What an adventure our 99th year was!
Our League continued to serve the Louisville community in the area of kindergarten readiness. One of our proudest accomplishments was the launch of Imagination Library of Louisville as its own sustainable non-profit. When we brought Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to Louisville in 2016 with our partners at WAVE 3 News and Jefferson County Public Education Foundation, we were optimistic this program would thrive in our city and it certainly has. The program has distributed over 40,000 free books to children in eight zip codes that are at risk for low kindergarten readiness. We are proud of our part in launching this program in Louisville and ensuring its sustainable success.
Looking toward the future, we engaged in community research to determine our next focus area for our issue-based community impact. Our membership selected Youth Homelessness, which allows us to deepen existing relationships with community partners as well as develop new ones. I look forward to the advocacy and service work JLL will engage in to meet the needs our community has in this critical area.
In January we officially opened our new office at Distillery Commons! This office features several workspaces, including a large training room, board room, two smaller meeting rooms, on-site storage, a kitchen, and a dedicated workspace for our administrative assistant, Kirstin Jackson. We are proud of our new office home and look forward to the great work we will do there. We are so grateful to Metro United Way, for generously donating office space for Kirstin’s use during office renovations.
Finally, we are ending this 99th year in the most unexpected way: navigating our way through a global pandemic. The COVID-19 outbreak brought a lot of disappointment. Our spring provisional members have been deferred to the fall provisional class, ODI scheduled in Louisville in June was canceled, and one of the greatest benefits of JLL membership, being a community of women, has been strained by social distancing. However, as always, the resilience of our League and our members continue to awe me. Zoom meetings kept us connected socially and kept our League operations moving forward. The Executive Management Team took Chair Recruitment to YouTube. The Risk Management Response Team was enacted and met immediate needs facing our members and community. We found new ways to advance our mission in these difficult, uncertain times.
I have never been more proud to be a member of the Junior League of Louisville. Whether you are currently a JLL member, thinking about joining the JLL, or are a friend of JLL, I sincerely thank you for your support. I hope you’ll join us in celebrating our Centennial year as we reflect on 100 years of service and begin our next 100 year investment in our community.