Month: April 2019

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