Junior League of Milwaukee History


  • Initiated the first Junior League of Milwaukee project, Confidential Exchange, which was later turned over to a forerunner of the United Way of Greater Milwaukee.
  • Worked for the Red Cross, a wartime requirement.
  • Initiated Workshop for Occupational Therapy, which became Junior League Curative Workshop at Columbia Hospital (now Curative Care Network), with JLM financing and directing its operation.
  • Opened the Junior League Paint Shop to sell toys made by handicapped children at the Curative Workshop until 1937.


  • Won first prize with the JLM Welfare Exhibit at the AJLI Regional Conference held in Milwaukee.
  • Started “News Sheet,” which developed from a three-page brochure into a magazine.
  • Made a three-year funding commitment to the Visiting Nurse Association for its Occupational Therapy Department.
  • Funded Bethany Home for the psychiatric care of delinquent children.
  • Began the Children’s Theater, a community activity until 1975.


  • Continued involvement with Curative Workshop (now Curative Care Network).
    • Began Sheltered Workshop for adults and children with special needs.
    • Raised $137,636 for a new building.
    • Gained acceptance by the American Hospital Association – the first in the United States.
  • Participated in the Federal Rehabilitation Program and began a speech clinic.
  • Started a Garden Club, which eventually evolved into Garden and Conservation and later the Environmental Committee.


  • Funded, organized and opened the Blood Center for Wisconsin.
  • Sponsored the first Wisconsin Exhibition of Art.
  • Co-sponsored the Children’s Art Program with the Milwaukee Art Center.


  • Added symphony to the Children’s Art Program (now Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra) and turned it over to the Milwaukee Art Center.
  • Started the “Happy Ticker,” a magazine for home-bound children. “Happy Ticker” was adopted by the Alpha Phi Sorority Alumnae.
  • Began School for Research on Language Disorders with UWM.
  • Opened Penny Wise Resale Shop.
  • Published “Be Milwaukee’s Guest” cookbook.


  • Initiated Volunteer Services Project. Expanded into eight projects that were honored by the national HUD award, featured in AJLI Magazine and included on the first League-sponsored TV special.
  • Started Junior League Singers.
  • Published “Be Wisconsin’s Guest cookbook.
  • Participated in additional projects including: Riveredge Nature Center Education Program, Historic Walker’s Point, St. Michael’s Drug Program, Outreach Detention Experiencing the Arts, and Venereal Disease Education.


  • Established a Public Affairs Committee and First State Public Affairs Committee with the Junior League of Racine.
  • Produced and released the film “Domestic Violence: The All-American Crime,” with the financial help of Junior Leagues across the country.
  • Published “Be Our Guest” cookbook.
  • Helped fund and advocate for the development of Milwaukee’s first Battered Women’s Shelter in partnership with the Task Force on Battered Women.
  • Initiated community programs: Today’s Girls/Tomorrow’s Women, Citizen Foster Care Review Board, Child Sexual Abuse Prevention and Parents Anonymous (now The Parenting Network).
  • Established Respite Care Project with Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin.
  • Organized the Ronald McDonald House Volunteer Program.
  • Started several heath-related projects including: Heart Saver/CPR with Columbia Hospital, Improving Medical Services to Milwaukee Inner-city Residents, Penfield Children’s Center, and Early Screening Project


  • Moved the JLM office to the Isabel Miller residence, home of the JLM founder Alice Miller Chester.
  • Turned over the Early Screening Project to Children’s Hospital.
  • Turned over Today’s Girls/Tomorrow’s Women to the Boys and Girls Club of Milwaukee.
  • Created Children’s Horticultural Education Program at Boerner Botanical Gardens.
  • Published “Gatherings” Cookbook, which one the International Association of Culinary Professionals Award for Best Community Cookbook in 1987.
  • Jointly launched, with the Milwaukee Rotary Club, the 75th Anniversary Project: the Health Education Center of Wisconsin. Exceeded the $250,000 fundraising goal for this program.
  • Participated in additional community projects including: La Causa Crisis Nursery, 53rd Street School, and Penfield Family Support Program.


  • Began Gilda’s Club of Southeastern Wisconsin, a community organization for people living with cancer, their families and friends. Provided $100,000 over four years as the founding sponsor.
  • Launched Care Kits Project with the Milwaukee County Courthouse and the Task Force on Family Violence, a program that provides backpacks filled with hygiene products, snacks and other items for children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse. Care Kits are currently distributed by the Milwaukee County Sensitive Crimes Victim Services Unit.
  • Celebrated our 90th anniversary and announced the three-year, $90,00 project with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), a program of In Their Best Interest. CASA is a network of programs that trains and supports volunteers to represent the best interest of neglected children in the courtroom and other settings.
  • Established the JLM Endowment Fund.
  • Published the JLM cookbook, “An Occasion to Gather.”


  • Celebrated our 100th anniversary and unveiled the new signature project with Safe Home Environment during the 2016-17 membership year.
  • Partnered with the Southwest YMCA in 2013 to launch Kids in the Kitchen, an AJLI program targeted to combat childhood obesity.
  • Started Teen Transition Program along with Kids Matter  in an effort to prepare foster children for life after foster care.
  • Began two of our largest fundraisers: Grand Garage Sale and Holiday Boutique.
  • Launched Santa’s Castle to provide a holiday experience to under-served children.
  • Celebrate dour 95th anniversary during the 2010-11 membership year.