The Junior League of Detroit Continues a 108-Year-Old History of Service to Residents in Need  

The Junior League of Detroit helps local and area Detroit residents through fundraising efforts and more. The Junior League of Detroit has over 400 members strong and a 108-year-old history.  

 

The Junior League of Detroit (JLD) keeps on its 108-year-old promise of providing help to children and families in Detroit by continuing to serve – just like the organization has done since its founding in 1914.  

The group’s first project, centered on providing a lunchroom for working women in downtown Detroit, revealed the time they were in and the inequities that women faced in the booming city.  

Much like then, JLD still continues to keep up with the times and help residents through impactful projects and programs, using its financial resources and trained volunteers to help lead and participate in community-based collaborative partnerships.  

The Grosse Pointe Farms-based organization of women (committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving communities) breaks barriers in many other ways, too.  

The group has had past presidents of color and continues to stand proud on its rich legacy of giving.  

Since 1914, JLD has completed 53 major projects in and around Detroit, awarded over $250,000 in community grants and donated over 500 hours of volunteer time – not to mention the millions of dollars donated over the years in scholarships and local support.                                

JLD’s mainstay event, Designers’ Show House: The Distinctive House on the Hill, located at 205 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Farms, is also a highly-anticipated event held every other year.  

This year’s home will have the distinction of being the JLD’s 24th Designers’ Show House, according to a press release.   

The organization selects a prominent local estate and curates a team of local and national interior designers to transform the home into a Designers’ Show House. League members Shelia Minetola of Grosse Pointe Park, Gabriela Boddy of Grosse Pointe and Dianne Bostic Robinson of Detroit, are general co-chairs of the 2022 Designers’ Show House.   

“The Junior League of Detroit is excited to announce our 2022 Designers’ Show House. We are very proud and honored to carry on this longstanding JLD tradition as our main fundraiser,” said Kimberly Burke, JLD president. “The Designers’ Show House will allow us to continue our League’s philanthropic work, which supports community impact initiatives that help meet the needs of Detroit children, young women and families. It also allows us to provide community-based grants and scholarships.”  

“The Junior League of Detroit is returning to the Grosse Pointes for this 2022 event after showcasing two very beautiful Detroit homes for our Designers’ Show House in 2018 and 2020,” said Show House co-chair Robinson. “It is always an honor to showcase an amazing home in what has become a highly anticipated community event. This year’s beautiful home also will give designers an opportunity to showcase the versatility and beauty of a truly magnificent setting.”  

Minetola told the Michigan Chronicle that she joined the organization about 30 years ago when she moved to Grosse Pointe.  

“There weren’t that many Blacks at that time in The Junior League,” she said, adding that the organization has done a great job of promoting inclusivity and diversity within the group.  

Minetola added that there have been three Black presidents along with an Asian and Hispanic president.  

“We’re growing in leaps and bounds to be inclusive and … (looking) like the city of Detroit,” she said.  

Bostic Robinson agrees.  

“We are putting a big emphasis on diversity,” she said, adding that she was one of the few Black women in the organization about three decades ago and friendships have since been birthed from JLD. “The women I met are still friends of mine. It is wonderful in wanting to give back to the community. … I never looked back.”  

Minetola said that the projects throughout the years have been “wonderful,” especially organizing the biennial show house program.  

“It is a bear to get it up and running [but] the joy we get out of it – it is a sisterhood,” she said. “During the show house, it takes you about a year and a half to find the right house and we form a sisterhood that is [like] no other. I think I see the sisters during the show house year more than I see my husband and I work full-time.”  

Bostic Robinson added that the dollars raised at the end of the day are all about giving back to the community, especially in Detroit.  

“The transformational programs that we have been a part of [are] for the city of Detroit for many, many years,” she said.   

 

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