The Junior League of Columbia: Strengthening Families and Communities Since 1924

Our donors contribute to the wellbeing of our community in many ways. We are pleased to feature one the Midlands’ philanthropic leaders, the Junior League of Columbia. They have invested two funds at Central Carolina Community Foundation; The Junior League of Columbia, Inc. Scholarship Fund and the Junior League of Columbia Community Enrichment Fund.

The Junior League of Columbia has an undeniable impact on the Midlands. Organized in 1924 by Katharine Heath and a group of ten other women, the JLC has grown to more than 1500 members! Today, this diverse group of women provides more than 50,000 volunteer hours in the community annually. The funds they raise are vital to the organizations who receive grants from them. Most people in Columbia are familiar with the Holiday Market, a fabulous four-day shopping event and the JLC’s largest fundraiser. They also raise money through an annual fund and their newly-established Little Black Dress Initiative.

Managing the Budget Means Making a Bigger Difference

Keeping operating costs low means the majority of JLC’s budget goes toward funding projects in the community. They focus on building healthy families and communities in Columbia. Executive vice president Anna Edwards explains, “Helping change the cycle in a family or community in need is our goal, and it’s meaningful.”

They accomplish that in a few different ways. In early spring, they accept grant proposals for funds that will be distributed in the summer. Past recipients have included organizations like Home Works of America, Richland Library, Junior Achievement, and Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands. In addition to those larger grants, throughout the year, they also offer Community Assistance Funds for nonprofits with short-term, critical needs.

Making Funds Available as Needs Arise

President-elect Bonnie Anzelmo explains why the Junior League of Columbia Fund at Central Carolina Community Foundation is vital to the process. “We always know where the money is, so whether we’re distributing grant funds or meeting immediate needs mid-year, we can access the funds easily. We can help quickly when nonprofits need it most.”

When a large group of women like the ones of JLC get together to make a difference, the results are palpable. Countless families and communities have benefited thanks to their hard work and generosity, and Columbia’s a better place because they’re here.