A Legacy of Leadership

“The Junior League of Dayton has a rare sensitivity to unmet civic needs. The presence here of such a purposeful, dedicated group of women will contribute to keep the community alert and receptive to necessary change.”

Dayton Daily News, ca. 1990

The Junior League of Dayton held its first meeting on Oct. 31, 1919, at the Dayton Woman’s Club. Officially chartered in February 1920, it was admitted to membership in the Junior Leagues of America (now AJLI ) that same year, making ours the second League in Ohio. In November 1935, The Junior League of Dayton, Ohio, Inc. was formally incorporated.

From its original 10 founding members – led by our first president, Katharine Kennedy Brown – the Junior League of Dayton has grown to 300 members today. Then, as now, our purpose is to foster interest among women in social, economic, educational, civic, and cultural conditions of the community and to make their volunteer service efficient and effective.



  • Stretched more than half the gauze needed for Miami Valley Hospital
  • Sewed 1,011 garments, primarily layettes and hospital gowns
  • Worked with the Visiting Nurse Association to provide housekeeping for families in need
  • Assisted in opening the Dayton Art Institute
  • Helped form one of the first Girl Scouts troops in southwest Ohio


  • Donated $5,000 to Food and Fuel Relief Fund (Family Welfare Association)
  • Established the Occupational Therapy Department at Miami Valley Hospital
  • Performed more than 130 educational puppet shows to 18,000 children in schools, institutions, and hospitals


  • Sponsored the Army-Navy Officers Club
  • Operated the Dayton Art Institute docent program, scheduling and training volunteers and providing educational tours to schoolchildren who visited the museum
  • Formed the Volunteer Service Bureau, matching community volunteers with jobs


  • Started the popular Town Hall lecture series
  • Founded what is now the Dayton Art Institute Art Ball 
  • Conducted 350 preschool vision screenings
  • Funded and oversaw the addition of a planetarium at the Museum of Natural History


  • Formed Area Councils that emphasized citizen participation in solving neighborhood problems (the foundation for today’s Priority Boards)
  • Created a Scholarship Handbook that listed 140 types of financial aid and loans available to young people seeking college training
  • Helped establish the Cox Arboretum


  • Gifted an Adolescent Unit to Dayton Children’s Hospital in honor of the League’s 50th anniversary
  • Produced the book, Dayton: A History in Photographs, as a gift to the community
  • Assisted Daybreak in opening a shelter location


  • Assisted children navigating the court system through Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
  • Doorways to Dayton, the League’s second handbook for persons with disabilities, was published
  • Established, operated, and funded the first onsite children’s program at YWCA Dayton, Montgomery County’s only domestic violence shelter


  • Began Earth Corps, grocery store recycling tours, environmental packets, and a Hazardous Waste Project
  • Participated in the Silent Witness Domestic Abuse community awareness project
  • Established programs such as First S.T.E.P.S. at Miami Valley Hospital and Stories Come Alive with Dayton Public Schools.


  • Started the POWERmobile, which provided moveable, onsite delivery of the League’s childhood wellness programming
  • Established the JLD Deli at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery
  • Founded the Infant-Toddler Wellness program to empower and educate teen parents
  • Fitted more than 10,000 children for free, age-appropriate bicycle helmets


  • Helped advance legislation through our State Public Affairs Committee that provided better support for youth aging out of the foster care system
  • Founded our signature Girl Power Workshop, a one-day seminar focused on improving young girls’ self-esteem and confidence through hands-on activities and discussions
  • Earned the AJLI Marketing and Communications Award for 2017 for our Kids in the Kitchen public service announcement series