Duluth Junior League celebrates 100 years of guiding and giving

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You may not know it, but the Duluth Junior League has been working for a century to lift up leaders and create community.

The Junior League was formed in 1920. Tuesday night, after a two-year pandemic delay, the group celebrated its 100th anniversary.

"It has been everything that I’ve imagined and then some," Junior League President Liz Hanson said.

She has been part of the group for four of its 102 years.

"There’s so many tremendous women doing so many wonderful things," she said, "and I don’t know that I would have had some of those touchpoints had I not joined the League."

One of the group’s main goals is to hone leadership skills.

"The name Junior really is about sort of training you to take on leadership roles in different boards and in different placements," member Jennifer Webb said.

The other component is community. One of the first projects the Junior League took on was establishing day care for working women in the 1920s. Since then, they have helped build and rebuild Playfront Park and launched the Leadership Duluth program.

Lately, their focus is food insecurity.

"We helped Community Action Duluth fund and build a deep winter greenhouse," Hanson remembered a proud accomplishment.

The greenhouse brings fresh produce to the Denfeld area.

The Junior League is often involved in helping fundraise and get projects started, then the effort is handed off to another organization to maintain.

"I’ve just been so impressed by the work that we’ve done, the people, the leadership, all of the passion for the Twin Ports," Webb said.

It’s hard to say what the next 100 years will hold, but the Junior League women plan to be here to guide and to give.

"I was really struck by the way in which the Junior League roots run under the community," Webb said. "They’re often invisible, but they’re anchoring a lot of the work that’s done to improve the lives of everybody in our community."

The Junior League is recruiting new 21+ women who are interested in leadership and giving back. Visit their website for more information.