The Junior League of Winston-Salem – Celebrating 100 Years of Serving the Community

photos by 29th & 11th, LLC PHOTOGRAPHY

The Junior League of Winston-Salem, Inc. has proudly served the Winston-Salem community for 100 years, and this centennial was celebrated with a gala on March 25, 2023 at Forsyth Country Club.

In 1923, a group of 40 women, including Katherine Reynolds Johnston, the former widow of Richard J. Reynolds, founder of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, gathered to discuss ways to help their community with social service. A few weeks later, the group applied for membership in the Association of Junior Leagues of America, Inc. and became the Junior League of Winston-Salem (JLWS), with a mission of devoting its time to advance women’s leadership for meaningful community impact, strengthening families and a focus on volunteerism to reach the community.

“The JLWS has manifested its mission in a number of ways throughout its 100-year history. In 1929, the JLWS started the Hospital for Incurables, later becoming the first location of the Bowman Gray School of Medicine. The Junior League has also started numerous organizations throughout the years that are in existence today and operate as independent entities including: assisting in the founding of the Arts and Workshop in 1945, which transitioned to become Sawtooth School for Visual Arts; the Arts Council in 1949, which was the first Arts Council in the country; the Nature Science Center, 1964, becoming SciWorks and ultimately merged with another JLWS’s projects to become Kaleidum, and the list goes on of all the projects we have worked on in our history,” said Carrie Vickery, JLWS President.

100 years of service to the community deserved to be recognized and celebrated for sure!

“Mayor Joines delivered a proclamation from the City recognizing March 23, 2023 as Junior League of Winston-Salem 100th Anniversary Day, which is the actual anniversary day. We had three big pieces to our Centennial Celebrations: the Gala, the Community Gift and the Exhibitions. The Gala had more than 300 guests in attendance at Forsyth Country Club, with catering done in house, The Voltage Brothers for entertainment and a champagne toast honoring the Past Presidents of the Junior League, including one who is more than 90 years old. Beyond the Gala, the Community Gift is a new endowment we have created at The Winston-Salem Foundation called the JLWS Literacy and Education Equity Fund. Our goal is to raise $100,000 for this endowment with JLWS contributing $25,000 already. The endowment will provide small grants to individual schools and PTAs within the WSFC school system. In addition, an Exhibition will be at Reynolda House Museum of American Art to showcase the history of the JLWS and its connection to Katharine Reynolds Johnston. The Exhibition will be located on the Lake Porch, the very location Katharine is believed to have hosted those 40 women in 1923 that went on to start the JLWS. A second exhibition will open at the Forsyth County Central Library in the fall,” Carrie commented.

Here’s to another 100 years of The Junior League of Winston-Salem!

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