After an incredible year of celebrating our 75th anniversary, we are more dedicated than ever to our mission as we continue advancing women’s leadership for meaningful community impact through volunteer action, collaboration, and training. We are so proud of everything we have achieved over the past 75 years, and we know we are just getting started!
No other organization in Beaumont unites nearly 400 women dedicated to serving Southeast Texas. Over the past year, we reflected on our history and celebrated the many women who have used their Junior League training to serve our community. Since 1946, our members have proactively identified areas of need in our city and surrounding areas, taken action to address those needs, and supported organizations that provide vital services. We continue to carry out this legacy of leadership and devotion to Southeast Texas.
The theme I have selected this year is “Advancing the Legacy of Building a Better Beaumont.” You might wonder how exactly does the Junior League of Beaumont build a better Beaumont? The women in our League volunteer their time and talents by planning and executing numerous community events throughout the year, such as promoting healthy lifestyles through our Healthy Behaviors project, supporting children transitioning into independent living after foster care through our Transitioning Youth project, and assisting victims of human trafficking through our Abolish project. To celebrate our 75th anniversary, we awarded a record breaking 75,000 dollars through our Community Assistance Funds (CAF) grants, and I am pleased to announce that due to the success of our fundraising efforts and local sponsors, we will be able to give back $75,000 to our community this league year as well.
As we continue to reflect on our legacy, I want to highlight our significant community achievements over the decades. These projects include the John J. French Museum (1967), Beaumont Heritage Society (1967), Art Museum of Southeast Texas (1969), Young Audiences, Inc. (1970), Leadership Beaumont (1971), Jefferson Theatre Preservation (1976), Creative Play Park (1977), Women’s and Children’s Shelter (1984), Mickey Mehaffy Children’s Advocacy Center, Inc. (1990), Food Bank of Southeast Texas (1991), Imagination Station Park (1993), Southeast Texas Community Health Clinic (1994), Buckner Children & Family Services (1996), Southeast Texas Family Resource Center (1997), and Children’s Museum of Beaumont (2008 to present). We have clearly been building a better Beaumont for decades.
But we aren’t just continuing the legacy, we are advancing it. Adopted in 2020, our newest Signature Project “The O.N.E.” (Our Nonprofits Elevated) is a partnership in which we work alongside a local non-profit for one League year and assist in as many ways as possible. The O.N.E.’s goal is to empower our partnering non-profit by providing any tools the League can to help them take their passion to the next level. The Beaumont Farmer’s Market was selected as our first O.N.E partner, and we are thrilled to working with them over the 22-23 League year.
I firmly believe that we also advance our legacy by increasing leadership skills of our members. Whether they attend leadership training or conferences, chair a committee, or have a quieter leadership role as a committee member, I consider every single one of our members a community leader. They have gotten off the proverbial couch to give their time and talents with the goal of positively impacting their community, and my hope is that the skills they learn and the connections they make from their time in the Junior League of Beaumont will be ones that they carry and share for a lifetime.
Now is the time to start looking forward, and I am truly honored to serve as your President as we kick off our 76th year of service to Beaumont. Thank you for your support and for believing in the mission and members of the Junior League of Beaumont. We are proud to serve where we live, and we are proud to be women “Advancing the Legacy of Building a Better Beaumont”!
Katie O’Neill Baker, 2022-2023 President