Message from the NYJL President

As we begin to emerge from the pandemic that has truly changed the philanthropic landscape, the Junior League of the City of New York (NYJL) remains steadfast in its mission to lead, advocate for, and impact the New York City community.

As a result of COVID-19, the NYJL pivoted in our volunteering and devised creative and innovative programming to continue to address the needs of our community. I’m proud to say that this group of strong, diverse, and committed women rose to every challenge and succeeded beyond measure.

We are leaders, advocates, philanthropists, and change-makers seeking to strengthen the health and well-being of the children and families of the greater New York City area. As trained volunteers, we lead with experience, knowledge, and passion and deliver a high standard of excellence in all that we do. Our members are the foundation of the organization, and every volunteer represents the NYJL’s values with integrity and pride.

  • We are passionate about our community. We believe in maximizing our impact through strategic external partnerships, advocacy, and volunteer action to achieve our mission.
  • We respect individuals. We respect each other, those with whom we work and those we serve in the community. We strive to understand others, to respect differences and to treat everyone with dignity.
  • We act responsibly. We recognize that our decisions and our actions can affect others. We strive to uphold our commitments and act honorably in all that we do.
  • We promote opportunity. We are committed to helping each other achieve our potential. We foster a supportive and motivating environment that enables continuous learning, encourages mentoring, and develops future leaders.

In 1901, Mary Harriman brought together a group of young women and set out to Manhattan’s Lower East Side tenement houses as a response to social, health, and educational needs. Since then, NYJL volunteers have been at the forefront of many key initiatives and advocacy efforts to enact change in our city.

Today, we offer expertly designed programs that target four areas of need in New York City serving 60 community partners—Adult Education & Mentoring; Children’s Education, Culture & the Arts; Child Health & Welfare; and City Impact. Our volunteer work spans a variety of signature initiatives, including:

  • The Personal Advancement and Leadership offers mentoring for young women (ages 9-15) on continuing education opportunities, broad career aspirations, and life skills.
  • The Playground Improvement Project creates safe, beautiful play spaces for New York City residents.
  • The Community Improvement Project renovates a partner organization’s facility to increase the organization’s community impact. We do this through a one-year partnership with a Manhattan-based nonprofit organization, providing funding, womanpower, and management oversight for the renovation.

Our goal is to return to a full slate of in-person events and volunteering, and the NYJL leadership is fully committed to our 2,300-strong membership and to fostering a supportive and motivating environment that enables continuous learning, encourages mentoring, and develops leaders. We are laser-focused on member experience, re-strengthening our bonds with our community partners, advancing training to highlight both the needs of our community partners and that of our members, and raising funds to ensure our work continues. We are eager to roll up our sleeves and get back to work with our members, who have been unwavering in their commitment to our constituents.

If you believe in our mission, that all women, children, and families should have equal opportunity, the resources to unlock their potential, and the structures to support them, we invite you to take action today.

  • To support our 501c3 organization, donate as an individual donor.
  • To fund community programs and the leadership development of women, partner with us as a corporate sponsor.
  • To strategically align and advocate with us, join as a partner in the community.
  • To inquire about membership, join us at our next  New Member Orientation.

I am grateful to everyone who has contributed to the NYJL’s legacy and its 122-year history. We didn’t skip a beat over the last two and half years when the world shut down. NYJL members continued to serve our community and engage our volunteers. Our achievements and positive impact in our community are the additive results of a series of small actions rather than all grand gestures. This would not be possible without each of our members. Leadership is action, not a position. I invite you to join me in action and ensure that we continue the NYJL legacy for the next generation.


Yours in Service,

Serra E. Eken