In March 1940, the Junior League of Longview was organized as the Longview Charity League by a group of enterprising women seeking to carry on the traditions of Mary Harriman of New York, who established the first Junior League in 1901 as an outgrowth of social consciousness at that time. Since then, the Association of Junior Leagues International has grown to over 290 member Leagues worldwide. The Longview chapter became a member of the Association in February 1981.
With its purpose being exclusively educational and charitable, the Junior League of Longview has remained committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving our community through effective action and leadership. Through community support, JLL seeks simply to enrich minds and lives with trained volunteers.
From selling war bonds and participating in Navy relief campaigns of the 1940s to assisting today in the building of homes and providing needed school supplies to area youth, JLL members work continuously to identify unmet needs in our community by forging effective partnerships and working for change.
JLL has succeeded in its efforts over the last seven decades by contributing more than $3.4 million to the community and volunteering more than 850,000 hours with local organizations, agencies, and institutions that fill critical needs in areas such as healthcare, education, housing, community assistance and families.
JLL has also been instrumental in establishing several key programs in Longview, two of which have developed into self-sustaining organizations – the Longview Museum of Fine Arts and Heart’s Way Hospice (formerly Hospice of Longview). Additionally, since 1993 The Junior League of Longview’s School Supply Train has given more than 54,000 area students the fundamental tools needed to succeed in school. This project brings over 2,000 backpacks full of supplies to needy school children the August before school begins.
Hundreds of community agencies have benefited from the support of the Junior League. League members vote each year to support area projects with financial commitments from its annual Funding Drive.
The Bargain Box, established in 1960 as a small resale shop stocked solely with League member donations, continues to be a vital and successful fundraiser for the League. In the spring of 1996, following the creation of a partnership with Longview’s Neiman Marcus Distribution Center, the Bargain Box was transformed from a thrift store into an upscale boutique offering exclusive Neiman Marcus merchandise at reduced prices. The success of the Bargain Box has led to widespread appeal to shoppers from across the country.
The League has provided volunteers and funding to special projects such as the KidsView Community Playground, Lear Park Softball Complex, Longview Library’s iMac Learning Lab, and most recently the Longview Splash Pad. Additionally, the Junior League has supported such initiatives as the Every 15 Minutes Campaign to educate young people on the dangers of drinking and driving, the Silent Witness Campaign to bring awareness to the issue of domestic violence, has promoted the state-mandated Children’s Health Insurance Program, and addressed the issue of hunger through our Kids in the Kitchen Program.