Oh, you know, I'm not one of those women. Joining a charity club is soooo not for me.
Yeah, I've heard that a lot. And yet, I never really know what it means.
Does it mean that you think you're too serious and important to waste your time with silly little women's clubs?
Well, Julia Child and Sandra Day O'Connor were both Junior League members; if your work is more important than "First Celebrity Chef" or "First Female Supreme Court Justice", I'd really like to see your résumé.
Does it mean that you don't want to help others in your community?
This year alone, the Charity League of Paducah presented a check totaling $25,600 to Easter Seals West Kentucky. The Younger Woman's Club of Louisville awarded over $40,000 in grants to 17 deserving 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations in the Louisville area. The Junior League of Lexington awarded $30,000 to five deserving Lexington agencies. The Junior League of Louisville raised over $50,000 for area agencies. That's close to $150,000 raised in one year solely by female volunteers from four charity organizations in three key Kentucky cities, granted to some of the Commonwealth's most deserving non-profits. A safe estimate is that these organizations' rosters combined total a membership of less than 600 women. That's around $250 raised per Kentucky woman per year to make a difference in the lives of their fellow Kentuckians. Obviously, you wouldn't want to be a part of that, right?
Does it mean that you don't want to strengthen your professional network?
I've been a member of several different women's charity organizations over the years, and I can safely tell you that most of them have been run with a higher degree of precision and accountability than most Fortune 500 companies. That's because a lot of the members of these clubs were, in actuality, qualified to run Fortune 500 companies. Modern women's clubs count physicians, attorneys, educators, financial analysts, entrepreneurs, and work-at-home mothers among their ranks. When charity club women congregate, you're more likely to hear legal and financial advice, medical referrals or analysis of your child's IEP than gossip or tips on upcoming boutique sales.
Does it mean that you're afraid you won't see "women like you" there?
I promise you, attending a charity club meeting isn't going to look like a scene from The Help. You're going to find a diverse mix of women of various backgrounds and ethnicities -- accomplished, well-educated, professional women. Some of us are work-at-home mothers, others are entrepreneurs, law partners, and surgeons. Here in Louisville, you're also likely to find an impressive group of bourbon professionals. But, you probably won't find any beehive hairdos.
Does it mean that you don't want to see your favorite Kentucky bloggers?
HerKentucky contributors Emily Ho (Lexington Junior League) and Sarah Holland (Charity League of Paducah) are charity club members. I am a past member of the Lexington and Louisville Junior Leagues, and currently sit on the Board of the Younger Woman's Club. We all firmly believe that the training and networking opportunities afforded by these clubs have played a crucial role in our professional success.
Have I changed your mind?
- Younger Woman's Club of Louisville is accepting applications through this Friday, August 14th. A Meet and Greet Happy Hour will be held this Thursday, August 13th, at 5:30 p.m. at Tony Boombozz in St Matthews, where you can learn more about the YWC.
- The Junior League of Louisville is accepting applications for their August provisional class. A Recruitment Open House will be held this Thursday, August 13th, at the Junior League Office (982 Eastern Parkway)
- The Junior League of Lexington will accept applications for 2015 membership from October 1st to October 31st.
- The Charity League of Paducah is currently accepting applications for membership. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- The Junior League of Cincinnati will accept new applications in the spring. Email them at email@example.com for more information.
- The Junior League of Owensboro will accept new applications in the spring. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.