The Junior League of Macon was founded as the Utility Club in 1924 and was adopted by The Association of Junior Leagues of America, Inc. in 1937. The first fundraiser was in 1924, The Gypsy Ball and raised $492.35. In the Junior League year of 2003-2004, the League had a record breaking year netting over $133,000 with the following fundraisers: Poinsettia Sales -$2,282.65; Sally Foster -$5,424.67; Le-Tour of Kitchens -$22,990.92; Resource Developments Annual Campaign-$36,299.51; and Market Place -$66,092.89. Our membership including members, provisionals and sustaining members total over 700 members. Wow, how we have grown!
In 1924 the Placement System began. Our focus was the Maternal Health Center. In 1945 the thrift shop opened its floors. The Thrift Shop, better known as the Bargain Box, became our main fundraising source, as well as the Children's Theater.
The Junior League also provided many organizations with seed money. One example is Volunteer Macon. In 1969 in conjunction with the Macon Civic Club, the League raised 133,777.26 in the Grand Topper Auction to save and restore the Grand Opera House. The Junior League of Macon was a key contributor of money and volunteers to the Discovery House at the Museum of Arts and Sciences and the Ronald McDonald House located next to the Medical Center.
In 1965 the Junior League of Macon found a house, the Hay House, for our headquarters. In exchange for office space, the Junior League provided 4 hostesses per week. In 1989 membership voted to purchase our present headquarters at 2055 Vineville Avenue.
In 1978, the "Gracious Goodness" cookbook made its debut and the Bargain Box, now known as the Encore Shop, celebrated its 36th year. In 1986 we became 50! Several activities honored the auspicious occasion. Mrs. George Bush, wife of the Vice-President, attended a function at the Museum of Arts and Sciences where she spoke on her days as a League Member and our accomplishments. JLM also acquired its first computer that year!
1988 gave birth to our own musical group, Merry Makers. These starlet wannabes gave performances at local nursing homes and Convention Bureau visitors. The next year Market Place blazed onto the scene and reaped $40,000 in profits.
In 1997-1998 all of the Junior League of Macon's fund raisers, organizational responsibilities and community placements supported one focus area - preventing teen pregnancy. That year we were also involved in the formation of the Teen Parent Center. In 1998 we broadened our focus area to encompass women's and children's health issues. This is the year the Junior League of Macon adopted a mission statement supporting this focus on women's and children's health issues.
Over the years, we have grown and matured. Our focus has always been constant to give our time, money and volunteers back to community. The JLM has given hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless volunteer hours to our community. I wonder if the founding members dreamed of where we would be today!