Junior League of Chicago Gala

By Judy Carmack Bross



Over 200 members, community partners, sponsors and friends of the Junior League of Chicago came together at the Fairmont Hotel to celebrate the community impact they have earned through hands-on skilled volunteering, effective systemic action and philanthropy demonstrated for 110 years since its founding.

Gala attendees and JLC members L-R Lekisha Gunn, Triniece Peterson, and Aqueelah Clark xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Past and current presidents of the Junior League of Chicago, L-R Ruth Gallagher Nelson, Kristin Bernhard, Michelle Kerr

The JLC was created to bring young women together to effectively address social issues, bring about positive change, and to set an example for others about the importance of civic welfare. Today, 110 years at least one U.S. First Lady, one member of Congress, and countless founders of some of Chicago’s most respected and valued civic and non-profit institutions got their start in the Junior League of Chicago.

“While a lot has changed in 110 years, one thing has not: the Junior League of Chicago continues to be the training ground for our community’s women leaders,” League President Kristin Bernhard said.  “Our members come together to learn, to be trained, to build bridges across neighborhoods and demographics, and most importantly to serve, contributing tens of thousands of hours last year across our three pillars of Meeting Essential Needs, Violence Prevention and Awareness, and Literacy.”

Director Lekisha Gunn raises her paddle during the event’s paddle raise. xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Community Vice President Cristina Galvan raises her paddle during the event’s paddle raise.

“Thanks to our silver sponsors EY and Beam Suntory, JLC members (those present and with us in spirit), our emcee Genna Rose with the Chicago Blackhawks, Gala Co-Chairs Megan Pratt and Chris Cornish, and JLC staff team JaCee Burnes and Leah LaDuke who made the 110th Gala celebration possible,” Bernhard said. “While we are still tabulating the final dollars raised, the live paddle raise at the event alone brought over $40,000 of investment into the enabling the JLC to positively impact the Chicagoland community for the next 110 years.” 

Junior League of Chicago President Kristin Bernhard addresses the attendees of the 110th Anniversary Gala

Emcee Genna Rose of the Chicago Black Hawks Emcee Genna Rose of the Chicago Black Hawxxxxxks

The event recognized the longest-serving members of the Junior League of Chicago, standing center are Ruth Gallagher Nelson and Michelle Kerr, who were honored with three decades of
commitment to the JLC.

Members of the Junior League of Chicago’s Board of Directors, Back row L-R Julia Byers, Danielle Powers, Kristin Bernhard, Becky Hogan, Jennessa Tabba, Front Row L-R Lekisha Gunn, Bridgette Lobdell, Liz Kennedy, Taylor Trovillion Sinclair, Kara Goodbrand, Cara Stern

Members of the Junior League of Chicago’s management team, L-R, Katherine Kemmer, Jax Turyna-Fetters, Cristina Galvan, Kamaria Campbell, Sarah Kimmer, Becky Hogan, Amy Maslar, and Amy Marchlen 

“As part of our 110th anniversary, we are hosting 110 service projects across the city of Chicago this fiscal year.  We are nearly to our goal, and our members will spend the spring packing diapers and period products, preparing and serving meals, and much more to get us across the finish line,” Bernard commented. “One of our newer community partners is Digs with Dignity, which outfits the homes of individuals transitioning from homelessness to housing.  We have two more “dig days” this spring, where our members will help completely outfit new homes – from silverware to furniture and more- for two deserving families.”

Gala attendees enjoyed live music from GREEN FOURTEEN

The Junior League of Chicago is currently accepting applications for its new member class and encourages all women interested in positively impacting the Chicago community to register to attend an upcoming prospective member information session visit:  https://www.jlchicago.org/join-junior-league-of-chicago/