History of the Junior League

History of the Junior League of Buffalo

1919 First Official Junior League Meeting

  • On June 5, 1919, a meeting was held in the home of Mrs. Seymour H. Knox (800 Delaware Avenue) to discuss bringing the Junior League to Buffalo. Sixty-seven women responded to the first roll call with Mrs. Nelson Taylor presiding
  • Junior League of Buffalo founded
  • $50 donated to Children's Hospital for Sewing Supplies

1920s Focus: Children and Families

  • Operated a food store on Allen Street
  • Purchased a Thrift Shop for $1.00 from the Red Cross (the first League Thrift Shop in the country)
  • Proceeds from Thrift Shop and variety shows were donated to Children's Hospital - $37,086
  • $15,241 donated to a Dental Clinic Endorsement Fund at Children's Hospital

1930s Focus: Children and Families

  • Food store and Thrift Shop continued
  • Fundraisers supported a visiting teacher for homebound students and a health care clinic
  • League members brought theater to 2,500 school children

1940s Focus: Children, the Arts

  • League headquarters became a gallery for local artists
  • Sponsored a Community Radio institute lecture series
  • Began a children's radio series
  • Assisted in establishing one of the country's first centers for young adults with cerebral palsy
  • Provided financial support for Red Cross Blood Bank, Children's Hospital and The Buffalo Philharmonic.

1950s Focus: Children

  • Extensive support for Children's Hospital, Cerebral Palsy Center, Buffalo
  • Philharmonic concerts for high school students
  • Established Council of Social Agencies
  • $4,000 - Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society
  • The Follies fundraiser show

1960s Focus: Children, Children’s Health Issues, Historical Preservation

  • Support for Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo Museum of Science
  • $50,000 pledge to the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation - spearheaded drive to restore the Wilcox Mansion
  • Actively participated in creation of educational television programs
  • Vision screening for preschoolers
  • Prepared large print materials for the visually impaired
  • $20,000 donated to Volunteer Service Bureau and Children's Aid Society
  • $15,000 - Penguin Aquarium at the Buffalo Zoo, $11,000 and Studio Arena for audience development.

1970s Focus: Criminal Justice, Environment, Children in Crisis, The Arts

  • Co-sponsored major exhibit at Albright-Knox Art Gallery
  • Supported Compass and Day Care Council of Erie County
  • $8,500 grant to develop Environmental Clearinghouse Organization
  • Received national recognition for model programs for women at Erie County Correctional Facility
  • Added Haunted House to fundraisers
  • First annual Ethnic Heritage Festival
  • $13,000 - TOY (Theatre of Youth), $8,500 - Zoomobile, $4,035 - Hospice, $9,965 - Discovery Room at the Buffalo Museum of Science

1980s Focus: Women and Children, Downtown Revitalization, Training, Advocacy and Collaboration

  • Developed and supported the Domestic Violence Coalition, Effective Parenting Information for Children, Haven House, The Community Dispute Program, The Victim Witness Program, The Juvenile Mediation Program, Kids On the Block
  • Supported Western New York Child Care Coalition
  • Helped to develop Leadership Buffalo
  • Decorators' Show House Project begun: Larkin House (1981), Ransom House (1983), Bassett House (1985), Kellogg House (1987), Appleton Mansion (1989)
  • Over $600,000 donated to: Waterfront Summer Concert Series, Cybernetic Light Show in Lafayette Square, Central Referral Services, Inc., Restoration of Buffalo Lighthouse, Tifft Nature Preserve Education
  • $8,000 donated to develop an Architectural Guidebook & Awareness Program in collaboration with UB (JLB docents)
  • $4,000 - the Center for Aging Study at UB, $8,000 - Hospice, $5,000 - Compass House for renovations, $15,000 - Ronald McDonald House, $9,977 - Access Guide for Disabled and Elderly, $18,000 - Toy & Equipment lending Library

1990s Focus: Empowering Women, Family, Literacy, Restoration

  • Designed and developed Co-Care for children of alcoholic parents
  • Created "Buffalo Beckons" an access guide for the disabled
  • Introduced LEAF (Learning Empowerment and Families) literacy program
  • Girls, Inc.: Teen pregnancy prevention program in collaboration with the YWCA
  • Community Collaborative Forum
  • Vienna presentation at United Nations NGO Conference
  • Beijing presentation at United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women
  • AJLI/BMW Community Impact Merit Award
  • Great Lake Effects: Buffalo Beyond Winter and Wings Cookbook introduced: awarded the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tabasco Award
  • Decorators' Show House: McLean House (1991), The Birtches (1993), E.B. Green's Robert Donner Home (1995), The President's House (1997), Larkin House (1999)
  • Over $890,000 donated to: The Buffalo Zoo, Waterfront Concert Series, Hospice Education Center, Kleinhans Music Hall, EPIC (Every Person Influences Children), Compass House and the Theater of Youth.

2000s Focus: Families at Ris

  • Girls, Inc. continued
  • Families United: Program whose purpose is to decrease the incidence of substance abuse and HIV/AIDS infection affecting teen moms and their families.
  • Child and Family Services: Family Violence intervention program
  • Kid's Cafe project with the Food Bank of Western New York
  • Decorators' Show House: The Schoellkopf Vom-Berge Manor (2001), Miller Mansion (2003), The Century House (2005), The Silverthorne Mansion (2007)
  • First cookbook - award winning Great Lake Effects: Buffalo Beyond Winter and Wings, sales exceed 24,000 books
  • Junior League of Buffalo teams up with a community project with Literacy Volunteers in 2007