Who We Are
The Volunteer Powerhouse
More than a century ago, social activist Mary Harriman founded the Junior League in New York City as a direct result of her work with recent immigrants in the settlement houses on the Lower East Side. Her vision was to establish a channel to promote social responsibility and an opportunity to positively impact the community at large.
Since its founding in 1901, the Junior League has evolved into one of the oldest, largest and most effective women’s volunteer organizations in the world, encompassing more than 155,000 women in 293 Leagues in four countries. For more than 100 years, we have been on the forefront of social reform, identifying problems — pollution, illiteracy, domestic violence, foster children without a safety net — and finding effective solutions.
For almost 50 years, the Junior League of Palo Alto•Mid Peninsula (JLPA•MP) has continued this tradition. Through the leadership and action of our trained volunteers, we seek to resolve some of the most difficult social issues in our community. As a member of the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI), we are part of a world-wide organization that serves as catalysts for lasting community change.
Since our founding in 1965, the JLPA•MP has supported almost 100 community service projects, awarded nearly 200 grants to area nonprofit organizations and contributed thousands of volunteer hours to our community. We’ve worked to tackle seemingly intractable social issues such as affordable housing, societal violence, literacy and education, homelessness, drug addiction, and at-risk children and youth.
We seek positive change on these and other issues through the hands-on work of our volunteers, by funding League-sponsored service projects with our community partners and making direct grants to jump-start programs and services at other local nonprofits.
Over the years, we’ve played a key role in starting several local nonprofits including:
- The Tech Museum of Innovation, serving as a founding partner
- Daybreak Shelter, providing safety and support to homeless teenagers
- The Stanford Health Library, helping consumers make informed medical decisions
- Rebuilding Together Peninsula, bringing this nationwide home repair program to our community
- Rosalie Rendu Center, providing English lessons and supporting pre-school education for families to break the cycle of poverty
To learn more about our current community projects, see Impact.