Since our inception in 1967 we’ve been promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community. While the world continues grappling with new stages of the pandemic, we are focused on long-term impact and positive change, having emerged from the last year confident and stronger. In June 2020, I noted that we were cautiously riding out a pandemic and experiencing the destructive consequences of structural and systemic racism and health inequities. While it was a sobering start to our 2020-2021 year, we did not lose sight of our mission or minimize the importance of our work. I’m so proud of what we accomplished during a year like no other, operating virtually, working through much uncertainty, trying new things and taking risks. The members who came before us layed a strong foundation to help us endure and thrive, not just survive. This past year we formed our inaugural Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Task Force, implemented our 2020-2024 Strategic Plan, exceeded our fundraising goals, hosted our first women’s leadership conference, and distributed $55,000 in community grants alone, just to highlight a handful of things. We could not have done this without our partners, sponsors, advocates, supporters at large, and our incredible members.
Our members lead busy lives and choose to dedicate their time and energy to the League. We are so grateful that this time away from families, friends, passion projects, and so many other areas is dedicated to our mission. That was the inspiration for this year’s theme: “Action with Purpose.”
We are committed to making the best use of our time and resources and will be focused on ensuring whatever actions we take are purposeful and contribute to our mission and members’ personal development goals.
Our nearly 500 members volunteer tens of thousands of hours annually and have raised over $5 million dollars since our inception to support our mission and the community. Our members may work inside or outside the home, or both. They might be caregivers to the elderly, young, or fur babies. You will meet us on the campaign trail, on committees, in boardrooms, developing the newest technologies, teaching our youth, keeping the community healthy, leading initiatives, running organizations, and more, all while we empower women to do more, be more. As part of the Association of Junior Leagues International, we are one of nearly 300 Leagues across four countries. While we all share the same mission, our community programs are crafted locally to align with the most critical needs in each of our communities. We often use the phrase “like-minded women” when describing the benefits of becoming a member. We see new members as a culture add versus a culture “fit.” As we may all strive to empower women and positively change our community, we bring myriad qualities, perspectives, and gifts, as students or teachers, mentees or mentors.
Since 2016, when the Junior League of San Jose (JLSJ) implemented an issue-based community impact program with transitional age foster youth (TAY) as our community focus area, we have forged strategic partnerships with key organizations such as Pivotal, the Hub, Child Advocates of Silicon Valley, First Place for Youth, Santa Clara County, and other foster-youth focused and government organizations. We are specifically committed to helping foster youth successfully transition out of foster care. In Santa Clara County, there are about 500 foster youth ages 16-21, who suffer extreme hardship and lack of resources leading to:
- 70% not earning a high school diploma
- more than 97% not graduating from college
- only 50% being employed at age 24
JLSJ is focused on “Fostering Pathways to Success” by supporting the education, employment, and successful transition to adulthood of foster youth. Through our work, we have helped make systematic changes to the way foster youth are supported in Santa Clara County to improve their outcomes, including support through internship funding, resume help, career mentoring, job placement support, local and state advocacy, and more. JLSJ aims to achieve improved education and employment outcomes of Santa Clara County foster youth, with the ultimate goal of 50% of foster youth in Santa Clara County earning $50,000/year by the age of 26, beginning with the class of 2021.
Help us impact Santa Clara County as we turn 55, as we have since 1967. There are many ways to support us including becoming a member, a non-profit partner, a donor, or an event attendee. We hope you will join us at our Trivia Challenge fundraiser in the spring of 2021 or one of our other many training, community, volunteer, or social events. Follow us on social media to opt into future events (@juniorleaguesj on Instagram and Junior League of San Jose on Facebook).
We are ready to take on a year that will present new opportunities and challenges. We are resilient. We are passionate. We are remarkable. We are leaders. We are the Junior League and we got this.
Junior League of San Jose