JLP Past Projects

We are proud to have founded a number of organizations and programs that continue to serve the Greater Portland community, and to have supported many more over the years. Some of our past signature projects are highlighted below, followed by a complete list of Maine organizations the JLP has supported through its funding and volunteer hours since our nonprofit organization began in 1922.

Occupational Therapy Unit at Children’s Hospital and at Maine General Hospital 

Following the Junior League of Portland’s formation in 1922, its members sponsored the salaries of two workers in the newly created Occupational Therapy Unit.

Children’s Theater

Founded in 1923 by the JLP, the Children’s Theatre of Maine (formerly the Children’s Theatre of Portland) is the oldest continuously operating children’s theatre in the United States. Throughout the 1930s the JLP supported its annual expansion, leading to the establishment of a permanent venue. In 1943, the Children’s Theater was incorporated with financial support from the JLP's thrift shop (known at that time as the Salvage Shop).

Children’s Museum of Maine

In 1976, the Children’s Museum of Maine was founded by the Junior League of Portland. The Children’s Museum and Children’s Theater operated separately until they merged in 2008 as the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine. For the past century, the staff of the Museum & Theatre have designed and delivered multidisciplinary and experiential learning experiences for toddlers through teens, with their families. Prior to moving to its new 30,000 square foot facility at Thompson’s Point, the former Free Street location was the tenth largest visitor attraction in the State of Maine, annually serving over 106,000 visitors who came from every state in the country, as well as over 30 different nations. 

Center for Grieving Children 

The Junior League of Portland provided startup funding for the Center for Grieving Children from 1988-1990. Since its founding, the Center for Grieving Children has served more than 66,000 children, teens and their families in its mission to provide support to grieving children, teens, families and the community through peer support, outreach and education.

Beacon Teen Center

In collaboration with Portland Ministries at Large, the Beacon Teen Center, a safe place for youth facing homelessness and other challenges (now a part of Preble Street), opened with strong support from the JLP in the 1990s.

Kids First Center

Having identified a gap in services to support children of separation and divorce, the JLP collaborated with the Center for Grieving Children to start a new nonprofit organization. The Kids First Center has served as many as 3,500 Maine parents and children each year since opening its doors in 1998.

Trauma Intervention Program

The Junior League of Portland is proud to have collaborated with the Community Counseling Center (now Maine Behavioral Healthcare), Portland's oldest nonprofit mental health and family services agency, to launch the Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) in 2004-2005. Trained TIP volunteers provide immediate response by offering emotional support and practical resources to survivors, family members, witnesses, friends and bystanders following an unexpected death or injury, suicide, overdose, motor vehicle or other accident, fire, sexual assault or similar event.

BackPack Program

In partnership with Good Shepherd Food Bank, the JLP launched the BackPack Program in 2010 to provide food insecure children in the Greater Portland area with easy-to-prepare meals during weekends and school vacations. This program positively impacted the lives of over 1,000 children in Maine and resulted in increased school attendance on Fridays when BackPacks were distributed. In September 2020, all BackPack sites were transitioned to School Pantry programs in order to provide families with a wider variety of foods, including fresh produce. Through its School Pantry Program, Good Shepherd Food Bank partners with over 210 public schools, early childhood centers, and college campuses to provide easy, consistent access to nutritious food for students and their families.

Click here to check out the Junior League of Portland, Maine's Impact Map. 



Other Past Projects & Community Partners

Baby Hygiene Welfare Association Hospital Library Service at Maine General Hospital
Children’s Cardiac Clinic
Rheumatic Heart Project
Funding to establish two four-bed rooms at Queen's Hospital (now Mercy Hospital)
Portland Hearing Society
Southern Coastal Family Planning Center
Women’s Center
Rape Crisis Center (brochures)
Ronald McDonald House (prepared meals through the Guest Chef Night program)

Victoria Mansion (summer manager’s salary)
Preservation Project (Greater Portland Landmarks restoration of Daniel Howe House)
McLellan-Sweat Mansion (restoration of three rooms)
Arts Council (calendar publication)
The Gate Coffee House (advocate’s salary)

Project Discovery (educate League Members to better fill community needs)
Boys’ Training Center (now Maine Youth Center)
Volunteer Career Development (courses offered)
Parenting Center at the University of Southern Maine
Woman-to-Woman Project (Evodia House)
Comedy Connection Job Mentoring
Opportunity Farm for Boys and Girls
Portland YWCA Teen Parenting Program
Family Crisis Center (refurbish rooms)
Community Learning Center (After School Learning Program)
School Volunteer Project (handed off to Portland Public Schools)
Mission Possible Teen Center
Portland West
Sweetser – Westbrook Bridge Home
Prides Corner School, Westbrook (KITK)

Preble Street Resource Center
Interview Clothes Closet (Goodwill Industries)
Family Center Shelter
Parkside Neighborhood Summer Program
Kids’ Closet
Portland Goodwill Industries Sheltered Workshop (Executive Director’s salary)
Wayside Soup Kitchen

Maine Audubon Society
Peaks Island Neighborhood Association (park improvement)
WasteCap Portland
Environmental Education Project (turned over to Maine Audubon)

Freeze Out Hunger Gala
Portland Youth Opportunities Halloween Hayride and Party
Southern Maine Agency on Aging (SMAA) – “Hats Off to You” Celebration of Caregivers
Maine Children’s Cancer Project- Festival for kids & families

Give Back the Night Safety Forum (in collaboration with Portland Police Department)
Children’s Museum of Maine Safety Day
Project KISS (Kids in Safe Seats) – led to the passage of legislation mandating the use of seat belts
Maine Youth Center/Long Creek Youth Development Center (teaching life skills and self-esteem building with girls experiencing incarceration)

Recipients of JLP Mini Grants
Southern Coastal Family Planning
AIDES Education Project Environment Task Force (JLP)
WasteCap Demonstration Project
Portland Ballet
Foster Grandparents (PROP) “Grammie Bag” Project
PSRC Committee video on homelessness
Cumberland County Affordable Housing Venture Building Materials Bank
Rape Crisis Center (Date Rape Awareness)
Lighthouse Shelter (Salvation Army Teen Shelter)
Project Safe Start (Reiche School & Cumberland County Child Abuse & Neglect Council)
Root Cellar Ministries (sound system)
Windham Adult Education (daycare facility heater)
Community Health Services STEP Training Workshops
PROP (furnished a children’s waiting area)
Peaks Island Child Development Center (lead poisoning testing)
Center for Therapeutic Recreation