Service Shift Recap: Lowell Elementary

The JLS Done-in-a-Day committee started the League year with a service shift with one of our many community partners, Lowell Elementary. Our members helped some Lowell teachers start the school year on the right foot by refreshing the look of four classrooms.

In preparation for the service shift, members worked with four teachers to create a vision for their classrooms, and then procured the materials need to give them a makeover. Then, on August 25, sixteen JLS members spent the morning at Lowell and split up to tackle the four rooms for a major transformation. One classroom to a trip to the UK, sending students on an adventure to Hogwarts through Platform 9 3/4.

In another classroom, a board encouraged “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

The teachers were all excited to welcome their students to their newly upgraded classrooms for the 2019-2020 school year.


New Year, New Look!

Junior League of Seattle is kicking off a new League year, and we have a new look!

JLS has a legacy of service to our community while embracing innovation and entrepreneurship. Our new branding gives a nod to our history with a modern flair.

The branding refresh aligns our JLS identity with AJLI for a unified style and enables us to leverage AJLI resources for our communications with our members, partners, and the broader Seattle community. You’ll be seeing new colors, fonts, and logos throughout JLS Marketing and Communications materials going forward, including here on the refreshed JLS Blog.

Members can use the internal Communications Resources page to learn more about how to integrate the new branding in to your communications, or reach out to the JLS Marketing and Communications team. Anyone with questions about our new look should contact

Junior League of Seattle Partners with Rebuilding Together Seattle

Every year, the Junior League of Seattle’s first-year members (Provisionals) embark on a project designed to provide an introduction to the organization and provide valuable training for their future as Junior League leaders. This year, we’re excited to partner with Rebuilding Together Seattle (RTS), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that ensures housing stability for low-income homeowners by providing home safety and accessibility improvements free of charge.

Together with local businesses, community organizations like JLS, and individual volunteers, RTS helps families stay in their homes, allows seniors to age in place, and preserves the character and culture of the local community.

RTS was founded in 1973 and came to Seattle with the support of the JLS in 1989. This long-standing relationship has allowed the League to stay true to its mission of promoting voluntarism in the community while supporting RTS in restoring 1,700 homes and nonprofit facilities in the greater Seattle area, impacting many lives in the community.

The months-long project culminated on April 27th as our Provisional volunteers worked to repair a local home. As with most volunteer projects, it was a concerted effort across the entire Provisional class as well as mentors and active members that have provided guidance and support along the way.

The History of the Junior League of Seattle

Whether you’re a Provisional or have been a long-time member of the Junior League of Seattle (JLS), a little refresher course in the history of JLS is always a good idea. As a wrap-up to Women’s History Month, let us celebrate the progressive, motivated and dedicated collection of trained female volunteers that founded, and today comprise, the JLS.

How it all began: In 1901, Mary Harriman, a socially conscious 19-year old New York City debutante, founded the first Junior League. Impassioned about the plight of immigrants in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Mary formed the Junior League of the City of New York with 80 other young women – hence the name, “Junior” League.  Harriman’s vision for improving communities by using the energy and commitment of trained volunteers inspired others around the country to start their own Leagues. In 1921, the Association of Junior Leagues was formed to provide professional support to the Leagues. The Junior League of Seattle (JLS) was established in 1923 and has been a member of the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) since 1924.

Junior League Founder,
Mary Harriman

Now more about JLS: Throughout its nearly 100-year history, JLS has successfully met the emerging needs of the community by initiating cutting edge programs and providing trained volunteers to manage and direct service projects, community education, fundraising and advocacy efforts. As a result of League training, JLS has also provided a legacy of leaders who bring knowledge and experience to the community in which they serve. Two of JLS’s most notable members (and past presidents) include Mary Maxwell Gates and Colleen Willoughby.

Mary Maxwell Gates
Colleen Willoughby

JLS has a strong history of launching projects that help the greater Seattle community. The following organizations are just a sampling of those that the Junior League of Seattle has supported over the years:

Northwest Art Project was created by JLS in the early 1960s to bring arts education to schoolchildren. This collection of original works by Northwest artists continues to reach more than 20,000 students annually.

Northwest Art

In the 1980s and 1990s JLS helped create the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program, which works to ensure that needy children have a caring adult to advocate and intervene on their behalf with the court system. This program has since been expanded nationwide.

The JLS implemented the Christmas in April program, which provides home repair for the elderly and disadvantaged. After three years of JLS support, this project established its own community board and is now known as Rebuilding Together. Today as an organization of nearly 1,300 members, Junior League of Seattle is one of the largest Leagues on the West Coast.  Annually our members donate over 45,000 volunteer hours and participate in over 5,000 hours of personal and professional development. As we honor our League’s history, let’s think forward to the history each of us is empowered to make. Whatever your passion, don’t let self-doubt or the demands of your life discourage you from thinking big, making an impact, and doing the most good  in the Junior League of Seattle and beyond.

**Press Release***

Junior League of Seattle Honors

Maureen Benoliel with Dorothy Stimson Bullitt

Community Service Award

SEATTLE – (March 19, 2019) – The Junior League of Seattle (JLS) is pleased to announce that Maureen Benoliel has been selected as the 2019 recipient of its prestigious Dorothy Stimson Bullitt Community Service Award. This award recognizes a JLS member who has enriched the lives of the community through extraordinary volunteer public service. Past recipients include community leaders such as Mary Maxwell Gates, Dee Dickinson, Cathi Hatch, Ginger Ackerley, Micki Flowers, and Patty Barrier.

The Junior League of Seattle will present Maureen Benoliel with the Dorothy Stimson Bullitt Award at its Catalyst Luncheon on Thursday, May 9, 2019, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Washington Athletic Club. Media who are interested in attending should contact

Dorothy Stimson Bullitt Community Service Award was created by the JLS in 1989 to recognize outstanding achievement in community service. Bullitt was a charter member of the JLS, civic leader, women’s advocate and the founder of the King Broadcasting Company. The JLS award is the only award she allowed to carry her name.

Maureen Benoliel has channeled her time and resources generously towards her love of education: fostering students needing mentoring and financial assistance; investing in schools and universities; and instilling the value of voluntarism in others.

With a passion for education at all levels, Benoliel has demonstrated outstanding leadership over the past four decades. From teaching in the classrooms of the Lake Washington School District, to serving on the PTA of Lakeridge Elementary, and on the boards of the Jewish Day School, Jewish Family Services, and The Overlake School; educational volunteerism was always a paramount priority.

Benoliel served for 12 years as a Regent at Seattle University, two years as a chair of the Board of Regents and now serves on the Board of Trustees and College of Education. She provided leadership in the Search for Meaning Book Festival at Seattle University. Additionally, Benoliel served as an advisor to the Puget Sound Educational Service District participating in a review of curricula for different school districts throughout the region and served on the Executive Leadership Committee for the University of Washington Law School Capital Campaign.

The College Success Foundation administers a scholarship bearing her name, encouraging private philanthropy for education. Benoliel’s passion for education continues with her current involvement in the Fostering Scholars Program at Seattle University.

“Maureen continuously demonstrates her ability to be a role model, mentor, catalyst and risk-taker over and over again by supporting the efforts of diverse organizations in need of leadership by assisting them in achieving their goals,” states Elizabeth Rampson, president of the Junior League of Seattle. “She is a source of inspiration for our members and the greater community and we are honored to present her with this award.”

Benoliel has been active in other community causes including the MS Society, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Foundation, Art Council Board, Jewish Federation, Cystic Fibrosis, March of Dimes, Cancer Guild and served as a chair of the annual Gala for the Seattle Guild of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and for the Seattle University Scholarship Gala and the Annual Soirée for Amara Parenting.

About Junior League of Seattle

The Junior League of Seattle (JLS), a nonprofit corporation, is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Since 1923, JLS works to meet the emerging needs of the Seattle community by initiating critically important programs and providing trained volunteers to manage them.

Photos of Benoliel are available upon request.

Media Contact
Lori Meyers
Blue Sky Communications NW


Report from the AJLI Winter Leadership Conference

Dear Junior League of Seattle membership,

We were honored to represent the Junior League of Seattle (JLS) at the annual AJLI Winter Leadership Conference, held this year in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Pictured (Left to Right): Anisa Ishida, President-Elect; Martha Abatecola, Executive Vice President; Kimberly French, President-Elect Nominee; and Ashley Woller, Executive Vice President-Elect.

One of many conferences and training opportunities presented by AJLI throughout the year, the Winter Leadership Conference takes place every January. It is held in a different city each year and is hosted by the local Junior League. The focus is on training and preparing future Presidents and Executive Vice Presidents for their upcoming roles. President-Elect, President-Elect Nominees, Executive Vice President Nominees are invited to come together to network, brainstorm, share ideas, and work together in preparation for their roles as League leaders.

This year’s conference was jam-packed with two-and-a-half days of training and leadership development sessions where we explored best practices in leadership, governance, management, membership, and diversity and inclusion. You can expect to see many of the tools we were given in action at both the Board of Directors and Management Council levels.

In the evenings and during breaks we deepened our long-time close friendships with Leagues in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Boston, Minneapolis, Richmond, and more, engaging in deeper conversations about specific strategic or operational needs, challenges, and opportunities. We shared tools, insights, and ideas to help us plan for the 2019-20 League year and beyond.

President-Elect Anisa Ishida (fifth from right) with representatives of our friend Junior Leagues from across the nation!

 Our fund development efforts enable JLS to send delegates to conferences such as this, enhancing our mission of training civic and community leaders.

On behalf of all of us who attended we thank you, our fellow members of JLS, for this exciting and energizing opportunity.

Anisa Ishida, 2018-19 President-Elect

Of course, we enjoyed beignets at the world-famous Café Du Monde.

Service Shift Spotlight: Food Lifeline

On Tuesday, October 30th, eight JLS members went to Food Lifeline for a service shift to sort and separate produce for local food banks. Members went through fifteen 600-lb crates of squash and grapefruit to compost bad pieces and separate into smaller, 30-lb boxes for shipment out to various food banks in the community. Our members helped package 12,090-lbs of food totaling 10,075 meals!

Who is Food Lifeline? Food Lifeline is a non-profit organization found in 1979 that supplies food to food banks across Western Washington. Their mission is to end hunger in Western Washington by mobilizing resources and engaging local communities. They are responsible for packing and delivering food from various farmers across the state to 275 different food banks. They provide 97,000 meals daily, have 13,000 volunteers each year, and sourced 42,000,000 pounds of food in 2017. For more information visit their website at


Just in Time for Fall: Harvest Bisque Recipe

Not sure what to bring to your next potluck? Look no further! Today’s featured recipe from the JLS “Simply Classic” cookbook is just what you need to get ready for fall. 

Harvest Bisque (serves six)


  • 1 pound butternut squash
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ¾ cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper


  • 1 lime, sliced paper-thin


  • Peel, seed, and cut squash into 1-inch cubes. Place in a heavy, 4-quart pot with chicken stock. Cook over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer squash to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Stir stock into squash purée. Set aside
  • In same pot, melt butter; stir in flour and curry. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until smooth. Add pureed squash mixture to pot. Increase heat to medium-high and stir until soup thickens slightly. Reduce heat and add half and half. Do not allow soup to boil after this point. Add lime juice, salt and white pepper. Ladle soup into serving bowls, garnish with lime and serve immediately.

Enjoy this delicious and tasty fall treat!

October Happenings

Happy Fall, JLS Members! We have a several exciting, seasonal events and meetings happening this October!

The week of the October 15th we have our community partner meetings. This is a great opportunity to hear from experts and learn about the inspiring ways our partners positively impact our community, and how we can help.

Want to vote during the upcoming election but still a little confused about how it all works? Luckily, the Advocacy committee has put together a training on October 18th featuring our very own Secretary of State Kim Wyman. She will go over the Washington state election process as well as give us a recap of the 2018 elections thus far. There are still some spots left so be sure to sign up!

Secretary of State Kim Wyman

For those of you interested in leadership, there are leadership information sessions (LIS) on the calendar for October 23 and 25. Spots are filling quickly so make sure to register.

Done in A Day (DIAD) has planned some great service shifts for us throughout the month, including Westside Baby and Youthcare. Check out the calendar for more shifts and to sign up!


“A Night in Monte Carlo”

Welcome back JLS members!!

Want to get ahead knock out some fundraising requirements early? Here’s your chance! Join the Junior League of Seattle for “A Night in Monte Carlo” on Saturday, November 17 from 6-10pm at Westland Distillery in SODO. This casino fundraiser provides an opportunity to support JLS’s many important community programs and initiatives, celebrate the legacy of our organization, and our impact on the community. The cocktail style event will include an opportunity to test your blackjack prowess, as well as a raffle for Alaska Airlines round-trip tickets, a Kendra Scott Jewelry Pull, a boutique silent auction and much more!

A Night In

The Annual Fundraisers Committee is asking for help from our members to procure items for the Fall Annual Fundraiser. Not sure what to donate? This year there are 4 ways!

  1. $50 gift cards to any place you can think of. Many companies will match any gift card purchased for a non-profit. You just have to ask.
  2. Pre-assembled gift baskets, valued at $50 or more. Fill a basket with your favorite coffees, items for the perfect picnic or day at the beach, or even just your favorite wines!
  3. $250+ gift baskets. Get together with your committee, provisional group, or League friends to create a unique basket. A few ideas are: Date Night basket; Spa Day basket; Workout passes to boutique fitness studios in Seattle & Eastside (SoulCycle, Pure Barre, Barre3, etc); Staycation baskets with a Glassybaby, Fran’s Chocolate, wine, tickets to a play, and hotel stay; Weekend getaway baskets with gift certificates for activities and an overnight stay at hotel; Exclusive experiences, such as a tour of Canlis kitchen with drinks at the bar, behind the scenes of Flameworking Studio at Chihuly Garden & Glass, cooking class and behind the scenes Pike Place Market tour.
  1. Unique travel, sports, and dining experiences.

All items are due to the JLS Office before Thursday, October 11. There will have a table set up at the September GM collecting your donations, or you can drop them off at the League office. Please be sure to fill out the In-Kind Donation form and see the Procurement letter to assist you in all of your asks! Questions?  Please contact Maria Ball (Annual Fundraisers Vice Chair) or Chrystie Schmelter (Annual Fundraisers Chair)

Ready to purchase your tickets? You can do so HERE!

This year is off to a great start already with some incredible Professional Development Workshops on the following 6 Saturdays this fall: 9/22, 10/6, 10/20, 11/3, 11/17, 12/1. Training credits offered!   

Let’s start this year “All In!”