Historical Synopsis

1911 – 1931


Junior League of San Francisco was formed in the fall of 1911.


The outbreak of World War I added war relief to the activities of the League. The membership voted to undertake its first moneymaking venture, thus establishing fundraising as an accepted part of the League’s activities. In 1915, the League presented to the public the first of many League shows – a dramatic production called Under Cover. The performance raised $900, which was used to establish a workroom where unemployed women could earn a daily wage for making children’s clothes for charity.


The Association of Junior Leagues was incorporated, with San Francisco as one of its 30 charter members.


The League opened its Junior League House, a temporary residence for children awaiting placement in foster homes. This home, later known as Pinehaven, continued as a major League project for the next 12 years.


The Junior League of San Francisco was formally incorporated. During this busy period, the League opened a shop in Tillman Place, established a business office at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, held its first fashion show and published the first Bulletin, the predecessor of today’s Fogcutter.


The League opened Pinehaven, a new, larger facility to replace the Junior League House. This was the result of three years’ determined effort, during which the League planned the new building, purchased the land, and raised the necessary funds.


The League produced its first play for children, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The League continued with children’s theater for many years, producing two plays annually for the San Francisco Children’s Theater Association.

1932 – 1952


The 15th Annual Conference of AJLI was held in San Francisco. There, AJLI urged a concept of League project philosophy which continues today: that Leagues could be more useful by recognizing and meeting community needs in a variety of fields instead of giving permanent support to any one project; and that after a project has been successfully demonstrated, it should be turned over to an appropriate community agency, enabling the League to move on to other needs.


The League again added war work to its activities; members worked with the Red Cross Motor Corps, Gray Ladies Services, the American Women’s Volunteer Services, the Army Interceptor Command, the Blood Bank and canteens.


Units were formed in San Mateo and Palo Alto in 1943, and in Marin in 1946. This enabled members to attend meetings and do both community and in-League work in their immediate area. This system of Unit administration and the focus of League activities in four geographic areas continued until 1963.


The Volunteer Bureau of San Francisco—the City’s central agency for placement—was organized by the League, financed jointly with the Community Chest (predecessor to the United Way).


The League presented its first Symphony Previews. In 1950, Opera Previews were added to the series, and later Ballet and Theater Previews.


The Next-to-New Shop opened on Fillmore Street and made a profit of over $12,000 in its first year.

1953 – 1973


The Community Advisory Committee was established. This committee was composed of community leaders in various fields who were invited to serve the League as advisors.


With the sponsorship of the Chrysler Corporation, League members wrote and produced a musical comedy called The Forward Look, which netted over $21,000.


The JLSF celebrated its 50th Anniversary. The Mayor proclaimed Junior League Day, and the occasion was celebrated with a luncheon for community leaders and a ball in honor of the League’s past presidents.


The Unit system dissolved. Palo Alto pursued admission to AJLI as a separate League, and Marin and San Mateo were again joined with San Francisco.


The Next-to-New Shop moved to larger premises, which were purchased by the League to replace its original rented quarters. During its first year at the new location on Fillmore Street, the shop earned a profit of more than $50,000.


Here Today became a best seller and was in its fourth printing at the end of the year. The net profit of the book and the House Tours was $23,416.


After 43 years in the Mark Hopkins Hotel, the League moved its business office and headquarters to the Japanese Trade and Cultural Center.


The Fogcutter magazine was developed to keep members better informed about the League’s program.

1974 – 1994


Plans were underway to remodel the Next-to-New property for the League’s business offices and headquarters. A five-year Placement Plan, an Enabling Fund and an Information Retrieval System were initiated.


The Fashion Show changed sponsoring stores for the first time in over 25 years and made a profit of over $59,000. A new Cookbook Committee was launched.


The profits from the Fashion Show, celebrating its 50th Anniversary, and the Next-to-New Shop returned over $175,000 to the Community Trust Fund.


The Council system of governance was established to provide equal leadership opportunities for day and evening members. The reorganization also reduced the number of the Board of Directors to 11 from 35.


San Francisco A La Carte was published, with 30,000 pre-publication copies sold.


San Francisco A La Carte was on the local best-seller list for several weeks and received the Taste-Maker Award in the American/European Category in national competition.


Over $290,000 was given to 14 community projects and Enabling Funds. The League published a report on Delinquency Prevention and Learning Disabilities. The maximum age for Active members was extended from 40 to 42.


Celebrating our 70th anniversary, the Next-to-New Shop was extensively remodeled, refurbished, and a clothing conveyor was added. Our income totaled more than $539,000, of which $449,121 was returned to the community. The 60th AJLI Annual Conference was held in San Francisco, co-hosted by the Junior Leagues of Sacramento, Fresno, Oakland/East Bay, Palo Alto and San Jose.


Approximately $400,000 was raised by the Next-to-New Shop, San Francisco A La Carte and the Fashion Show, while 14 projects and 25 Enabling Funds grants were carried out in the community.


The Fundraising Committees — Next-to-New Shop, Fashion Show and Cookbook — raised over $412,000, of which $332,105 was committed to the community. Our project priority areas were health and welfare with an emphasis on families, youth and the elderly and a continuing commitment to cultural enrichment.


The League celebrates its 75th Anniversary. Over $627,000 was allocated to Enabling Funds, three on-going community services and 15 community projects.


Winding up the anniversary celebration, the JLSF presented its first follies in 18 years. San Francisco Encore was published and sold 49,155 copies in its first seven months of publication. Our fundraisers earned close to $600,000, benefiting 20 community projects. Taking it to the Streets, the JLSF implemented an internal education and 1988 external public relations campaign. Macy’s sponsored the Fashion Show for the first time in a decade. Priority funding areas were critical health issues, the homeless and cultural enrichment. The JLSF became involved with the AIDS issue and completed Year I of our first AIDS-related project. Here Today celebrated its 20th birthday by receiving an award from the National Historical Trust; our second cookbook, San Francisco Encore, was runner-up for the Seagram’s Award.


We identified new priority areas: Women (emphasizing homelessness and child-care), Youth (emphasizing adolescent pregnancy and education of disadvantaged youth), and Critical Health Issues (emphasizing substance abuse and AIDS.) The JLSF funded 16 new projects in San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, and Alameda, committing $646,000 over the life of the projects.


The Bay Area’s biggest news story was the Loma Prieta earthquake on October 17, 1989. The Next-to-New Shop provided much-needed clothing to the Marina Middle School for distribution to people left homeless by the earthquake. The League also helped establish a volunteer needs bank five days after the quake.


The JLSF implemented a new computerized membership database and accounting system. Priority areas were refocused. Overall income totaled more than $890,000. We funded 14 community projects, provided grants to 36 agencies, and co-sponsored a dinner with the S.F. AIDS Foundation at the International AIDS Conference.


This year the theme was Breaking Barriers, and we celebrated our 80th Anniversary. Membership approved a pay for shift plan in Next-to-New, shop hours were extended, and a Flexible Placement Plan was begun. At the AJLI Annual Conference, the JLSF received two awards: one for the Outstanding Annual Report, the other the highly prestigious BMW Community Impact Award for our project Hope House in Redwood City.


This year’s theme was Make It Happen. Revenues increased 40 percent. The Fashion Show’s continuing partnership with Macy’s netted $506,228. The Next-to-New Shop brought in $257,820. We published our children’s book, The City by the Bay, which was number one on children’s best-seller lists in the Bay Area. The League held its first open to the public Community Forum on Breast Cancer.


The New Foundations theme was supported by the four cornerstones of leadership: Revenue, Community Impact, League Culture, and Headquarters. Our Phantom of the Opera fundraiser was the first charitable event ever to sell out the Curran Theatre. The League hosted a Community Forum, where 125 community leaders projected future Bay Area needs, then voted to focus our community service on family support systems and domestic violence. We voted to eliminate all age requirements for membership and to seismically upgrade 2226 Fillmore Street. Over 900 members and guests attended a Special General Meeting with speaker Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund.


Under the theme of Building A Vision, the JLSF continued to focus on community impact, headquarters, culture and revenue. The League approved a position statement on diversity, and co-sponsored a community meeting on racism with Levi Strauss, the Volunteer Center, the Multicultural Initiative and the Anti- Defamation League. General Meeting speakers included Elizabeth Dole of the Red Cross, Mary Bitterman of KQED, and four accomplished teen women from Summer Search being mentored by League members. Over 700 attended Mad About Monet, an evening at the De Young Museum during the Monet Exhibit.

1995 – Current


Blueprint for Impact was created around the Strategic Plan’s goals of community impact, membership culture, fundraising and headquarters. Headquarters and Next-to-New returned to our seismically upgraded building at 2226 Fillmore after 18 months in temporary locations. The JLSF launched Volunteers in Action, a monthly cable television show that was entirely scripted, filmed, edited and presented by League volunteers. In the area of fundraising, Fashion Show netted over $450,000; the first annual Kitchen Tour generated over $10,000; and the League began planning a third JLSF cookbook and a Consignment Shop as part of the Next-to-New Shop. At the AJLI Conference in San Francisco, leagues voted to remain an organization of women only. A JLSF Time Capsule was buried under the front door of the NTN shop. The Time Capsule is to be opened in 2096.


Putting the Pieces Together was this year’s theme. To celebrate our 85th anniversary, the League held a Birthday Party at the Zoo, attended by more than 750 JLSF members, friends and guests, including over 500 children and parents from our community projects. The Consignment Boutique opened its doors for business, sharing space with the Next-to-New Shop. The JLSF launched its website and offered Internet training sessions to members. To raise awareness and advocate for legislative action against domestic violence, the JLSF actively supported the National Silent Witness Initiative by constructing Silent Witness silhouettes, exhibiting them in diverse Bay Area locations, and coordinating a press conference in Sacramento at the state capitol.


Making the Connection emphasized the power of women’s teamwork. 1998 League fundraisers generated over $1 million, including $585,000 from Fashion Show, which enabled the JLSF to pay off the mortgage for headquarters’ seismic upgrade. Community highlights included sponsoring the essay contest for the Brave Little Girls Exhibit, the San Francisco Main Library’s first outreach project, and participating in a national march against Domestic Violence in Washington, DC, with Silent Witness figures and League advocates. Belva Davis of KRON-TV produced a JLSF prime time spot, featuring our Cobb School project and Next-to-New Shop/Consignment Boutique. One General Meeting featured female community leaders discussing The Glass Ceiling: Breaking Through to Success; another included Mayor Willie Brown. Five Bay Area leagues established a two-year partnership with Mercedes-Benz for the Fashion Show car drawing. The League met with a delegation of women judges from Beijing and discussed worldwide women’s rights issues.


Under the theme of I’d Rather be Volunteering, the JLSF maintained ten community projects focused on Family Preservation, specifically, supporting families and preventing domestic violence. The League granted $50,000 to the Yerba Buena Center for a family resource center in its daycare facility and collaborated with KRON-TV to grant 12 students scholarships in the Beating the Odds Program. In recognition of its contributions, the JLSF received a Point of Light from the Points of Light Foundation, the Bill Graham Community Service Award from the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, and the 1998 National Philanthropy Award for Foundation Grants. The Endowment Fund was re-launched under the name of Living Legacy to grow the fund, and the Next-To-New Shop celebrated its 50th year. The Wall of Honor was installed to recognize donations of $25,000 or more. The Board of Directors gifted the Headquarters lobby with a mural interpreting the JLSF scarf.


The Shaker hymn Simple Gifts inspired the theme for this year. Volunteerism doesn’t have to be complicated when we keep our minds on simple gifts. Our focus remains family preservation, with the focus on supporting families and preventing violence. We hosted our first Rock Concert and released our companion CD, for which we later won an AJLI Fundraising Award. Fundraising went international with the sale of JLSF scarves to the AJLI leadership. Our newest cookbook, San Francisco Flavors, was launched and exceeded sales goals by 87 percent and net revenue budget by 75 percent. Our website launched e-commerce and members only sections. Our Non-Profit Management Course graduated ten members, while our Advocacy Committee offered voter registration at General Meetings.


Inspire, Innovate and Invigorate was JLSF President Anette Harris’ vision and guide for the year 2000-2001. With the focus on family preservation and domestic violence prevention, League members’ children made 100 teddy bears at the Build A Bear Workshop to give to the children of the programs that the League sponsors, including Bay Area Women’s and Children’s Center (Tenderloin Family Center), Booker T. Washington Family Resource Center, Family Service Agency of San Mateo, SOMA Childcare Center, and Sunny Hills Children’s Garden. The JLSF celebrated 90 years of service to the community, with a celebration at Nordstrom, retrospective exhibit at City Hall, and a collaborative centennial celebration with four sister Bay Area leagues. The Next-to-New shop partnered with Women in Community Service to help dress women-in-need for success. California Federal Bank provided the donated clothing. More than $100,000 annual campaign dollars were raised through corporate donations and matching grants. REFLECTION—a Legacy of Fashion and Philanthropy Fashion Show boasted the first live auction—which raised $20,000. The League helped pass the Breast Cancer Bill AB40-2278. General Meeting speakers included Former Secretary of Labor Lynn Martin, CNN News Anchor Valerie Coleman Morris, and California State Senator Jackie Speier.


Celebrating 91 years of impact in the community, 2,400 JLSF volunteers gave generously of their time, talent, energy, and money under the theme A Gift of the Heart. The volunteers donated over 115,000 volunteer hours at a value of $1.7 million, to our community programs. The JLSF fundraising efforts included: Seventh Annual Home Tour, Atop Nob Hill: Rooms With A View; The 76th Annual Fashion Show, Journey, celebrated its 15-year partnership with Macy’s West; Christopher Radko Ornaments, San Francisco Flavors Cookbook; KidsSongs and R.E.A.P. Concert CDs; JLSF Apron; Endowment Fund and NTN Shop and Consignment Boutique.

The five year Strategic Plan 2002-2007 and Community Programs Assessment were developed and approved by the membership. The new Focus Area for 2002-2007 will be Education (K-12).

Honorary membership was given to Delia Ehrlich for her service to the community and the JLSF. Two memorial funds and annual awards were created in honor of Melissa Harrington Hughes and Hayley Ann Wolin Swift.

The Web committee created a valuable Members Only resource on the website.

Community Programs included: Bay Area Women’s Children Center; Booker T. Washington Community Service Center; East Bay Agency for Children/Hawthorne Family Center; Family Connections Family Resource Center; Family Service Agency of San Mateo; San Rafael Canal Ministry; South of Market Child Care Inc.; and Telephone Aide in Living With Kids (T.A.L.K. Line).


Renew Your Commitment … Recapture Your Passion was the theme of this 13-month League year, and its realization took shape in many exciting ways. On the community side, we began transitioning to our new focus area of Education K–12. During our holiday toy drive, we collected more than 1,850 educational toys that were distributed to children at all programs. We hosted our inaugural Community Leaders Breakfast, where League members and representatives from our community programs had an opportunity to meet and discuss issues of interest with our local and state legislators.

Financially, significant emphasis was placed on cost reduction efforts in order to maximize the efficiency of funds donated to the League. Overall, expenses were down more than $200,000, or roughly 11 percent, over prior year levels. Fundraisers had good performance despite the tough economy. The Home Tour was moved to Saturday and beat the $100,000 mark for the first time. The Fashion Show honored Jimmy Grimme, who retired after 33 years of training Junior League models for our shows. The Next-to-New/Consignment Boutique had a facelift and increased efficiencies and profitability followed. The Corporate Solicitations Committee beat its goal, due in part to an innovative partnership with The Container Store.

The League continued to move toward more extensive use of our website, which now includes the current issue of the Fogcutter; and the member site, which now includes an online, updateable membership roster. A five-year marketing plan was rolled out and included both an overview video which debuted at the Fashion Show and a collaboration with other Bay Area Leagues to promote the new AJLI branding campaign: The Junior League: Women Building Better Communities.


With the theme Imagine Your Impact created by president Judy Jorgensen, the 2004-2005 year saw the return of the Fashion Show with the theme Salon ‘05 and longtime partners Macy’s and the Fairmont Hotel. The luncheon and dinner show, both held for the first time on a Saturday, returned a net profit of $190,000. The Home Tour celebrated its 10th anniversary with a Tour d’Elegance theme, held in the Presidio Heights and Presidio Terrace neighborhoods and featured luxury automobiles from British Motors and national sponsorships with EXPO Design and ING Direct, two-tiered ticket pricing and a popular new VIP club feature. The Tour realized a record net profit of more than $180,000. JLSF Sustainers launched Women at the Center Honors (WATCH), a new event honoring outstanding Bay Area women at the center of giving. The inaugural WATCH honorees were past JLSF President Katie Cardinal and philanthropist, Dede Wilsey. A Women of Impact speaker series highlighted general meetings with prominent San Francisco officials such as Superintendent of Schools Arlene Ackerman, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, District Attorney Kamala Harris and International Museum of Women founder Elizabeth Colton, and JLSF community partners were featured speakers at most meetings. The Next-to-New Shop got a facelift with new awnings and window lettering, as well as a renewed emphasis on cost control and operating efficiency. The JLSF also hosted the 2005 conference of Presidents of Large Leagues (POLL), and at the 83rd Annual Conference of the Association of Junior Leagues International in New Orleans, won the JL Award for Membership Development for our Placement website. During this year, nearly $270,000 was awarded in grants to JLSF community programs and enabling funds recipients.

  • 90% attendance and participation at monthly Board of Directors Meetings
  • Centennial Dinner Celebration Committee formed, budget approved & City Hall booked for November 1 dinner
  • Engaging General Meetings with speakers such as Jennifer Newsom, Laurie Firestone, Joanna Reese and John E. McCue from Janet Pomeroy Center as well as profitable Gift Basket Raffles raising nearly $3,000 for our Community Programs
  • Reintroduced JLSF to Northern California Grantmakers and league members attended many workshops and seminars
  • Through Done in a Day, JLSF members participated at 78 events and contributed over 6,000 hours of service
  • Empowering SPAC initiatives such as Sex Trafficking resolution, Silent Witness Campaign and Speak Up When You’re Down Campaign
  • By year end, the Community Programs Council will have delivered over 3,000 hours of services to hundreds of members of the San Francisco Bay Area community
  • SFCAPC will have hosted over 10 Tuesday Night Dinners and educational 101 trainings
  • SFCD committee will have hosted five movie nights
  • IRC committee completed Home Goods Drive for families new to the Bay Area and mentored three families on an ongoing basis
  • Cohesive Executive Committee:
    • assessed and made improvements to staff benefits
    • reviewed and reduced all operational expenses
    • Completed a 20-year Building Reserve Study and received board approval for an annual contribution to a Building Reserve Fund
  • Finance Committee worked diligently to put best financial practices into place and strategically grow the Endowment
  • President made weekly messages to the members in the eBlast
  • Community Arts Outreach developed a new curriculum around healthy lifestyles. It’ up and running and generating tremendous success so far
  • Board approved an increase in the maximum dollar amount per Enabling Fund grant to $7,500. Enabling Funds provided many emergency and bridge grants to worthy Bay Area organizations
  • Strong Membership Development leadership has increased overall membership satisfaction and involvement with exciting events, strong recruitment and member caretaking
  • Empowering SPAC initiatives such as Sex Trafficking resolution, Silent Witness Campaign and Speak Up When You’re Down Campaign
  • Strategic Development conducted thorough research and created a solid five-year Strategic Plan
  • Should it be: VTD surpassed the number of trainings last year, totaling 21! Twelve ‘regular’ trainings including Miss Representation
  • Increased Sustainer participation in league-wide events as well as successful and well attended Sustainer events
  • SF Entertains Cookbook won the Eric Hoffer Book Award and a grand prize of $1,500 for the award!
Fall Initiatives
  • First Emerging Issues Summit in 10 years was a success that inspired not only the JLSF but also other organizations that attended, and helped create connections in our community that will affect positive change
  • VTD hosted viewing of Miss Representation
  • First annual giving campaign netting a profit of over $5,000
  • Successful Home Tour
  • Honored Melissa Harrington Hughes on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, approximately $15,000 was distributing to Bay Area nonprofits to close out this fund
  • Silent Witness Domestic Violence Awareness event with Fiona Ma’s office. We were able to work with a group of domestic violence prevention non-profits to increase event attendance at our Silent Witness event in October
Winter Initiatives
  • Launched a new modern and beautiful website
  • Centennial Scarf designed and manufactured leaving a legacy of a beautiful centennial memorial
  • CPD developed an amazing community program slate for 2012-2013 bringing new models for volunteering that increases our impact as well as provides a better volunteer experience for our members
  • Hosted a Diversified Fundraising Training with Carol Scott and JL Oakland East Bay
Spring Initiatives
  • Redesign 100! – 70% complete, 30% including new lounge furniture to be completed in 2012-2013
  • Hosted the Annual AJLI Conference
  • Successful Fashion Show
  • JPC committee created a new Spring Event called Take Me Out to the Ballgame
  • SPAC Hosting a Perinatal Depression Awareness event at the end of April as a DIAD