Community Impact

The Junior League's Journey towards Issue-Based Community Impact

How We Keep Our Mission Relevant 

The Junior League of Portland, ME is a network of women developed as community and civic leaders who provide positive, lasting community impact.
How do we, as a league, advance our mission to develop the potential of our woman membership? Through our process of Issue-Based Community Impact which results in: 

  • A deeper knowledge of the community;

  • Networks of community relationships;

  • Development of leadership skills through engagement within issues;

  • Focus on meaningful change and connectedness to the concerns and well-being of the community;

  • An ability to articulate who we are as a non-profit and thought leader.

Issue-Based Community Impact

Issue-Based Community Impact allows the Junior League of Portland, ME as an organization to identify a particular interest area within a broad generic area, or a topic. Once an Impact Area is selected, more detailed parts of that impact area may develop. These Focused Impact Areas would become part of the Junior League of Portland, Maine’s impact area and individual strategies and tacts would be created to best address each Focused Impact Area. Our evolution to an Issue-Based Community Impact and away from a project-based focus allows the Junior League of Portland, Maine to:

  • Have a great scope & Depth of field

  • Provide diverse volunteer opportunities for our members

  • Engage multiple Community partners and alliances

  • Develop our members ability to use numerous strategies and tactics

  • Sustain Longer Term Community Impact

Transitioning Our Issue Area 

In 2009, the Junior League of Portland, ME adopted hunger and food insecurity as its issue area and hosted its first annual Freeze Out Hunger gala, at which point Maine ranked 9th in the nation and first in New England in terms of food insecurity.

In partnership with the Good Shepherd Food Bank, the Junior League launched the BackPack Program in 2010 to provide food insecure children with easy-to-prepare meals during weekends and school vacations. Since it's launch, the program has impacted the lives of over 1,000 children in Maine.

In Spring of 2013, the Junior League of Portland completed its long-term project with the Good Shepherd Food Bank and began to move towards Issue-Based Community Impact, which is deeper and longer-term than a project-based focus. This will allow the League to work on multiple projects while giving members a variety of ways to volunteer throughout the community. Doing Issue-Based Community Impact will also help the League keep the mission relevant by building networks across the community, focusing on meaningful change, and creating trained leaders through multiple opportunities. 

The past year has been dedicated to providing volunteer support to several community organizations while also investigating the emerging needs in the greater Portland community. Together with the assistance of our community partners we have narrowed the list to two potential issue areas: Transitioning Successfully from School to Adulthood through Education and Prevention of Sexual Abuse. Following the research that will be conducted over the upcoming year we will announce our new issue area in May 2015.

Community Resources

  • If you are involved in or witness to a true emergency, please call 9-1-1 for immediate help.
  • If you are in need of other help or communicating with someone who is, please call 2-1-1 to reach the proper resources. You could also text the zip code to 898-211, email, or search the online 211 directory (
  • 211 is a comprehensive resource made by Opportunity Alliance, United Ways of Maine, and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). 211 is accessible 24/7, available in all languages, and completely confidential.
  • An additional DHHS resource is: Get Help (
  • Both sites include information for those who have issues related to: aging, basic needs, crisis, disability, education, family, food, health, housing, jobs, substance abuse, and transitions.