The Junior League of Baltimore has established formal partnerships with the Asylee Women Enterprise, House of Ruth Maryland, and the Women’s Housing Coalition. All three local nonprofits receive dedicated support from JLB’s trained volunteers and personal and professional development programming centered around the community impact focus of “Women Building Women: helping women and girls unlock their potential through personal and professional development.” Through focusing its efforts, the JLB looks forward to having maximum impact on women’s lives in Baltimore.
JLB looks forward to working with its new partners to provide Baltimore with a second century of voluntarism through service:
- AWE provides transitional housing, education, social services, and companionship to asylum seekers.
- HRM is a leader in the fight to end domestic violence and provides emergency shelter and a variety of victim services, as well as rehabilitation programs for abusers.
- WHC provides safe and affordable housing and support services to homeless low-income women and families in Baltimore City.
Three years ago, JLB decided to transition from a project- to an impact-based community service model. Baltimore was one of 25 Junior Leagues across the US, Mexico, Canada, and UK to undergo a formal Community Impact Transformation Rollout. The framework for these partnerships is structured to directly benefit the Baltimore community, community partners, members of JLB, and the League itself. The Junior League, in its 105th year, has observed a change in the nonprofit landscape in Baltimore. The overhaul of community efforts strategically positions JLB to provide Baltimore with a second century of voluntarism through service.
In the first year of the Rollout, JLB researched >20 possible impact areas. The top six included Women’s Support and Empowerment; Economic Development and Food Access; Health Resources and Care; Education and Student Mentoring; Family Support Services and Care; and Environmental Action and Education. Members of the Community Impact Council met with community stakeholders and non-profit leaders to match the JLB’s regional scope with member resources and community needs. Member and community surveys were conducted, and >60 potential partners were reviewed.
The following year, the research was analyzed and evaluated. JLB voted in its official focus: Women Building Women: helping women and girls unlock their potential through personal and professional development. “This particular impact focus area resonated with Junior League members because of its connection to the Mission of the organization to promote voluntarism, develop the potential of women, and improve the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. The theme of women building women enables the JLB to improve Baltimore by capitalizing on the unique skillsets of its membership – a group of highly educated, professional women,” said Ashley Chalmers, JLB President. JLB’s reworked infrastructure aligns with the new theme- new committees focus on voluntarism through service, personal programming, and professional development. A five year Strategic Plan was also introduced.
In the third and final year of the community overhaul, JLB identified three organizations with complementary ideals and objectives, with whom long term partnerships would be established. These new relationships have been strategically positioned for the long-term (three to five years) to maximize their impact in Baltimore.
AWE provides transitional housing and companionship to asylum seekers. Program Director Laura Wagner is one of four staff members for the organization, which is primarily fueled by volunteers and community partners. “One common misconception is that these women need to learn how to be American, but that’s not true. They need to learn how to be in the American context. The more awareness we can build around who’s here, why they’re here, and what they can offer, the better,” Ms. Wagner told League members at the September 26th event. “This will make Baltimore a genuinely welcoming city.” JLB has a long history of being champions for diversity and inclusion and will offer AWE participants skill exchange workshops, mentorship, job shadowing, and networking events.
WHC is an organization with ten members whose mission is to provide safe and affordable housing and support services to homeless low-income women and families in Baltimore. Program Director Alexandra Wykowski spoke passionately at the partnership announcement: “Housing is a right. You have to have somewhere to lay your head so you feel safe. We are so excited for you to help us make impact for years to come.” WHC services are tailored to individual situations and specific goals, and the JLB will assist in helping women develop the skills and tools needed for long-term housing stability. Planned impact opportunities include marketing and website support, job skill training, social events, childcare, and the development of a “Ready to Go” program.
HRM is a seminal and preeminent leader in the fight to end domestic violence. They provide emergency shelter, victim services, and abuser rehabilitation. “We need the public’s help to get this out there, and these partnerships mean so much to us,” said Andrew Primrose, Director of Development. JLB has a long history of partnering with HRM. The JLB will offer pro bono legal work, seminars, training and support opportunities, and seasonally-themed days of service.
If you are an organization that is interested in learning more about partnering with the Junior League of Baltimore, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.