Our History


In November 2023, the league celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the Home for Crippled Children.  Past President Mary Stumb spoke about her years as a volunteer at the Home; former Home patient Gary Harmon spoke of his memories and former Home Board Chair, Mary Lee Bartlett, spoke of her time serving with the Home Board. A video of highlights of the evening can be found here. 


JLN membership voted on new focus areas in September 2022. With this vote, beginning in June 2023 and going through May 2028, JLN will focus on two issues–childhood literacy and alleviating poverty.

Following the vote for the new focus areas, the Invitation to Collaborate was sent out to agencies throughout Nashville, with 62 community partners submitting applications for the Grants Committee to review.  Twelve agencies were selected; nine of these were new agencies to JLN.

Additionally, the Community Needs Council will work with nine more community partners to maintain or build relationships with community groups and determine how to best utilize each other’s skill sets to maximize community change. These agencies will be known as Strategic Partners.

In addition to finding new partner agencies to work with, JLN strategically decided to incorporate volunteer opportunities that would utilize the professional skillsets of our volunteers bringing a more well-rounded opportunity to both our volunteers and our community partners.

JLN’s Women’s Summit was held in person at The Bedford for the first time since its inception in 2020 and was a resounding success. The day was inspiring and enjoyed by attendees, sponsors, and vendors.

JLN took home the AJLI Fund Development Award at the annual May meeting for the Centennial Celebration fundraising activities.  The fundraising award was received due to following best practices in fundraising, brand awareness, and including a diversified funding plan for the league. An additional reason was the substantial amount of funds raised by JLN during the Centennial year.


JLN celebrated its Centennial in 2022. The celebration was kicked off with a Patron’s Party at the Main Library, timed to coincide with the unveiling of a JLN exhibit held there. Mayor John Cooper attended and declared the date of JLN’s charter, Junior League of Nashville Day. Other celebratory events included a Founding Day Fête and Gala. A luncheon for Sustaining members was held with a special fashion show depicting style through each decade of the league’s existence.

In honor of JLN’s 100 years, 100 acts of service were performed throughout the year. A new supplemental agreement pledging $1.5 million was signed with Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt to fund a Pediatric Rehab facility and a directorship for the facility. Vanderbilt also unveiled a wall of history panels honoring the partnership between JLN and Vanderbilt. One-time grants of $22,000 were awarded to 3 agencies founded by JLN and a total of $365,000 was given out to the community.

Articles on the history of JLN ran in both NFocus and Nashville Lifestyles magazines. The Tennessean podcast hosted President Jenny Barker to discuss the history of the league and the ways it has changed over the years.


As the COVID-19 pandemic continued, JLN found unique ways to continue to volunteer in the Nashville community: a few of the volunteer efforts included tutoring students from the Boys and Girls Club of Middle Tennessee, planning and hosting two events for the Martha O’Bryan Center, holding six successful book drives, and donating more than 5,000 new books to children in the community.

On January 30, 2021, the Inaugural Women’s Summit event was held for JLN members and the community. This virtual leadership conference offered league members and the public both personal and professional development opportunities.

In response to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, JLN moved all its last quarter work to digital platforms, including conducting its first-ever virtual Placement Fair, member trainings, and General Membership Meetings.

JLN gifted over $300,000 of grants to its community partners, which included the third payment of a 1.5 million dollar grant to the Child Life Program at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

The Board of Directors voted to institute a 6th Council as a part of the Management Team to continue to operationalize its diversity and inclusion work.

A Centennial Research Committee researched and reported on major milestones in JLN’s history in preparation for its centennial celebration in the spring of 2022.

A steering committee, composed of members of the Board of Trustees, past presidents, and other supporters of the JLN provided a set of recommendations to the Board of Directors for preparing JLN for the next 100 years of its history.

JLN made the second payment of a 1.5 million dollar 5-year pledge to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in the amount of $200,000. This gift was made to fund the Child Life Program at Vanderbilt.

Efforts to make JLN a more diverse and inclusive organization continued with the seating of a Diversity and Inclusion task force as well as the facilitation of outcome based Diversity and Inclusion focus groups. Krystal Clark served as the League’s first African-American president.

The Junior League of Nashville’s inaugural Day of Service, called Members in Motion, took place in March of 2018 at community agencies in Nashville.

JLN made the first payment of a 1.5 million dollar 5-year pledge to the amount of $500,000.

Meredith Eason received the AJLI Rising Star Award at the Annual AJLI Conference.

JLN celebrates its 95th anniversary with a gala held at Belle Meade Country Club. Two former patients from the Home for Crippled Children speak at JLN meetings.

JLN begins working with partner agencies in areas of human trafficking and literacy. The first All Booked Up literacy event is held at Nashville Children’s Theatre.

JLN pledges $500,000 to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt capital campaign to build out the hospital tower, and $1 million to endow the Child Life and other family support programs, to be paid by our 100th anniversary in 2022.

The Junior League of Nashville adopts focus areas in human trafficking and literacy and pledges to continue work on childhood obesity through its Kids in the Kitchen program.

JLN adopts new bylaws, creating a governing board of directors and a management team.

Junior League adds the Executive Vice President position to the board, aimed at improving operations and reducing the workload for the president.

Junior League gives $113,700 to community partners at the May General Membership meeting.

Debut year of the Music City Masquerade fundraiser.

Debut year for Club Twenty-Two Shopping Card fundraiser.

JLN pledges $1.5 million to establish the Junior League Sickle Cell Disease and Asthma Program at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Junior League of Nashville celebrates our 90th anniversary with year-long events, culminating in a luncheon March 29, 2012.

Anniversary Community Endowment Fund was fully funded.

CPR Training provided to all Provisional members.

Kids in the Kitchen moved to the Martha O’Bryan Center.

Inaugural Twice is Nice Rummage Sale fundraiser raised funds for JLN community projects, while allowing at-risk families to shop and purchase quality items at very low prices.

Board of Directors adopted a resolution creating the 1922 Society of the Junior League of Nashville, a legacy society recognizing those members who support the Endowment by including the JLN in their estate plans.

JLN gave a $150,000 gift to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt for the creation of a new Art Therapy program.

Junior League gives $150,000 to Centerstone for their Therapeutic Preschool.

Partnered with Girl Scouts to expand the Kids in the Kitchen program, serving 200 young girls with an afternoon of healthy body image initiatives.

Served 17 different Community Outreach Projects.

The Junior League pledges $2 million to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt to develop the Maternal-Fetal Center, a groundbreaking program caring for high-risk pregnancies.

Inaugural ‘Tis the Season Holiday Marketplace had net earnings of over $150,000 and nearly 4,000 people from the community attended.

JLN wins the Junior League Leadership Development Award of $10,000 at AJLI Annual Conference in recognition of our outstanding training.

Following Hurricane Katrina, JLN restocks the Junior League of New Orleans Thrift Shop, Bloomingdeals, through an all member clothing drive.

Sustainer Deborah Taylor Tate receives the prestigious Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award at the AJLI Annual Conference.

JLN’s Training and Conference Center wins the AJLI Award for Vision at Annual Conference.

The new Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt opens with the support of JLN volunteers. JLN installs the Textile Art Collection in the Junior League Family Resource Center.

The 20th Anniversary Decorators’ Show House is held during the holidays.

JLN releases a new cookbook, Notably Nashville, which celebrates Nashville’s history, heritage and culture.

The JLN Training and Conference Center opens and is available to community partners. JLN hosts the AJLI annual conference in Nashville.

JLN adopts a new logo in conjunction with AJLI rebranding campaign.

JLN celebrates 80 years of “Breaking New Ground in Community Service” by bringing “Kaleidoscope” to Nashville, an art experience for elementary school children, and by hosting a reunion of the former patients of the JLN Home.

With a lead gift of $125,000 from JLN, Lily’s Garden at Fannie Mae Dees Park, a fully accessible playscape, breaks ground.

The proceeds from the sale of the White Avenue property, $435,000, were granted to The Salvation Army’s Red Shield Family Initiative to build the JLN Child Care Center.

The JLN membership endorses a millennium gift of $750,000, to be combined with a $250,000 gift from the Curb Foundation, for the children’s section of Nashville’s new downtown public library building.

Sustainer Martha Ingram receives the prestigious Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award at the AJLI Annual Conference.

JLN pledges $2,000,000 to support the new freestanding Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

JLN founds the Nashville Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to promote education and awareness of breast cancer through early detection, screening and research.

JLN celebrates its 75th anniversary and makes a Tennessee Bicentennial gift of a children’s playground at Elmington Park.

JLN helps found the Renewal House to create Nashville’s only long-term recovery community for mothers with addictions and their children.

JLN funds the entire cost of a Respite Care Center at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital that enables parents of chronically ill children to enjoy a night or weekend away and is only one of four such programs in the United States.

A collaborative effort between health care professionals at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and the JLN create the Junior League Center for Chronic Illnesses and Disabilities of Children (now the JLN Family Resource Center) to ensure that all children receive quality health care. This program is funded with $750,000 from the JLN.

JLN serves as the lead agency to form the Nashville Immunization Coalition to improve the immunization rates of children under 24 months of age and is recognized as one of the premier coalitions in the country.

JLN is instrumental in beginning the school-based program “Teen Outreach” with Oasis Center to prevent teen pregnancy and school drop-outs.

The Junior League of Nashville receives more awards than any other league in the entire association at Annual Conference held in May.

WDCN-Public Television and JLN produce “Heart of the Matter,” a TV show focusing on community issues and
JLN members serve as camera operators, producers, interviewers and more. The program enjoys 10 years of airtime.

JLN and the Salvation Army launch “Kare for Kids” to provide childcare to homeless children.

JLN resources are used to establish Recovery Residences for chemically dependent teenagers.

JLN, Nashville General Hospital and Vanderbilt University Medical Center begin what is now called “Our Kids,” to provide medical and psychological evaluation for abused children.

JLN creates the “For Santa’s Sake” program to bring joy to children during the holiday season through gifts and toys.

The first Designers’ Show House is created and nets $120,000.

With a grant of over $500,000 the JLN founds the Junior League Children’s Lung Center at Vanderbilt University Children’s Hospital.

In coalition with the National Council of Jewish Women, the JLN funds a pilot program called CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) to advocate for the needs and best interests of children who have come to the attention of the court system as a result of abuse or neglect.

JLN sponsors the Artist in Residence program at the Nashville Institute for the Arts.

JLN initiates The Curiosity Corner at the Cumberland Science Museum, a hands-on learning experience.

JLN founds the Museum Experience Room at the Tennessee State Museum to provide a place for school children to learn about historic life in Middle Tennessee through a hands-on experience.

JLN’s second cookbook, Nashville Seasons Encore, is published. The “Ice Cream for Nashville” fundraiser is very successful.

The JLN Garden, a terrace play area, is opened at Vanderbilt University Children’s Hospital.

JLN makes the far-reaching decision to move the Home for Crippled Children to the Regional Medical Center (later Vanderbilt University Children’s Hospital).

With the assistance of United Way funding, the JLN helps launch the Volunteer Center to link individuals and groups with volunteer opportunities.

Nashville Seasons cookbook is published. JLN funds music appreciation in the metro schools.

The Home for Crippled Children becomes an accredited hospital.

Services at the Home are expanded to serve medically crippled as well as orthopedically crippled children.

The Dede Wallace Center, the first mental health center of its kind, is built on the property of the Junior League Home.

William C. Weaver, Jr. and W.H. Criswell give land (now 2202 Crestmoor) for a new headquarters. The Paper Sale breaks records with sales exceeding $134,000.

The JLN Puppeteers make their debut.

The Home for Crippled Children is expanded to include 25 beds, a schoolroom and therapy rooms.

JLN provides seed funding for a new mental health organization.

JLN celebrates its 20th anniversary and receives national recognition for raising more annual funds than any other league: $33,490.

The Endowment Trust Fund is established to support Junior League’s work with children who have suffered from polio. This trust continues to fund Junior League work in the 21st century, helping children overcome barriers that might prevent them from reaching their full potential.

JLN participates in the March of Dimes and receives half of the local proceeds. The Home provides a new outpatient clinic.

JLN ventures into radio with a children’s program and creates the Children’s Theatre Board.

The Nashville Academy Theatre for children is founded with the assistance of JLN and opened with the production of “Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp.”

A new JLN Home for Crippled Children is built on White Avenue.

President Martha Lindsey organizes the first JLN headquarters with a shop and tearoom.

President Frances Dudley convinces the Junior League Association to hold its national convention in Nashville–the first time ever held outside New York City.

The Junior League Home for Crippled Children opens and the Junior League Paper Sale (later the Palm Sunday Paper Sale, now the Friends of Vanderbilt University Children’s Hospital Paper Sale) is initiated to raise funds for the Home.

Under the leadership of Cornelia Keeble Ewing, the Junior League of Nashville is formed and admitted into the Association of Junior Leagues.