Our History

The Junior League of Midland, Inc. began as the Midland Service League in 1949, with charter memberships of 29 women. The Junior League of Midland, Inc. has continued its legacy of service to the community through a wide variety of community projects.

Some of the first projects developed by the Midland Service League include: Story Telling at the Library, the Mobile Magazine Cart at Western Clinic Hospital and assisting the Children’s Theatre. Each member was required to provide at least 80 hours of volunteer service each year. The first year Charter members worked 1370 hours.

During the 1950s, the Children’s Dental Clinic and Family Counseling Service were established, and the League had a representative on the Citizen’s Traffic Safety Commission and other community boards. The Children’s Isolation Ward at Midland Memorial Hospital was created, and the Directory of Community Services was compiled and distributed. Children’s concerts were presented in cooperation with the Midland Symphony League.

In addition to volunteer hours, the League also provided financial support to its projects and gifts to community. The first gift was an incubator for Midland Memorial Hospital. Fundraising projects consisted of candy and calendar sales the first year. The League’s first fundraising event, Charity Ball, was established in 1951. In addition to Charity Ball, the Midland Service League operated a Clothing Mart. Clothes were submitted by members of the League. The Clothing Mart was the forerunner of the Next-to-New Shop, which was built in 1957.

In April 1954, the name of the Midland Service League was changed to the Junior Welfare League. In April 1957, the Junior Welfare League applied to the Admissions Committee of the Association of Junior Leagues. Their denial, due to the small size of the city population, was received in June.

In the 1960s, placement opportunities were offered at the Cerebral Palsy Center, the Opportunity Center, the Our-Patient Department of Midland Memorial Hospital, the Children's Diagnostic Clinic and the Red Cross. Child protective films were offered by the League in schools. League members served on the Board of Trustees of the Museum of the Southwest when it officially opened and as chairman for the Objectives for Midland Program. The members’ service to the Midland Community Theatre earned the League the annual Ham Hocks’ Award for outstanding contribution to the Community Theatre. Then in February 1964, the Junior Welfare League was elected to membership in The Association of Junior Leagues, Inc. and was the 195th Junior League in the United States.

The 1970s brought the issue of drugs to the community’s attention. The Junior League of Midland purchased anti-drug film spots for television. The League participated in “Christmas in October,” a Community Self-Help Project for lower income homes and initiated the Telephone Reassurance Program Volunteers in Midland. Placement opportunities in the 1970s included the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, Audiometric Screening, CPR training and the Prenatal Clinic. The Junior League of Midland, Inc. provided the History of Midland Exhibit at the Museum of the Southwest and initiated and financed Partners in Reading Program with the Midland Independent School District.

The 1980s saw the continuation of many projects (such as the Museum of the Southwest, the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, Audiometric Screening, CPR training and the Children’s Dental Clinic), and involvement in new service projects (Adult Basic Education, Hospice and the Emergency Shelter Boards). The Junior League of Midland, Inc. also financed and developed Tumbleweed Playground, a park for children of the community. Position statements were adopted on the issues of child welfare, substance abuse and the elderly. From these issues, several important projects were developed, including: Stand Tall, Teen Court, Kids on the Block, Council Against Substance Abuse, Junior League Singers and Hearthstone. Hearthstone, an emergency shelter for abused and neglected children, was deeded to the Texas Baptist Children’s Home from the League and the First Baptist Church of Midland. The League was also able to erect a permanent headquarters facility. The Charity Ball and the Next-to-New Shop continued to be successful fund raising projects and several generous grants were sought and received from local foundations. In 1988-89, the League celebrated its 40th birthday as a Service League and its 25th birthday as a member of the The Association of Junior Leagues, Inc. These birthdays were honored by holding a placement showcase at Midland Park Mall, the making of a video documenting the first 15 years of the Midland Service League and most significantly by giving a total of $100,000 to 13 different community organizations.

 In anticipation of a fifth decade of service to Midland, the Junior League participated in Objective 2000, the city's program to establish goals and objectives for the 1990s and approved a $10,000 contribution for this program to Forward Midland. Perhaps the most conspicuous activity of 1989-90 was that of the capital campaign for Headquarters expansion. Entitled “Building for a Better Midland”, the campaign began following several years of projecting and then planning for the increasing needs of the Junior League for additional office, meeting, work and other support space. The expanded headquarters was officially opened in May of 1992, and the new space is shared with other non-profit organizations, neighbors and friends of the community.

The 1990s began with the celebration of the Charity Ball’s 40th birthday in 1991. A new fundraiser, called the Festival of Trees, was added in 1992. It was eventually dropped in 1997. By 1993, all General Meetings were held in Mabee Hall of the new Headquarters, while the League continued to strive to maximize usage of the building among itself, as well as with other non-profit organizations. Internal streamlining of placements in conjunction with AJLI trends took several years to accomplish in the mid- 90’s. A $30,000 donation was made for Blitz Build ‘97, a project of Habitat for Humanity in 1997. In 1999, the League culminated its fifth decade of service in Midland with a year long 50th birthday celebration of the Midland Junior League and an $125,000 gift to four community agencies: $60,000 to the Fredda Turner Durham Children’s Museum for the Cityscape construction, $20,000 to Midland Memorial Foundation for a Nuclear Medicine Gamma Probe, $20,000 to the Midland Fire Department for the Argus Thermal Imaging Camera and $25,000 the Young Life for their Activity Building. Although the League remained committed to promoting voluntarism through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers, the new millennium brought about change. After fifty-three years, Charity Ball was no longer a lucrative fundraiser and members were forced to look at new ways to raise funds to support their community projects. In 2001, Clay Shoot was established and Spring Fling followed in 2004. Due to these efforts, the League added a number of community projects to their list including: Bynum School, Scholarship Clearinghouse and Suits with Skills. In 2003, the Association of Junior Leagues International launched several programs, one of which featured universal brand identity. By 2004, more than 80% of Leagues had adopted the "Women Building Better Communities" tagline. AJLI also created its first ever project, Kids in the Kitchen. Gaining international attention, the Midland Provisionals added Kids n the Kitchen to their curriculum in 2006. With the success of our fundraiser lay Shoot, in 2006 we began the tradition of Buckshot Bash, a dance nd dinner to celebrate the shoot. 2008 saw two new Community rojects added to serve our growing membership: Face the Race nd Family First. In 2009, the League celebrated its 60th year of community ervices and gifted Vision 2020, a strategic plan for Midland's future, to the community.

At the end of 2009 a new Endowment Committee was formed to help fully fund our Endowment. The goal is $1,000,000.00 by 2015. With a fully funded Endowment more funding can be placed in our community projects. In 2010, the League set out combining the two fundraisers - Spring Fling and Clayshoot into one fundraising event and the name Shotguns & Stilettos was created.

In 2012, the Project Research and Development Committee created three new projects that would begin in August 2013. The League has re-partnered with Rays of Hope and Centers for Children and Families to support family education in the community.