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2018 - 2019 ANNUAL REPORT 1


A LETTER FROM OUR PRESIDENT Foundation Facts by the Numbers The Junior League of Omaha celebrated its 100th anniversary during the 2018-2019 League year. This anniversary was the perfect opportunity for all of us to celebrate the past, the many accomplishments of the present and look forward to the future. For 100 years, the League has stayed true to its mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving our community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. This amazing work was started in 1919 by a small group of women who set out to improve our community on the front lines. This year was no exception. Our members dedicated nearly 17,000 volunteer hours to the League and our community. We successfully launched our two programs, A Book of My Own and Project Hope Pack, into the community. We welcomed 55 ladies into our 100th New Member class and our fundraisers raised $68,447 for our community programs.


Total Amount Raised


Number of Meetings


Total Donated to the League by the Foundation




Active Members


Number of Board Members

Creating a Foundation of Support for JLO The Junior League of Omaha Foundation was established in 1996 to provide a permanent source of income for the Junior League of Omaha. Donations to the Foundation are taxdeductible and are invested to provide long-term capital appreciation and income. Each year, a portion of the net investment is given to the League to support the mission, projects and other League business. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as president of the Junior League of Omaha Foundation, especially during the 100th anniversary!

Highlights from the Year

• The Foundation was proud to donate $10,000 this year to help fund the remodel of the Junior League headquarters. The annual gift was presented at the October General Membership Meeting. • In November, the Annual Appeal letters were mailed to all Sustainers. The Foundation received generous donations from 140 donors from this letter campaign with additional donations that were collected with annual dues.

It isn’t every day that an organization turns 100 years old and many people have asked what our “secret” is. I truly believe that our “secret” is our members. Every member of the Junior League of Omaha joins for a different reason, but our members stay because through the League they have made valuable connections with other women, discovered ways to give back to the community and have gained indispensable leadership skills. I hope as you read this year’s Annual Report you remember why you support the Junior League of Omaha.

• The Annual Sustainer and Past Presidents’ Luncheon was held on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at Champions Run. The luncheon and program recognized all Foundation donors from the previous year, Sustainers as well as past presidents, Foundation presidents and Sustainer Hall of Fame and Distinguished Sustainer award winners.

It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve as the 100th president of the Junior League. Thank you to our members for working tirelessly for the League this year and every year. We are truly making Omaha a better place and I look forward to seeing what we can do in the next century.

• The Foundation board attended the 100th Anniversary luncheon at the Downtown Marriott on Friday, March 15, 2019. This event was a wonderful celebration of the history of our League!

Lindsey Tonniges Junior League of Omaha President, 2018-2019

2018-2019 Junior League of Omaha Foundation Board

• The Donor Appreciation Coffee event was held on April 15, 2019 at the home of Vicki Wampler to thank the most recent Foundation donors.


• Sustainer Danielle Bunz completed her second term on the Foundation board; Sustainer Carol Lewis was elected to a three year term on the Foundation board.

The Junior League of Omaha is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

2018-2019 Foundation Board of Directors

OUR REACH OUT STATEMENT The Junior League of Omaha reaches out to women of all races, religions, and national origins who demonstrate an interest in and a commitment to voluntarism.


• In September and March each year, we continue to review the Foundation’s investment portfolio with our advisors. The Foundation reported total assets of more than $580,000 as of May 2019. An elected audit committee met in June to review the financial records.

Foundation President Kathy Martin stands with Junior League of Omaha President Lindsey Tonniges at the October General Membership Meeting after presenting the League with a donation of $10,000.

President: Kathi Martin President-Elect: Cathi Arnold Secretary: Sandy Lundholm Treasurer: Mary Dobleman Advisor: Mary Lynn Reiser



Executive board & management REVENUE 100th Anniversary (17%)

Bargain Bash (12%) Big Red Block Party (8.5%) Cookbook, net (6.5%)

bRUNch 5k (4%) Project Hope Pack (3.5%) A Book of My Own (3%) Color Run (2%)


Management Team: Front Row: Melissa Rush, Patricia Stillmock, Grace Spomer, Colby Jensen, Bethany Banister; Back Row: Amber Gard, Jillian Humphries, Alexis Pappas, Sheena Helgenberger, Lisa Buckentine, Kate Pitschka (Not Pictured: Cindy Guenzel, Alyson Manning, Alysia Radicia)

100th Anniversary (22%)

President: Lindsay Tonniges

Executive Vice President: Alyson Manning

President Elect: Kerri Palmesano

Finance Manager: Colby Jensen

Big Red Block Party (9%)

President Elect-Elect: Katie Triplett

Recording Secretary: Kate Pitschka

Project Hope Pack (7.5%)

Financial Vice President: Liz Akert

100th Anniversary Committee: Patricia Stillmock, Bethany Banister

Corresponding Secretary: Jessica Holdenried

Headquarters Committee: Alysia Radicia

Recording Secretary: Kate Pitschka

Communications Council Director: Melissa Rush

Bargain Bash (7%)

Executive Vice President: Alyson Manning

Communications Council Assistant Director: Jillian Humphries

Bylaws Chair: Amy Benedict

Community Council Director: Cindy Guenzel

bRUNch 5k (3%)

Nominating Chair: Mary Jane Tritsch

Community Council Assistant Director: Amber Gard

Members-at-Large: Kathryn Anderson, Jessica Sock

Fundraising Council Director: Lisa Buckentine Fundraising Council Assistant Director: Sheena Helgenberger Membership Council Director: Grace Spomer Membership Council Assistant Director: Alexis Pappas


The 2018-2019 League year was full of celebration and new challenges. Thank you to our leadership for always making the Junior League of Omaha a priority and for the countless hours you spent ensuring the League’s success.

$298,789 Expenses

A Book of My Own (7%)

Cookbook, net (.06%) Color Run (0%)

Executive Board: Front Row: Jessica Holdenried, Kate Pitschka, Lindsay Tonniges, Kerri Palmesano, Katie Triplett; Back Row: Amy Benedict, Brenda Christensen, Brenda Smith, Alyson Manning, Kathryn Anderson, Liz Akert (Not Pictured: Jessica Sock, Mary Jane Tritsch)

$393,437 REVENUE

“The Junior League continues to make fiscal responsibility a priority. In 2018-2019, the Finance Committee expanded from two to three volunteers. The new position formalized a role for liaison between fundraisers and finance. In addition, with two volunteers on the committee as professional CPAs, there is a wealth of knowledge related to accounting, audit and taxes that has allowed the League to improve its processes and approach new JLO initiatives with greater accuracy and appropriateness.”

-Liz Akert, Finance Vice President



2018-2019 New Member Class

The Junior League of Omaha was founded in March 1919. It was the 25th league in the national chain. Founders Harriet Smith Whiting, Rachel Kincade Gallagher and Elizabeth Davis joined 68 charter members. Nearly all of the founding members had taken part in war work in World War I. By the 50th year anniversary in 1969, the League had grown to 262 Active Members and 166 Sustainer Members.


2018 Holiday Social.

Junior League of Omaha headquarters renovation project ribbon cutting.

Mentorship Committee kick-off event.

Members reflect on what broughT them to the Junior League of Omaha and some of their favorite memories. “I joined the League to feel a connection with my community after moving back to Omaha. I had hoped that I would meet some friendly girls along the way. Four years later, I have some of the best friends I’ll have in this lifetime and have seen the League accomplish so much positive change for the community.” Macey Morgan, Active Member

“For our core group project we choose to serve breakfast for the guests at the Lydia house. I was always intrigued to volunteer for the homeless population but couldn’t get myself to do it on my own. But with the help of the Junior League and my core group I had a really rewarding time and can see myself doing it again on my own and want to include my family.” Heike Zumdohme, New Member


“I have two favorite memories. First, my “way of the city” tour when I was a provisional. Having moved here from Grand Island, I knew nothing about Omaha and it was so interesting to drive around the different parts of the city and listen to a variety of speakers talk about the history of this wonderful city. Second, I absolutely loved being the Provisional Chairman of 102 New Members! We had day meetings and evening meetings and it was such fun sharing with them my love for this organization and the city of Omaha. We had babies born, gals getting married -- it was a great year getting to know all those outstanding women and I had the best provisional committee to assist me!”



Membership · Communications Community Impact · Fundraising



15 Committees management team & executive team

Kathy Martin, Sustainer

TOTAL League Volunteer Hours:


New Members:

Active Members:


TOTAL League Membership:

723 7



The year brought tremendous change to the Community Impact Council. I am proud of the hard work done to successfully sunset two projects, the Community Research and Development Committee’s effort toward new focus area development and Done-in-a-Day’s ability to plan 14 quality events with local agencies. It’s an honor to work alongside these women and I greatly appreciate the time and leadership of all involved. -Cindy Guenzel, Council Director

Operation School Bell helps supply students of 10 schools with gear for the new school year. League members help the shoppers.


All in a Day’s Work for DIAD

Currently, the League is researching three new focus areas: Abuse in Women and Children, Opportunity Youth and Hunger and Access to Healthy Foods to develop strategic goals, targeted demographics and multi-faceted programs to meet the needs of the focus area at every level of engagement. Issue-based community impact allows the needs of the issue and goals of the League to measure up and drive the work we do within the community. Service Learning Opportunities (SLO) are being held now through the first part of the next League year to develop data and statistics about ways JLO membership can make an impact in the community. Each SLO will have a training portion/informational session about the focus area, volunteer opportunity and debriefing. The data will be compiled to determine JLO’s next steps in making strategic goals and impactful programming.

Members help organize donations received for the Shine the Light on Hunger program.

Done-in-a-Day was approved as a project in 2014, after a brief break. Its goal is to highlight community partnerships, provide volunteer shifts to membership and raise awareness of the Junior League of Omaha. The Done-in-a-Day Committee provided more than 180 volunteers to 12 different organizations within the community during the 2018-2019 league year. Long-time, historical partners include The Rose Theater and the Omaha Symphony.

I love doing [the Hope Center for Kid’s Thanksgiving Dinner] every year because I think it truly shows what the League is about. I always sit and chat with the families and it makes me feel so grateful and appreciative that the Junior League gives me another avenue to do community service. -Amanda Petersen, DIAD Committee Member

Organizations reach out to Done-in-a-Day or committee members have connections with organizations around Omaha.

Hope Center for Kids Thanksgiving Dinner.

We had a great opportunity to learn about Together Inc. through service in December,” said Jenny Scoggin, the lead DIAD committee member for The Shine the Light on Hunger event. “Overall, it was a great experience to learn about the community we live in and the operations that are doing so much to help our neighbors.

Highlights: • ABOMO collected 20,000 books and distributed 14,000; in May 2019 SPARKpositivity took over the A Book of My Own project. • Done-in-a-Day held 14 successful member-focused volunteer opportunities. • Project Hope Pack trained and educated CASA for taking over the project and delivered more than 1,000 backpacks to its partners.


The Community Impact Council focuses on encouraging Junior League of Omaha programs to be successful, working efficiently together and troubleshooting how to make the member community experience better. The Council strives to support each program to meet its goals while having an impactful experience for the members and within the community.

Live Well Omaha Kids.

Done-in-a-Day Events in 2018-2019 Live Well Dining Pledge Lauritzen Gardens Antique Show Operation School Bell Omaha’s Great Pumpkin Tree Festival Omaha Symphony Spooktacular Hope Center for Kids Thanksgiving Dinner Shine a Light on Hunger Pi Beta Phi Book Event Open Door Mission Keep Omaha Beautiful QLI Easter Egg Prep Autism Society Fun Fest 24 Hours of Impact Nebraska Community Blood Bank Drive



About SPARK Positivity SPARKPositivity is a two year-old nonprofit focusing on youth in Omaha. SPARK’s unique mind, body and soul approach aligns with ABOMO goals. Both programs promote literacy and reading comprehension, the mind portion of SPARK curriculum. These programs promote voluntarism and community giving, the soul portion of the SPARK curriculum. The collaborative mindset of the importance of books in every child’s hands makes this a natural fit for both organizations.

Junior League of Omaha Concludes Book Project After Nine Years, SPARK Positivity Continues the Story For nine consecutive years, A Book of My Own was an exclusive JLO project that collected, sorted and distributed new and gently-used books with the help of partner agencies to at-risk children in the community with the goal that all children in Omaha would have a book of their own. Since 2011, the program distributed an amazing 133,492 books to tens of thousands of area youth. The program’s success can be seen in the smiles of the kids picking out books and the fond memories from volunteers. “It is so rewarding to meet the kids who receive our donated books,” Catherine Harrington, ABOMO 2018 - 2019 co-chair said. “I can’t tell you how many times kids asked, ‘I actually get to keep this book?’ Or even, ‘can I write my name in it?’ I loved getting to tell these kids ‘yes’ and to share my love of reading with them.”

As part of their membership requirements, every League member serves on a committee of their choice. The ABOMO Committee was comprised of 19 ladies serving in roles such as chair to distribution coordinator and many others. This dynamic group of ladies volunteered an impressive 1,364 total committee hours during the League year. live bright

“As a transfer from another League, I don’t think I could have found a better placement than ABOMO. I’ve gotten to work with some amazing women dedicated to creating a positive impact in the community. I’ve gotten to learn my way around Omaha dropping off books and staffing distribution events. And I’ve also met so many wonderful organizations and people in the community. This program is near and dear to my heart, and I’m excited to be a small part of launching it into its future with SPARKPositivity.” Sarah Antonello, ABOMO distribution coordinator said.

• • •

SPARKPositivity offers intensive, research-based after school programming to low income children. SPARK programs involve kindergarten through 2nd grade children with a focus on delivering the positive messages of kindness, empowerment and hope to hundreds of children across Omaha. SPARKPositivity will be partnering with Girls Inc, Kids Can, Completely Kids, The Hope Center, and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands in 2019. Additional details on the new organizer of A Book of My Own can be found at: https://www.sparkpositivity.org/

A Book of My Own By the Numbers

ABOMO slayed its final year as a JLO program with the following stats:

Catherine adds, “Literacy is so important. It’s not only a great indicator of future success, but also teaches kids empathy. The work that the Junior League of Omaha has done with A Book of My Own has truly touched so many lives!”

1,364 Committee Hours

19 8

Sorting Shifts Distribution and Moving Shifts

18,675 40

Books Collected from Drives


Book Distribution Events

More Then

16,400 Distributed Books

Community Partners Through the Years

League members often organized ABOMO volunteer shifts in conjunction with other groups they belonged or for specific JLO committee. Here several League members and Bi Beta Phi alumni volunteer at a book distribution.


Green Eggs and Ham, Oh the Places You’ll Go, Oh the Thinks That You’ll Think and the list goes on. League members pay homage to the great Dr. Seuss at a ABOMO event with adorable Seuss hats.

During the 2018-2019 League year, ABOMO committee members organized 45 distribution events and gave away more than 16,400 books. Whoa! Here a committee member takes a moment for a fun photo.

• • • • • • • • • •

Juneteenth Nebraska Westgate Elementary Hillside Elementary PromiseShip Nebraska Medical Center Salvation Army Collective for Youth SAVE Paddock Road Elementary Family, Inc.

• • • • • • •

One World Remaining One World UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute Mockingbird Elementary Fontenelle Elementary Paddock Road Elementary Millard Public School Foundation Kids Network After School • Skinner Elementary (SPARK) • Gilder Elementary (Kids Can - SPARK)

• • • • • • • •

Miller Park Elementary (KidsCan - SPARK) The Hope Center (SPARK) Girls Inc. (SPARK) Completely Kids (SPARK) Boyd Elementary Prairie Wind Elementary Children’s Physicians Plattsmouth Children’s Physicians at UNMC



Project Hope Pack By the Numbers

Doing good for the community is good for everyone. Here is how Project Hope Pack did good during the 2018 - 2019 League year:

filled with necessities and comfort items to young people in crisis situations during the past nine years to partner agencies.

During what could be a child’s darkest moment, a backpack from Project Hope Pack offers more than just a way to hold a few items to get through the next several hours; it’s a message that someone cares. For more than nine years, the mission of Project Hope Pack was to improve Omaha and surrounding communities by providing a tool that would ease the trauma as a child moved from a crisis situation to a safe environment.

“The kids can hardly wait to see what all is inside their Hope Pack. They especially love the activities and stuffed animals or blankets. With their constant displacement, many kids have lost or left behind some of those little luxuries, so it’s very exciting to get a new toy!” Meg Maynard, shift coordinator for Completely Kids, a community partner, said.

The vision was to be a reliable resource for local child advocacy agencies, homeless shelters, community development agencies, government departments and churches and a means of providing age- and gender-appropriate backpacks full of necessities and comfort items to agencies for distribution to children ages three to 18 who were unexpectedly removed from their homes as a result of a crisis situation. “I am impressed JLO saw the need in the community to give children entering into foster care something they can call their own - a backpack from Project Hope Pack filled with essentials and fun items based on their age and gender. The number of children who are recipients is shocking, and if I can help a child in that time of need by filling those backpacks and delivering them to the agencies, I am happy to do it!” Shae Brannon, League Member and PHP volunteer said.

Project Hope Pack was started by the Junior League of Omaha in 2011. Since then, the project has grown, both in committee size and number of agencies it was able to support. Project Hope Pack has delivered more than 7,300 backpacks


Whether a volunteer, committee member or agency partner, a myriad of people were impacted by Project Hope Pack. Former committee chairs share what they feel Project Hope Pack has meant to the community.

“Project Hope Pack has impacted countless lives in the community throughout its existence in the Junior League of Omaha. From our fellow League members preparing each pack, to the caseworkers who could brighten a child’s day; children, who are the heart of this project, those receiving the packs and finding comfort; this has been worthwhile and profound project.” Sarah Kriss, 2017-2018 PHP co-chair said. “Project Hope Pack has opened my eyes to what a pack full of basic necessities can mean to a child who has been through a recent stressful situation. It is worthwhile to take the time to put these packs together to provide a bit of happiness and love at a time when you could feel so helpless and alone,” Andrea Eiler, 2018-2019 PHP co-chair said. “Being a part of this project the past few years has been an honor and a privilege and I can’t wait to see it continue to serve the needs of the community through CASA Service League.”




Volunteer Shifts Held

Volunteer Hours

Backpacks Distributed via 10 Agencies



Awarded from the Olson Foundation Grant

Stuffed Animals Donated by Bonnie Gampper

(toiletries donated by Project Harmony)

About CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) CASA for Douglas County’s mission is to train, empower and inspire volunteer advocates to improve the lives of abused and neglected children in foster care. CASA has been a longtime recipient of the Junior League of Omaha’s hope packs and truly understands the goal of providing basic necessities to young people in time of crisis. As of June 1, 2019, CASA took over as the lead agency operating Project Hope Pack with new office space to house Project Hope Pack materials. Current Junior League members have been working closely with the CASA Service League to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. PHP and CASA for Douglas County have worked side by side this League year to fill and deliver more than 1500 packs! Moving forward, it is the hope that Junior League of Omaha members will continue to serve on the CASA Service League and assist with the Project Hope Pack program!

We are so grateful for the dedication and hard work of all of the committee members, League members who have volunteered for shifts, as well as for the companies and individuals who have offered time, products and monetary donations to this project. With the help of our partner agencies, we have been able to maintain, and now launch a sustainable project that will continue to aid those in our community through CASA for Douglas County. -Andrea Eiler, PHP co-chair

Boundless Hope Amassed by Project Hope Pack

PHP Community Partners • • • •

Project Harmony Youth Emergency Services Heart Ministry Nebraska Children’s Home Society

• • • •

Children’s Square Youth Links Partnership 4 Kids Completely Kids

• Boys Town • Lutheran Family Services


100 YEARS HISTORICAL TIMELINE Celebrated 100 years with a luncheon in March and a cocktail hour following the May Annual Meeting. Special 100 year apparel was created and the League cookbook A Century of Serving debuted and is now being sold in local stores and online on the JLO website. X # of women were in our 100th class of New Members.

Approved new projects for Children’s Crisis Center (Child Saving Institute), the Omaha Children’s Museum and YWCA Career Development (The Women’s Center for Advancement).

The League’s 50th Anniversary year. Sponsored the Mary Cassatt and the Impressionists exhibit at the Joslyn Art Museum with a $9,000 grant. Pieces by Mary Cassatt are on display at the Joslyn Art Museum in their permanent collection.

Took over Children’s Theatre from the Omaha Community Playhouse. Produced the annual Children’s play for 24 years.

For 100 years the Junior League of Omaha has fostered philanthropy focused on women and children in our community.

1933 1919


Harriet Smith Whiting, Elizabeth Davis, and Rachel Kincade Gallagher founded the Junior League of Omaha. It became the 25th League in the Association of Junior League of America. The League had 68 members, nearly all of whom had taken part in war work during World War I. Its first activity was providing volunteers for Visiting Nurses Association, University of Nebraska Hospital dispensary, Salvation Army and other charities.



Assumed operation of a thrift store called Jumble Shop from the Nebraska Society of Colonial Dames in America. Jumble Shop was originally located in the Benson neighborhood before it moved to 3038 North 90th Street in 1994.

The first American Girl Fashion Show was held this year and raised $27,500. The Junior League of Omaha Foundation, Inc was established and started with $25,000.


1995 1977

Voted $6,425 and a two-year volunteer commitment for the development of a Girls Club of Omaha Expansion Program (now known as Girls Inc). The Girls Club of Omaha opened in 1975 in the basement of Clifton Hills Presbyterian Church after five years of planning and community involvement, which included a Junior League representative.

2019 2000

The League’s programs included Race for the Cure, Read with Me, Lydia House, Eating Disorders, Seasonal Calendar and Camp Fire Boys & Girls. Fundraisers included the Jumble Shop, American Girl Fashion Show, Market Days and Nebraska Foundation Directory. Approved Race for the Cure Outreach program for 2001-2000.



Celebrating Service and Leadership in Style In 1919, three women gathered together with the intention of founding a local chapter of the Association of the Junior Leagues of America. The inaugural year of the Junior League of Omaha was marked by 68 New Members with the mission of providing volunteers during World War I. Since that historic year, the Junior League of Omaha has started, coordinated or contributed to many of Omaha’s most worthwhile organizations. These include the Color Run, Bargain Bash, Big Red Block Party, bRUNch 5K, UNMC Healthy Heart Life-style, A Book of My Own, Done-In-a-Day, Junior League Cookbook, American Girl Fashion Show, the Junior League of Omaha Foundation and the list goes on. In the 100 years which have passed, the city of Omaha has changed tremendously. What remains consistent is the Junior League of Omaha and its commitment to service. To commemorate the 100th anniversary, the 100th Anniversary Celebratory Luncheon was held on March 15, 2019 at the Marriott Downtown at the Capitol District and it aligned with the theme of “A Celebration of the Junior League of Omaha’s Past, Present and Future.”

ROSE THEATER COMMUNITY PARTNER A $10,000 gift was made to The Rose Theater, an organization with whom the Junior League of Omaha has a strong history. In 1948, Emmy Gifford and two volunteers from the Junior League of Omaha were inspired to start a theater for young audiences in Omaha and one year later, the Omaha Junior Theater was born. Still to this day, the League hosts volunteer opportunities at the Theater to continue to support its mission of being a place where a love for the arts begins.

A great deal of time was spent on making the 100th anniversary celebrations special. This included research into the past, as well as interviews with Sustainers and past members of the League. In addition to studying the records at Junior League of Omaha headquarters, the committee worked with the Omaha World-Herald, the Durham Museum, and the Douglas County Historical Society to locate anecdotes, photos and stories from the past. Highlights from the luncheon included guest speaker, Yesterday’s Lady, Sue McLain, who shared the history of the little black dress. An anniversary video debuted an interview with the oldest living Junior League of Omaha past president, who also attended the event! Co-chairs of the 100th Anniversary Committee, Bethany Banister and Patricia Stillmock, hope that the “League continues to be a strong organization that teaches women how to be great volunteers while making great friendships.” Conducting all of the research and sharing archives with Sustainers from every decade has truly brought the League even closer together and has been “the most fun and rewarding part of this journey.”


*Photos by Roger Humphries Photography



This was a year of innovation that begin with restructuring the Development and Donor Relations Committee (DDR) which then revamped the solicitation packet and annual appeal campaign. DDR also had the monumental task of moving JLO donor records from spreadsheets to a new online donor tracking software and reworked the grant application process. With all these impressive enhancements, the Junior League fundraisers were set-up for a great year!

As the Communications Council turned two years old this League year, there was much to celebrate, but much still to be done. Sustainability was the goal of Council Director Melissa Rush as she led the charge. • • •

Marketing, Publications and Communications Project Management Committee chairs hosted a Communications Deep Dive training to kick off the year. As a whole the Council took a hard look at communications processes and evaluated the most efficient and best use of volunteer hours. As a result, the council director for the 19-20 year was able to better streamline the Council and focus Committee efforts on the most relevant and impactful needs of the league.

“I am incredibly proud of the Council for the sheer magnitude of work created while ending the year as engaged and close as we began. The group of girls that made up the Committees in the Communications Council were amazing and I am so thankful to all for an amazing year,” Rush said.

Year Highlights • Our 2nd annual Bargain Bash was a great success, exceeding budget and earning $26,000 for the League. • This was the final year of Big Red Block Party and we had great attendance for the event, which was held at the Scott Conference Center on Friday, November 2, 2018, before the Nebraska vs. Ohio State games. Attendees enjoyed food and drinks, as well as tailgating games.

Training Goes Big in Honor of 100 Years With the League celebrating its 100th Anniversary, the Training Committee decided to go big by increasing the number of training opportunities. Not only did they complete 12 trainings, but they kept things fun and engaging all year long with the help of membership feedback. Being a training organization, this committee stayed true to the League mission. • • •


• bRUNch5K moved to a new location at Aksarben Village! We had great attendance both in runners and brunchers, and we enjoyed new scenery at Aksarben Village. Brunch followed at Beacon Hills restaurant.

Last year Alysia Radicia and I put together an ad hoc committee on fund development and brought forward a report with recommendations in Spring of 2018. The Board approved our recommendations and we set forth on a three-year timeline to put changes into place. These changes should result in a more diversified and sustainable funding base for the League. – Lisa Buckentine, Fundraising Council Director

Lessons Learned in Year Two of Communications Council


• The Junior League of Omaha continued its partnership with the Color Run providing 137 volunteers at the event in July which earned $8,000 for the League.

Used annual survey results, spoke with League membership, and at the January General Membership Meeting tried out live polling for the first time. They brought back some fan favorites like Google Drive training and Parliamentary Procedure, but also mixed in a number of new events like cooking classes at Metro Community College and a course titled “Women in Finance.” Training events totaled up to 25 hours, multiply that by the number of attendees and it was quite the year!

“We like to think we offer ‘something for everyone’ and that there was at least one training that spoke to you this year whether it was to meet people and have fun or to develop your personal skills. Training is a huge benefit of being a member of the League and truly provides education for life and leadership!” Training Committee Chair Mary Burnett said.


BIG RED BLOCK PARTY Big Red Block Party Celebrates Final Tailgate Husker pride runs deep in the hearts of many Junior League of Omaha members. To celebrate that pride, while generating support for League projects, the League created the unique and highly successful tailgate themed fundraiser Big Red Block Party in 2010. Nine years later, with more than $170,000 raised, JLO scored its final touchdown at the Big Red Block Party in the fall of 2018. “The most meaningful moment during the event [this year] was honoring the previous chairs and talking about the fundraiser. This event has raised $176,000 for the League over the last nine years, and that deserves to be celebrated.” Lauren Anderson, Big Red Block Party co-chair, stated.

As the League grew, support for this fun event increased and the Block Party soon became one of JLO’s most exciting soirees, helping to generate buzz for League projects while cultivating friendships among members. In 2018, the Junior League of Omaha’s Big Red Block Party fundraiser hosted 108 people at the Scott Conference Center. The silent auction continued to be a favorite among attendees with 62 fun, unique packages. Attendees also enjoyed a delicious buffet with rotating, heavy appetizers, two bars and yard games. Experimenting with hearty food choices, innovative signature cocktails and captivating entertainment was a staple of this event and lent to its overall success.

Although this was the final year for the Big Red Block Party, the effect this fundraiser had on the League will not soon be forgotten. Past Big Red Block Party Chair and long-time committee member Katie Triplett, current president elect-elect, reflects back on this wonderful event. “This past year, the Junior League of Omaha hosted our final Big Red Block Party, a fundraiser very close to many members’ hearts! This event was unique in that JLOers, former Husker players and philanthropic members of our community came together to celebrate football and philanthropy,” Triplett said. “I am incredibly proud of this event and grateful for the financial support it offered to fund Junior League of Omaha’s mission of improving our community and training our members.”

BIG RED BLOCK PARTY TIMELINE 2010: The Junior League of Omaha launches its tailgate-themed fundraiser, Big Red Block Party 2011: The new fundraiser continues to grow and evolve becoming a favorite feature of the fall for League members 2012: 350 attendees watch the Nebraska Cornhuskers take on the Ohio State Buckeyes 2013: Husker and NFL veteran Steven Warren and wife Heidi are honorary chairs. Cash and in-kind donations top $43,000 2014: Committee members (only 16) log 2665 volunteer hours to raise more than $32K 2015: The BRBP silent auction raises more than $14K and with total event revenue topping $47K 2016: Brenda Christiansen and Mike Morris serve as honorary chairs as the Cornhuskers once again face-off against the Ohio State Buckeyes. The event welcomes 210 guests. 2017: Committee members (13 in total) help solicit more than $16K in silent auction donations 2018: Yard games, delicious food and unique silent auction packages continue to be a favorite among event attendees at the November 2, 2018 tailgate party.



BARGAIN BASH, COOKBOOK, bRUNCH 5K Bargain Bash rocks the Ralston Arena once more! With its debut in 2017, Bargain Bash continues to engage League Actives, Sustainers and the community. The 2018 event took place on August 25 and 26 at the Ralston Arena exceeding expectations and increasing profits to $26,000! “We had a number of people this year tell us how much they loved it last year and couldn’t wait to come back. Others told us they had heard at other garage sales to come down to Ralston Arena to check out this sale because it was ‘The best!’’’ Chair Ande Johnson said. New this year, following the community sale, employees of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands, Habitat for Humanity, Lutheran Family Services and Paralyzed Veterans of America arrived to take the left over items.

Cookbook *Coming Soon!* Hosting is what Omaha does best. Like all Omahans, the Junior League of Omaha is proud of our city, which provides a warm welcome to guests from all over the world and keeps them coming back year after year. With Omaha’s hospitality in mind, the Junior League of Omaha’s launched its fourth cookbook A Century of Serving: A Centennial Celebration on Sept. 1, 2018, a highly anticipated followup to 2006’s Toast, 1983’s Amber Waves and the League’s original 1933 cookbook. With nearly 250 mouthwatering recipes, from cocktails to desserts and every course in between, A Century of Serving helps you host the perfect experience from start to finish all while learning about the history of our hospitable home. The League sold 1,189 copies of A Century of Serving, primarily through League events and website sales. Books were also sold at community events, including the Lauritzen Garden’s Antique & Garden Show, Omaha Farmer’s Market and Taste of Omaha. Next up, A Century of Serving hits the shelves of businesses across the city.

This event would not be possible without our amazing corporate partners: Borsheims provided shopping bags for all three days of the sale, Karen and Kim Hawkins served as pre-party sponsors and ThermoKing Christensen provided storage space.

bRUNch 5K whisked away to Aksarben Village! The fourth annual bRUNch 5K was held on May 4, 2019 in a new location, Aksarben Village. In addition to the usual 5k run, brunch was hosted at Beacon Hills with a silent auction spread instead of the typical raffle prizes.

bRUNch 5K is no stranger to change as it was once High Heel Dash. Four years ago, the League saw the opportunity to engage the community more by changing the format to include a tasty brunch, which opened the door to more participation. “I believe by changing it to a brunch run format, we not only engage several types of runners, but welcome families to enjoy brunch and help raise money for the League. I think moving the event to Aksarben Village allowed for more partnerships and significantly decreased event costs.” bRUNch 5K Chair Taylor Callahan said.


The race and brunch brought out 155 participants and the League raised a little under $8,000 in net profit! Community partners included Gavillon, Woodhouse Auto, Beacon Hills, Run Omaha, Liv Lounge and 4 Sisters Boutique. We couldn’t have done it without this support as well as the individual attendees and runner participation.


Being fairly new to Omaha when I joined, the friends and activities together have meant the most.

Kay Farrell, Her fondest League memory, Distinguished Sustainer Every year the Junior League of Omaha recognizes women who have dedicated their time to not only the League, but to the community at large. It is the hope that every member takes what they have learned as a member and translate that into roles on boards, associations, guilds and the like to make a difference in Omaha. At our annual meeting each May, we celebrate the contributions the outstanding women leading the way in our community.

WomEn to Watch

WTW Award Winners

Sustainer Hall of Fame

Cindy Guenzel Jillian Humphries Jessica Sock

Kate Grabill Cindy Irvine Jeanie Jones

Women to Watch Award Winners

Sustainer Award Winner Kate Grabill

Fondest League memory of Kate Grabill, Sustainer Hall of Fame

Distinguished Sustainer Kay Farrell

Sustainer Award Winner Jeannie Jones

Sustainer Award Winner Cindy Irvine

I’m not sure if working in the basement with Lou, the pricing manager, smoking cigarettes as we priced, or the time Barb Ganey, my fearless co-chair and I had our husbands dress in tuxedos and help people carry in their goods from their cars would be my fondest memory. Fondest League memory of Cindy Ervine, Sustainer Hall of Fame

Initiated in 2004, the Woman to Watch award recognizes an active member’s support and dedication to the mission of the Junior League of Omaha: promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving the community. Given to a maximum of three members in honor of the three founding members of the Junior League of Omaha, this award celebrates the spirit of volunteerism and aims to recognize individuals who have integrated their JLO training both in the community and within the League.

The 2006-2007 creation and publication of the “Toast to Omaha” cookbook. Our fabulous team researched, tested, designed and printed in less than a year - then marketed & sold 15,000 copies. The committee of incredibly dedicated volunteers made the project extremely rewarding and created lifelong friendships.

Distinguished Sustainer Kay Farrell


The thing I cherish most about the JLO are the friendships I made. Most of my best friends I met while in the League.

24 *Photos by Roger Humphries Photography

Fondest League memory of Jeannie Jones, Sustainer Hall of Fame

Scholarship Recipients The Volunteer Scholarship was established in 1992 to support volunteer and leadership potential of Omaha youth. Three $2,000 scholarships are awarded annually to female high school seniors who demonstrate outstanding volunteer performance in the community, have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and are a full-time student at any Omaha area public or private postsecondary institution. An exemplary scholarship applicant will have a competitive GPA and a demonstrated commitment to volunteering in the community.

· Breanna Wilkinson, Bellevue West · Audrey Otwell, Marian · Maria Hernandez, Omaha South

COMMUNITY Grant Recipients O!Language The grant from the Junior League of Omaha will be utilized to provide scholarships to low-income students or those who cannot afford tuition. It will also be used to buy classroom materials and curriculum for students and educational games, books and resources for their children to use during classroom hours. Completely KIDS The grant from the League, will be used to start a homework diner which leverages resources and mobilizes volunteers to increase family engagement by bringing children and parents together weekly to help with tutoring and enrichment activities, thereby helping address low student achievement. Additionally, the program addresses food insecurity and builds community.

Community Awards LisT Omaha Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Omahans - TOYO Gwen Olney Katie Triplett

Midlands Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Lisa Buckentine Sheena Helgenberger Lakelyn Hogan Sammi Kaiser

WCA’s Tribute to Women Gail Graeve Jessica Pate



Thank you to all of our donors who have supported us throughout our various giving campaigns. In the last 100 years, the Junior League of Omaha has provided more than 1.4 million volunteer hours and $2 million to local causes. Without each of our supporters we would not be able to create such an impact in our community.

1919 Club In 2019, the Junior League of Omaha established the 1919 Club, a donation distinction level honoring our esteemed founders Harriet Smith Whiting, Elizabeth Davis and Rachel Kincade Gallagher. Dedicated to securing the future of the JLO, donors at this level have pledged to contribute $1,919 or more to the Annual Fund within a timespan of five years. *Denotes our inaugural members to the 1919 Club. Welcome and thank you for joining this prestigious group of League supporters.


$1000 - $1,918 Follies, puppet shows, marionettes and plays have long been a staple in our organization’s history. With the goal of bringing joy, education and understanding, the League has been instrumental in shaping the performing arts community in Omaha.


$500 - $999 The JLO published multiple successful cookbooks to enhance our fundraising efforts. Amber Waves of Grain, Taste of Omaha and A Century of Serving kept the JLO in the cookbook business for the past 35 years.

CURATOR $250 - $499 Since the 1940s, the League has supported the Joslyn Art Museum by providing volunteers and education and donating pieces of art to its permanent collection. Throughout the 1970s, the League touted the importance of art within our community by sponsoring art appreciation programs in Omaha-area schools.


$100 - $249 For 65 years, the JLO managed a thrift shop that took on different names, many different homes and impacted many individuals in the Omaha community. Raising well over $1 million in revenue throughout its lifetime, the Jumble Shop remains a League icon.


Up to $99 During the 1970s, JLO focused efforts on providing equitable legal access and education to Omaha. From sponsoring the first handicapped bus in Omaha to providing advocacy programs for youth offenders and counseling assistance to their 26 parents, the League proved it was a partner in improving our community.

Kimberly Banat Jen Bartelt Rita Bartlett Anna Bird Sally Bisson-Best Catherine Bogacz Anne Bothe Sandi Bruns Dawn Buchanan Anthony Buda Bonnie Burke Karen Burkley Lyndsey Canning *Stephanie Caron Chaley Chandler Susan Chenoweth Linda Chloupek Brenda Christensen Elizabeth Darling Kristi Davis Alicia Dittenber Mary Dobleman Britt Dudzinski *Carol Dvorak Kimberly Falk Sigrid Festersen Carolyn Fleming Emily Flom Leslie Fonda Alexandra Fredrichs Kathy Gerber Brady Gibson Wanda Gottschalk Gail Graeve Lisa Gravelle Beth Greiner Laura Hale Lee Vicki Hallett Stephanie Hansen Kate Hansen Debbie Hart Emily Head Cindy Heider Pam Hoesing

Meghan Hope Cynthia Irvine Andrea Johnson Ande Johnson Jeanie Jones Samantha Kaiser Ruth Keene Marilyn Kingston Wende Kotouc Cameron Kroll Amanda LaPuzza *Diny Landen Heike Langdon Emily Lauritzen Elizabeth Lemke Holly Lewis Sarah Macdissi Catherine Mahoney Alyson Manning Sharon Marvin-Griffin Mary Maxwell Sarah McGowan Barbara McNeal Elizabeth McNichols Susan McWhorter Anne Medlock Carolyn Meissner Merrilee Miller Maria Minderman Wendy Moore Kelly Mullin Margaret Mundy Erin Murnan Elizabeth Murphy Karen Nelsen Tina Nelson Diane Nelson Emily Nesbitt Julie Olson Andrea Olson Julie Olson Courtney Otte Jennifer Patten-Benson Jennifer Peters

Kate Pitschka Kayla Pottebaum Sara Radil Mary Reiser Lynn Megan Riebe Lisa Russell Jeanne Salerno Deb Schmadeke Shelley Siemers Rachel Skradski Brenda Smith Katie Staab Christine Stevens Jo Swanson Ann Kathy Tausz Jennifer Thielen Allyson Triplett Mary Tritsch Jane Jessica Turner Heather Vanourney Gail Veitzer Laura Vodvarka Joy Watanabe Christine Webster Nancy Whitted Stacy Wilson Jennifer Zatechka Frances van Meter Julia von Riesen

Junior League of Omaha Foundation Donors Megan Addison Jennifer Alloway Catherine Arnold Kimberly Banat Jen Bartelt Rita Bartlett Anne Baxter Kathy Beck Anna Bird Renee Black Anne Bothe Christina Broekemeier Sandra Bruns Dawn Buchanan Anthony Buda Danielle Bunz Karen Burkley Mary Ellen Callahan Lyndsey Canning Chaley Chandler Susan Chenoweth Linda Chloupek Phyllis Choat Brenda Christensen Jacqueline Christianson Judy Clark Bethany Clark Jessica Covi Angela Cutler Elizabeth Darling Mary Daub Kristi Davis Mary Dobleman Britt Dudzinski Terri Eischeid Sharon Emery Kimberly Falk Janice Falk Sigrid Festersen Barbara Fitzgerald Katherine Fitzgerald-Grandsaert Jodeen Fletcher Lexie Frahm Alexandra Fredrichs Kathy Gerber

Brady Gibson Laura Gordon Wanda Gottschalk Kate Grabill Gail Graeve Lisa Gravelle Beth Greiner Judith Haecker Laura Lee Hale Vicki Hallett Bea Haney Kate Hansen Emily Hansen Stephanie Hansen Carolyn Hansen Debbie Hart Cyndi Hartman Cindy Heider Kareen Hickman Julie Hockney Pam Hoesing Sam Hohman Nancy Holloran Annette Huff Sara Huse Theresa Jehlik Jennifer Jetter Anne Jetter Andrea Johnson Mary Johnson Marcia Jones Anna Jordan Ruth Keene Taylor Kerschke Allison Kousaie Myrna Krohn Diny Landen Amanda LaPuzza Mary Larsen Emily Lauritzen Holly Lewis Carol Lewis Liz Liakos Anne Lieben Nancy Lund

*Thank you to our foundation donors. We apologize for any inaccuracies in the listing above.

Sandra Lundholm Julie Lyons Sarah Macdissi Jodie Mackintosh Alyson Manning Janet Mardis Kathryn Martin Sharon Marvin-Griffin Leslie Mayo Sarah McGowan Suzanne McNamara Megan McNeal Barbara McNeal Elizabeth McNichols Eleanor McNichols Anne Medlock Carolyn Meissner Michele Merrill Sue Meusey Charlene Meyer Wendy Moore Darlene Mueller Margaret Mundy Erin Murnan Elizabeth Murphy Lindsey Natvig Karen Nelsen Nancy Nielsen Christine Nikunen Kathleen O’Konski Mary Katherine O’Neil Mary Ochsner Andrea Olson Julie Olson Judith Olson Jennifer Pansing Jessica Pate Nancy Prauner Sara Radil Susan Reaves Whipple Mary Lynn Reiser Megan Riebe Norma Riley Mary Root Deyna Rouse

Lisa Russell Carol Russell Jeanne Salerno Deb Schmadeke Shirley Siebler Shirley Siebler Julie Skradski Brenda Smith Connie Spellman Christine Stevens Patricia Stillmock Ann Stinson Alexandra Stone Mary Ann Strasheim Nessie Swedlund Jen Teusink Lynda Thomas Madison Thompson Anne Thorne Weaver Allyson Triplett Jessica Turner Maureen Turner Cindy Vaccaro Heather Vanourney Gail Veitzer Julia Von Riesen Suzann Wagner Carol Wang Joy Watanabe Christine Webster Barbara “Babs” Weinberg Martha Weiss Kathryn Wells Nancy Whitted Becki Wiechman Andrea Willman Emilie Workentine Jennifer Zatechka




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The Junior League of Omaha office is located at 12135 Pacific Street, Omaha, Nebraska, 61854. 402-493-8818. The Annual Report is a community publication of the Junior League of Omaha.

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