It all began in 1929, when Grace Bakewell called her friend Clara Hughes and asked her to help form a Junior League in Tucson. They formed a small group of charter members known as the Service Club of Tucson. The women were required to start a community project before their application for membership in the national Junior League was accepted. They began a day nursery, then a lending library – funded by style shows, dances and a rummage sale. When the Service Club of Tucson was accepted into the national league membership in February 1933, there were about 50 members. Today, there are 130 active and 350 sustaining members, MacDonald said. “As has been the case in the nearly 300 communities where you will find a Junior League, Tucson league members are trained and dependable workers,” Morrison said. “We have saved historic buildings, filled a need, trained others and advocated for causes and legislative bills that affected all members of society.” Indeed, the Junior League of Tucson’s all-encompassing work over eight decades has included setting up day care nurseries and nurse programs in the 1930s to working with the Fort Lowell Museum and the Red Cross in the 1960s to its current project, JLT C.A.R.E.S., to promote healthy aging. Its list of projects over the years is vast, with virtually no charitable area left untouched within the Tucson community. Its meeting spots have comprised some of the city’s most historic landmarks, including the original El Conquistador and Santa Rita hotels. The JLT joined with St. Luke’s in the Desert Board of Visitors in the late 1970s to open a boarding home for elderly low-income women that still operates today as St. Luke’s Home. Just a few years later, it helped launch the Ronald McDonald House in Tucson. “The league provided the seed money to support the salary of the house manager for four years and operational money to sustain the house,” recalled Diana Sheldon, executive director for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona. continued on page 240 >>> www.BizTucson.com
A look back at Junior League Tucson 1929
20 women create the Service Club of Tucson.
The Association of Junior Leagues of America officially admits the Service Club of Tucson. The group becomes the Junior League of Tucson with 47 charter members.
New headquarters are established in the Santa Rita Hotel.
Members give the American Red Cross $300 to finance the first Visiting Nurse Service, supporting trained bedside caregivers.
The attack on Pearl Harbor changes the nation on Dec. 7. JLT establishes welcoming committees at the air base.
The first Junior League Follies performance is held, with Ted DeGrazia creating the program cover.
Headquarters move to donated space at the El Conquistador Hotel.
JLT provides $10,000 for the restoration of old buildings at Fort Lowell. League members, dressed in period garb, offer tours of the fort.
The league commits the funding to customize an Arizona Desert Museum van and helps restore the Cordova House at the Tucson Museum of Art.
JLT partners with St. Luke’s in the Desert Board of Visitors to start a boarding home facility, St. Luke’s Home, for elderly low-income women.
The league moves into current headquarters on River Road.
Ronald McDonald House opens in Tucson, with help from JLT.
JLT celebrates its 50th anniversary.
JLT files articles of incorporation with the state of Arizona.
A Done in a Day committee is created, dispatching members throughout Tucson to help with charitable projects that could be completed in one day.
The league releases its first of two cookbooks, “Purple Sage.”
The JLT gives $14,100 to launch the Kids with Character program, in collaboration with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson, and $5,900 to The University of Arizona Medical Center Pediatric Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant Fund.
The league’s second cookbook, “Wild Thyme and Other Temptations,” is released.
JLT commits $25,000 and volunteers to support the Community/School Partnership After-School Program with the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona.
JLT C.A.R.E.S. is created to help senior citizens lead healthy lives. The league gives $25,000 to Pima Council on Aging to purchase a van for Meals on Wheels.
JLT celebrates eight decades. Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 239
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