December GM Recap

On December 15, Junior League of Seattle hosted its December General Meeting at Nordstrom in downtown Seattle. Members sipped champagne and posed for photos with Santa to celebrate the holidays together and take care of some year-end League business.

The meeting featured the announcement of JLS’s future leadership: the President-Elect Nominee and the Executive Vice President Nominee for the 2020-2021 League year.

Jordan Louie will be the President-Elect (PE) in 2020-2021 and the 2021-2022 JLS President. Jordan has been an active member for eight years, serving in a variety of positions including as a member of the Advocacy, Training and Project Development committees. She has also served as the Annual Publications Vice Chair, Annual Campaign Chair, and Treasurer.

Mary Lessig was selected as the Executive Vice President Nominee (EVPN). She stepped in to fill the EVP position vacated earlier this year and will continue in the role for the 2020-2021 League year. Mary has been an active member for six years. She has served in a variety of positions including Cookbook and Merchandise Vice Chair, Assistant to the President, Long Term Financial Planning Manager, and Financial Development Manager.

Both Jordan and Mary will be officially voted into their roles at our April General Membership Meeting. Congratulations to both of these amazing women!

Celebrate with us at Eve of the Eve!

On December 30, 2019, the Junior League of Seattle is hosting Eve of the Eve, our annual fundraiser, at Fremont Foundry Events. This is a chance for our members and the broader community to celebrate the League and raise funds to support our training programs and volunteer projects.

This cocktail party will feature live entertainment, silent and live auctions, a wine and spirit tasting and more. The event is open to the public—it’s a wonderful way to meet our members and learn more about our work. Purchase tickets here.

Training Recap: Ballots and Bubbles

JLS encourages its members in civic engagement of all kinds—including voting. This past November, JLS hosted its second annual Ballots and Bubbles event, a training to learn more about the November 5 election.

As a non-partisan organization, rather than encouraging members to vote a certain way, JLS promotes voting as a key element of civic engagement. In that spirit, non-partisan King County Elections Director Julie Wise spoke about the process for registering to vote, options for how to vote, and initiatives that have expanded voting access across King County and in the state of Washington.

Members also received the Junior League of Seattle Voter’s Guide, which queried King County candidates on issues related to JLS focus areas, including access to preschool and foster care, diversity in Seattle’s teaching force, and pay equity.

Investing in Our Members to Meet Our Community’s Needs

A core tenet of the Junior League of Seattle’s mission focuses on developing the potential of women and, in turn, improving the community through leadership of trained volunteers. In support of this mission, JLS sends members each year to AJLI’s Organizational Development Institutes (ODIs). ODIs are AJLI leadership development meetings that provide Junior League members with mission-based training in key areas critical to the healthy functioning of a League. At ODIs and Northwest Exchange, a local AJLI meeting for Northwest Leagues, delegates build organizational capacity by learning about:

-Innovative approaches to developing Junior League members as effective volunteer leaders in their communities
-Powerful ways to design community programs and partnerships that have significant impact
-Strategies for sustainable and diversified fund development
-Keys to building strong internal operational controls
-New approaches that enable a League to be governed strategically and effectively
-Ways to build relationships, engagement and understanding through marketing and communications

Attending ODIs helps members build their own skills and strengthen the league’s collective leadership skillset.

The 2019-2020 ODIs are:

Winter ODI (February 21-23, 2020; Orlando, FL)
Application is due November 1, 2019 (note: reimbursement for FL ODI will be limited to $1,500 per attendee. Any costs/expenses above this amount will need to be paid out of pocket.)

Northwest Exchange (March 27-29, 2020; Seattle, WA)
Application is Due January 1, 2020
Are you interested in reaching the influential women at Northwest Exchange? Sponsorships are available! Reach out to for more information.

Spring ODI (June 12-14, 2020; Louisville, KY)
Application is Due March 1, 2020

All JLS members are encouraged to apply to attend. For more information about the ODIs and how to apply, members can check out the JLS ODI page.

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.