100 Years of Community Impact

Photos from “Bloom,” The Junior League’s spring fashion show

Photography provided by The Junior League of Cincinnati


The Junior League of Cincinnati (JLC) is quickly approaching their 2019-2020 centennial milestone, celebrating their 100-year history of program incubation and acceleration.

“We identify the unmet needs in the community – and this is what we do every three to five years – and then we put out a proposal to the community, and Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank is who we ended up selecting out of 50 groups,” says Vicki Marsala Calonge, president of the JLC. Sweet Cheeks, an organization that provides diapers to low-income families, will receive both funding and support from Junior League’s 800-plus volunteers over the next three to five years. “Our commitment has remained unwavering: to develop exceptionally qualified civic leaders who can identify a community’s most urgent and pressing needs and address them with meaningful and relevant programs and initiatives that not only improve lives, but educate people on the root cause. This includes numerous self-sustaining nonprofits that continue to grow and thrive today. Past projects such as ProKids, the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, Mindpeace, Fernside, Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, and more.”

“We were founded in 1920 here in Cincinnati, and our mission is threefold. We develop the potential of women through training them to be powerful and effective civic leaders, we promote volunteerism in the community and we improve the community through our trained volunteers,” says Calonge. “Over the last 100 years, we have incubated or accelerated over 120 projects and programs that are all aimed at strengthening childhood environments.”

One of JLC’s most recent projects, RefugeeConnect, aims to “improve the lives of refugees in Greater Cincinnati, foster community acceptance and inclusion and construct a sustainable support system that empowers new Americans on the path to self-sufficiency.”

“RefugeeConnect was a home-grown project,” says Calonge. “We found and recognized the unmet need and said, ‘We’re just going to build this program from scratch to address the need.’ And since then we have transitioned RefugeeConnect out into its own nonprofit, independent organization.”

Over the past 100 years, the JLC has remained committed to developing civic leaders to identify needs and strengthen childhood environments through the influence and partnership of hundreds of volunteers. After all, says the JLC, “They don’t call us the Volunteer Powerhouse for nothing.”


The Junior League of Cincinnati is located at 3500 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226. To learn more, volunteer or become a member, call 513.871.9339, email communications@jlcincinnati.org or visit www.jlcincinnati.org.