JLM History & Milestones

Junior League of Mobile (JLM) was founded in 1925, as the Mobile Charity League. Miss Mary Tilney, a well-known civic and cultural leader, started the Charity League.

In 1931, the Mobile Charity League was incorporated into the Association of Junior Leagues International and officially became the Junior League of Mobile (JLM).

Junior League of Mobile’s members commit their time to advance women’s leadership for meaningful community impact through volunteer action, collaboration, and training.


Check out the below timeline of over 90 dedicated years of voluntarism by the Junior League of Mobile:

  • JLM kicked off the new Adopt-A-School program, selecting George Hall Elementary as the first program partner. Despite the school year ending in a pandemic, JLM was able to issue Kindle Fire tablets to each family at George Hall Elementary to assist in at-home learning.
  • JLM was the only Junior League to hold an in-person holiday market, the 36th annual Christmas Jubilee.
  • JLM raised over $130,000, distributed 10,000+ diapers to partner agencies, and provided school supplies, snacks, and uniforms through the Adopt-A-School program.

  • JLM hosted the first Real Talk for Women event at JLM Headquarters. The event featured a panel of female physicians across different specialities answering important questions from attendees. Those in attendance also had a chance to get free health screenings and talk to local health vendors.
  • JLM hosted former First Lady Laura Bush at the spring Community Luncheon. Mrs. Bush is also a literary activist and member of the Junior League of Dallas. The event was held at the Mobile Convention Center and was sold out.

  • JLM started the Diaper Bank, supporting area families in need with diaper donations. Diapers are collected at JLM Headquarters and distributed to those in need through partner agencies.

  • JLM hosted news personality, author, and journalist Jenna Bush Hager at the first Community Luncheon.



  • JLM celebrated our 85th anniversary by giving away more than 400 bikes to local children at the Family Festival and Bicycle Rodeo.

  • Christmas Jubilee moved back to the Mobile Convention Center.

  • JLM kicked off the first year of our impact area on Healthy Children: Hunger, Nutrition and Fitness. JLM partnered with 12 agencies to support 24 programs to create effective change in our community.
  • JLM partnered with Voices for Alabama’s Children, a non-profit with the mission of ensuring the well-being of Alabama’s children, to advocate for its Healthy Food Financing Initiative

  • Provisional members completed a community project at Family Promise of Coastal Alabama.
  • Membership selected Healthy Children: Hunger, Nutrition and Fitness as our Impact Area for the years 2014-2019.
  • Established a 100th Anniversary Chair to begin project selection.
  • Project Rummage changed to Jubilee Bargains.

  • Seconds on Sage closed as a resale shop to better fit the changing needs of our members and our community.
  • Provisional class implemented three community projects at Child Day Care Association, Penelope House and St. Mary’s Home.
  • JLM Headquarters was hit by a tornado, causing major structural damages.

  • JLM celebrated its 80th anniversary
  • Established JLM’s Sands to Strands Endowment Fund.
  • Provisional Class completed two projects – a playground at Springhill Presbyterian for Goodwill Easter Seals and a renovation to the Girl Scouts Home in the Roger Williams Housing Development.
  • Project Rummage, a rummage sale, fundraiser began.

  • Seconds on Sage celebrated its 75th Anniversary!
  • JLM recognized the need for a greater presence in Baldwin County and allocated space for a new Baldwin County office site.
  • Provisional Class designed and implemented a Sensory Room for United Cerebral Palsy Mobile.

  • JLM volunteers funded and built a new kitchen and den area at St. Mary’s Home to benefit individuals staying there. The Home Builders Association of Metro Mobile collaborated on the project by donating professional expertise.
  • JLM was pleased to provide $25,000 in funding through its Community Assistance Fund
  • JLM established Core Values in 2009: Leadership, Collaboration, Compassionate Service and Sustainability.
  • JLM established core values and established a new focus for 2009-2014 on children and education.
  • BluePass, a charity shopping event, fundraiser began.
  • JLM was awarded the Leadership Development Award from the Association of Junior Leagues International at the Association’s 87th Annual Conference. This award was given for the unique manner in which JLM trains its newest members and comes with a $10,000 prize to enable JLM to continue the important member-training component of the mission.
  • During 2008–2009, JLM received the following recognition and awards:
    • Received a $2,700 grant from the Community Foundation of South Alabama’s Youth Allocation Board, which will enable JLM to continue its important community efforts in the area of transitional living for residents of Wilmer Hall and St. Mary’s Home.
    • Public Relations Council of Alabama Medallion Award for quantitative research (“Community Perception of JLM”).
    • Public Relations Council of Alabama Medallion Award for External Magazine (FOLIO, Summer 2007).
    • Public Relations Council of Alabama Award of Excellence in Writing for JLM’s Integrated Marketing Plan.
    • Public Relations Council of Alabama Merit Award for website.
    • Dearborn YMCA’s 2009 Strong Kids Award for JLM’s service to the Dearborn YMCA family.
    • Mobile Historic Development Commission commendation for one of JLM’s Signature Projects, the Historic Downtown Walking Tour.
    • Recognized as a 2008 Community Partner by Goodwill Easter Seals.
    • Seconds on Sage, JLM’s resale shop, again finished Second Place in the category of Favorite Resale Shop at the 2008 Mobile Press-Register Reader’s Choice Award Celebration.

  • Hands Across Mobile, a working partnership with Dearborn YMCA, the JLM Health Fair was established. Lifelong health services and related information were offered to participants from all over the Mobile Area.
  • Provisional class made permanent facility improvements to Penelope House.
  • Appreciating the Arts sponsored the first annual Our Town” Photography Contest open regionally to middle school students.
  • JLM has been the proud recipient of many exciting awards and recognition in 2007-2008:
    • The Public Relations Council of Alabama (PRCA) Award of Excellence in the External Magazine category for Folio
    • A PRCA Award of Excellence in the Presentation category for its Annual Report to Membership PowerPoint
    • The first annual Salvation Army Edward J. Parker Award for JLM’s Hurricane Katrina relief efforts
    • Seconds on Sage finished second place in the category of Favorite Resale Shops in the 2007 Press-Register Reader’s Choice Awards
    • JLM was recognized for its diversity and outreach efforts by a proclamation from the Mayor of Mobile, Sam Jones, and the City Council Members
    • The YWCA Alberta C. Davis Power of One Award for the outstanding work JLM does for the citizens of Greater Mobile

  • Our first JLM America’s Junior Miss (AJM) “Day of Caring” was held. A community service day designed to promote voluntarism among the 50 AJM State Representatives.
  • First annual, JLM Holiday Toy Giveaway was established. New and gently used toys were given to selected JLM agencies.
  • “One of a Kind” JLM’s award winning cookbook was retired.
  • In addition to regular JLM programs, the following special projects were completed in the community: A New Butterfly Garden and extensive renovations and improvements to the Environmental Studies Center, a sleeping pavilion at the Boys and Girls Clubs’ Camp Tonsmeire, and a greenhouse at Hankins Middle School for use with their new horticulture program and science education classes at the middle school.
  • JLM received the following awards: Main Street Mobile’s Downtown Innovation Award for contributions made to the downtown community for the Wharf of Wonder, Volunteer of the Year Award from Penelope House, and an Honorable Mention Award from AJLI for “JLM Hurricane Relief Efforts” in the category of Community Collaboration.

  • Social Smarts” program was started to teach etiquette and modern manners to low-income middle school children. Program was started in 2004 but became a JLM Signature Project in 2006.

  • YADA House, our After School Arts Program was established in the Red House.
  • JLM celebrated over 75 years of service in Mobile.
  • Built the Wharf of Wonder, an interactive, preschool science learning center at the Exploreum
  • The JLM participated in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts across the Gulf Coast. More than $132,000 worth of goods and services was donated and over 224 JLM volunteers donated their time. Thousands of families benefited from these efforts.

  • Children’s Clothing Consignment sale was started.
  • Appreciating the Arts started by offering arts appreciation programs not currently available in the region. Examples include short story writing workshop and writing competition for teens, “the Pen Award.”

  • Deborah Brittain, the Association’s first African-American President, presides over the Junior League’s centennial celebration.  Maya Angelou, Nane Annan, and Gloria Steinem, among others addresses the members at the Association’s Annual Conference in New York City, site of the first Junior League.
  • AGLI co-chairs the U.S. Steering Committee for the United Nations International year of the Volunteer (IYV) with the Points of Light Foundation. As a part of IYV activities, President Vincente Fox recognizes the Junior League of Mexico City’s members for their “high level of social leadership and human quality.”

  • Created the Dearborn Community Park in one weekend.

  • “Do the Right Thing” community awareness program was launched.
  • The Tabasco Company inducted “Recipe Jubilee” into the McIlhenny Hall of Fame.
  • JLM along with several other organizations helped found Youth Leadership Mobile.


  • Bay Tables,” JLM’s third cookbook was printed.
  • Allowed the Ronald McDonald House to use the Red House, owned by JLM and located next door to our headquarters building.

  • Donated $75,000 to the Exploreum

  • Helped start The Mobile Area Education Foundation

  • JLM’s “One of a Kind” cookbook was inducted into the Southern Living Hall of Fame.

  • JL Shop moved to 85 North Sage Avenue.

  • JLM gave $25,000 to expand the Children’s Art Education Program at the Saenger Center for the arts.

  • JLM contributed $74,000 toward programs and projects in public education.

  • Adopted Crichton Elementary School as part of “Success by Six” focus area.

  • JLM supported a pilot Girl’s Club Program at the Boy’s Club, now known as the Boys and Girls Club of South Alabama.
  • JLM gave $15,000 to establish the International Baccalaureate Program at Murphy High School.
  • Purchased JLM’s new headquarters building at 57 North Sage Avenue. JLM moved into the building 1989.

  • Contributed to the formation of the Child Advocacy Center.
  • Gave financing to support the Exploreum.
  • Kids on the Block started conducting puppet shows for elementary school children throughout Mobile County. Issues addressed have been “Stranger Danger”, “Safety Issues”, “Child Abuse”, “Sexual Abuse”, and “Healthy Eating Habits.”



  • Raised $48,000 for drug programs.
  • JLM established our Christmas Jubilee fundraiser.

  • Established “Parade Against Drugs” Center on a full time basis which later became the Drug Education Council.

  • JLM donated over $30,000 to drug education and awareness programs.
  • Downtown Discovery Tour program started, offering historical downtown Mobile walking tours for fourth grade school children. This program is now known as “The Downtown Walking Tour.

  • Published “One of a Kind,” JLM’s second cookbook.

  • JLM helped establish “The Explore Center, Inc.” with a gift of $100,000. The Center opened in 1983 and later became The Exploreum.
  • Published the Community Arts Resource Handbook.

  • Sponsored a “Child Abuse Seminar” with four other Alabama Leagues and the University of Alabama School of Law.

  • JLM gave $52,500 to establish “Volunteer Mobile

  • Published “A Historic Guide to the City of Mobile.” The guide was reprinted in 1986.

  • JLM members taught drug education in public schools.
  • The Carlen House educational museum was restored and volunteer docents were placed.

  • JLM, in conjunction with Leagues from Birmingham and Montgomery, sponsored a Public Forum on Mental Health.

  • JLM’s resale shop, The Green Gate, was moved to Springhill Avenue.

  • JLM helped start the Preschool for the Sensory Impaired with volunteers and funding.
  • Supplied insulin for the diabetic clinic.
  • Sustainers formed the Betty Bienville Club.


  • “Preservation with a Purpose” was published and circulated in cooperation with the Historic Development Commission.

  • The name “Recipe Jubilee” was selected for JLM’s first cookbook.

  • Allocated $3,000 to Arts Appreciation programming in the public schools.

  • JLM membership voted to adopt an arts program as its newest demonstration project with a commitment of $30,000 in funding.
1956 – 1957

  • The Mobile League received a citation from the Mobile Education Association on the occasion of the 100th birthday of the National Education Association. This citation recognized the JLM’s unusual service to the children of Mobile County.
  • The Visiting Nurse’s Association received its second $16,500 from the JLM. During the later 1990’s, the Visiting Nurses saw rapid growth averaging 2,942 visits to 229 patients annually
  • The JLM received a gift through the will of Miss Mary A. Chandler. Miss Chandler provided a home located at 350 Church Street was to be left to Mrs. Mary Gurganus for her lifetime, after which the home would become the property of the JLM.


  • The Audio-Visual Program premiered with 30 volunteers testing the sight and hearing of children in the Mobile County Public School system. By May, more than 7,000 children in 36 city and 4 county schools had been tested.

  • Sponsored the establishment of the Visiting Nurses Project, later The Visiting Nurses Association, which provides home health care and nursing services for those in need in the Mobile Community.


  • JLM helped establish the organization now known as the United Cerebral Palsy Center.

  • Donated money to fund the first Mobile Public Library Bookmobile and staffed it with JLM volunteers.

  • Organized and ran the recreation program at the Protestant Orphanage.

  • The Teen Age Canteen (ROYALTEEN), a teen center, was opened under JLM sponsorship and financing.
  • JLM entered the art field with the organization of an art committee that helped establish the Mobile Art Center.

  • With the cooperation of the Public School System, JLM launched “In School Broadcast,” the combined efforts of several Junior League members.
  • A women’s Committee for Home Defense was organized in Mobile.

  • Helped support the Civilian Defense Volunteer Office. The JLM established and staffed a War Housing Center to assist war workers and service men in finding adequate housing for their families. 

  • Through the combined efforts of several Junior League members, a women’s Committee for Home Defense was organized in Mobile.

  • The JLM established an Occupational Therapy class for crippled children at the Mobile Infirmary Hospital.

  • The JLM co-sponsored a toy shop with the Department of Public Welfare. The JLM repaired and distributed toys to needy children at Christmas time. The JLM now hosts an annual toy sale selling new, popular toys at extremely discounted prices to help offset the costs of Christmas toys for families living in the Crichton Community.


  • Opened a thrift shop, now known as Seconds on Sage.

  • JLM’s official news sheet was started as a mimeographed leaflet,  now known as the Folio.

  • Formed the dental clinic and organized a children’s theatre group.

  • Became the Junior League of Mobile, Inc., by affiliating with the Association of Junior Leagues of America.

  • Miss Mary Tilney began the Mobile Charity League with 25 women raising money for the Children’s Nutrition Clinic.
  • Money was raised by putting on a “Follies” musical and by the sale of refreshments at the performance. JLM “Follies” continued to be the primary fundraiser for the Mobile league until 1971.