From the desk of the President of Junior League of Champaign-Urbana
2017 has been an incredible year of growth and change for our league. It has been a time to reflect on our history, appreciate where we come from and actively evolve into the inclusive, flexible and dynamic organization we truly want to be. All year long, we have been celebrating our 85th Anniversary, sharing the stories of our past accomplishments with our members and our community. Mayor Feinen of Champaign and Mayor Marlin of Urbana to share a proclamation at our 85th Anniversary Gala during Festival of Trees weekend.
We made some bold moves in 2017. We welcomed Vicki Clark in February, to help us understand what Servant Leadership is all about and why we strive to make Junior League a place for women to connect, learn, and make a difference. We stood up to the challenge when Courage Connection was faced with the risk of closing their doors and created the Match for Courage, raising over $150,000 in the final weeks of their fundraising campaign. We launched a new Project Model, allowing us to partner with local agencies to build stronger relationships, expose our members to different experiences and broaden our outreach. We aligned with Crisis Nursery, finding new ways to help them overcome obstacles by writing letters, participating in work days, and raising over $16,000 at our Gala Auction and Paddle Raise. We are standing strong knowing that we have made an impact on the lives of the women and children who use the services of these vital programs.
We worked together to host our signature event, Festival of Trees, with over 90 trees and wreaths on display. Thanks to the astounding success of FOT weekend, we raised the funds to support our Kids in the Kitchen and Bright Starts programs, as well as the grants and scholarships we distribute each year. We can say with certainty that we are making a measurable difference.
We end this calendar year knowing we have so much to be proud of as an organization and as individuals. But our work is not yet done. We still have ambitious goals ahead. We laid the groundwork to roll out a membership model transformation, which aims at increasing member satisfaction and retention. We are deep in a review of the financial health of the organization and will be making long-term strategic decisions about our fundraising efforts. We are excited about training opportunities and fun new events coming in the spring. We are continuing to develop our members and encouraging everyone to step up into positions of leadership. I can truly say that the more you put into your experience with Junior League, the more you get out of it.
For now, let’s all take a breath and be thankful. As we all go forward into the hustle and bustle of the holidays, remember to enjoy the little things. Each moment with family and friends is a gift to be cherished. I have cherished each of you this year for the part you play and I celebrate you!
Much Love and Happy Holidays,