The JLP changed the focus of Blueberries & Moose, a children's literacy event, from a fundraiser into a public relations event, and the May event proved very successful, filling the Portland Public Market with children interested in books, meeting authors, and participating in a variety of fun activities.

In the year 2005-2006, the members of the Junior League of Portland worked both individually and collectively to truly made a difference in our community.  We kicked off the year with a fabulous Done-in-a-Day opportunity where we connected with six past and current JLP Signature Projects.  We cooked and served breakfast at Preble Street Resource Center, we assisted with a session at Kids First Center, we helped with kids crafts and face painting at the Children’s Museum, we assisted with kids projects and selling bird seed at the Maine Audubon Society’s Fall Apple Day celebration and we greeted attendees and ran the box office and concessions at a Children’s Theatre of Maine performance.  We also reached out to first responders at area police and fire departments to thank them and educate them on our current Signature Project collaboration with the Community Counseling Center – the Trauma Intervention Program.  Six projects, 36 volunteers, over 100 hours of work – what an impact we made in a single day.

We recruited a fabulous New Member class of over 30 women.  We hosted our Fifth Annual Holiday Boutique event at a new location and proved that the event can be a very effective fundraiser with one less day.  We cooked and served dinners at Wayside Soup Kitchen and Ronald McDonald House.  We assisted Community Counseling Center with the launch of the first Heroes with Hearts dinner that will become an ongoing fundraiser to sustain our latest signature project.  We hosted a day of exercise, creativity, beauty and fun for girls working toward a new life while living in transitional housing.  We sold hundreds of copies of Maine Ingredients and RSVP.  We produced an incredible children’s literary event with the fourth annual Blueberries and Moose.  We hosted the First Annual AJLI Volunteer Day and joined 227 other Junior Leagues as we raised awareness about nutrition and childhood obesity.

We won a coveted AJLI award for Membership Development while competing against 293 other leagues from 4 different countries.  We reached the $100,000 Endowment Fund goal we had been striving for more than 15 years to achieve, meaning we will now be able to access up to 3% of the profits in excess of this $100,000 each year to support the needs of the league.  And we reached the successful conclusion to a great collaboration with Community Counseling Center as we turned our latest signature project back to the community.  I thank the members of the JLP for putting forth these efforts that made a difference in their own lives, in the lives of each other and in the lives of the individuals in our community. Laurilyn Dowling, President

In the year 2006-2007 we achieved the JLP mission though the theme of “Building a Better Me, Building a Better, We, and Building a Better Community” by focusing our efforts on personal improvement, league improvement, and community improvement.

Members worked on developing to the best of their potential to be prepared for future community volunteer work.  We “built a better me” by participating in trainings at General Membership Meetings, Leadership Council meetings, Board meetings, League wide training workshops, and AJLI meetings.  Also, leadership placements and committee placements offered members opportunities for personal growth and leadership development.

Members worked to strengthen our organization to be in the best position to make a positive impact on our community.  We “built a better we” by evaluating operations and implementing positive improvements.  We created a new three year (2007-2010) Strategic Plan.  We signed a new lease for JLP office space at One City Center.  We enhanced General Membership Meetings to make members feel connected to the League and one another.  We recruited 22 New Members.  We evaluated our current fundraisers and brainstormed future fundraisers.  We decided to modify the Holiday Boutique to make it more unique and increase revenue.  We initiated a new partnership with our local Talbots store as Talbots is an AJLI sponsor.   To raise funds to support our mission and community projects, we hosted the Sixth Annual Holiday Boutique; we sold our cookbook Maine Ingredients; we held a wine and cheese tasting benefit for Kids in the Kitchen; we held a fundraiser and auction at Three Dollar Dewey’s; we supported our Annual Appeal and Endowment Fund; and the New Members sold JLP merchandise, held a silent auction, and solicited sponsorships.

Members worked to improve our community now and in the future.  We “built a better community” by partnering with and volunteering at five local nonprofit agencies.  We were the Guest Chefs for the Ronald McDonald House once a month.  Every week, we tutored adults and children including many from the immigrant population at Portland West.  At Long Creek Youth Development Center we engaged the girls in community service projects.  In addition, we volunteered at projects for STRIVE and Sweetser.  We partnered with the American Red Cross for a Done in a Day project of creating disaster preparedness kits for the elderly.  In addition, we did two “Done in a Meetings” to benefit A Company of Girls and Dress for Success.  We reconnected with the Center for Grieving Children during their building capital campaign and our Sustainers conducted a toy drive for their benefit.  Also at their new facility, the New Member class partnered with the Southern Maine Agency on Aging to host a day of education and entertainment for caregivers of older adults.   Eleven of our members joined hundreds of other Junior League volunteers from across the nation to travel to New Orleans to rebuild homes damaged by hurricanes.  We joined over 200 other Junior Leagues in the second year of the Kids in the Kitchen program an initiative to address the problem of childhood obesity.  We partnered with celebrity chef Harry Schwartz to bring the message of healthy nutrition to local school children.  We also launched a public service announcement awareness campaign on this issue. We awarded a $2,000 Community Grant to Mission Possible Teen Center.  In looking to the future, we conducted a member interest survey for a new Focus area in preparation for conducting research for a new Signature Project.  Through community volunteer efforts, JLP members gave of their hearts to touch the hearts of others. Michelle Hedrich, President 2006-2007



During 2007-2008 the Junior League of Portland, Maine (JLP) celebrated its 85th anniversary. The fiscal year began with the creation of a Branding Ad Hoc committee. The Ad Hoc created guidelines and consistency with our JL brand, which in turn helped to empower members to promote consistent messages about the Junior League in our community.  From this, we introduced a new look to the JLP website, and incorporated a JL blog, one of the first in the nation.

In the world of Fund Development, we debuted a new signature fundraiser, Holiday Extravaganza, which was comprised of an auction and holiday entertainment. Three comediennes were the entertainment venue.

We brought back a community favorite, our beloved cookbook RSVP.  This book, along with Maine Ingredients, is sold in many bookstores throughout Maine. Proceeds support the JLP mission.

We conducted an Annual Appeal, known as 85-85-85, in support of the JLP mission, which featured a celebratory luncheon at Maine Medical Center Research Institute. The goal of the campaign was for 85 members to give $85, in celebration of 85 years of service. We surpassed this goal, and raised $8,500.

Our Endowment Fund sustained us. The JLP Endowment Fund grew to more than $130,000. No more than 3% of the interest sustains our League in support of our mission annually.

We provided volunteer support to 4 community non-profits: Mission Possible Teen Center, LongCreek Youth Development Center, Ronald McDonald House, and Preble Street Resource Center.  We hosted a book club for members at a General Membership Meeting: Smoke Signals: Oral histories from Long Creek, compiled by Bill Lundgren. Three of the teens featured in the book attended our meeting and shared their journey from LongCreek Youth Development Center to the world beyond.

We stepped up our leadership training program by bringing world renown trainer, consultant, facilitator Vicki Clark to Portland.  Not only did she speak to the JLP about the benefits of Collaboration, but she addressed the community at large during a Community Forum hosted for more than 30 community leaders, nonprofit professionals and volunteers, called “Building Better Communities Together – Business, Nonprofits, Government.

In February 2008, the Junior League of Portland was chosen by Maine Association for Non-Profits, as one of twelve to exhibit at the State House in Augusta. We spoke to legislators and received feedback on community needs. The timing was perfect, in our quest for a new focus Area.  This helped with our next accomplishment: the adoption of our new focus: Hunger & Food Insecurity.  This focus area will drive the identification of the next JLP Signature Project.

In March 2008, we participated in a national Junior League collaborative event known as Kids in the Kitchen (KITK). The goal of the project was to provide communities with tools and resources to help break the cycle of childhood obesity. In support of KITK, we held an event at Prides Corner School in Westbrook, teaching children healthy eating habits through a curriculum based program and hosting a celebratory event called Breakfast at Night, giving the children an opportunity to share what they learned with their families.

In April, the JLP awarded a $2,000 Community Grant to 21 Reasons, a coalition to build a healthy environment for a drug free development of our youth. This grant was presented during a press conference for the kick off the JLP’s spring Done-In-A-Day, “Joining Hands for a Better Community.”  This DIAD offered volunteer opportunities for JLP members and partners to volunteer in force in the community with 4 projects: Back Cove clean up, Children Museums of Maine, Kids First Center, and Maine Audubon.

As our fiscal year came to a close, we kicked off our Community Advisory Board. This Board brings community leaders with diverse backgrounds and perspectives together to provide strategic input and advice to the Junior League in matters pertaining to its external focus and ideas to help make the organization a stronger, more viable community force.  Support will help guide us in our important work of making a meaningful and lasting difference on our community.


2010-2014 Members 303

In 2010, the Junior League of Portland, Maine began the BackPack Program as a pilot in Maine, working in partnership with the Good Shepherd Food Bank to ensure its success. By 2014, over 1,000 children are benefiting from the program.

The BackPack Program is designed to provide children who are suffering the effects of chronic hunger with nutritious, easy-to-prepare food to eat during weekends and school vacations when those crucial school meals are unavailable. For just $250 a year per student, we are able to provide at least one source of grain, fruit, vegetable, and protein through a variety of staple meal items, breakfast foods, and healthy snacks in discreet, resealable bags.

One measurement of success? School attendance has increased on Fridays when BackPacks are distributed. If you are interested in learning more, please take a moment to check out the Tool Kits the Junior League of Portland and Good Shepherd Food Bank created. The BackPack Program Tool Kits are intended to serve as a guide for any organization who wishes to improve, expand, or begin the BackPack Program in their local community.