The Wellesley Hills Junior Women’s Club was established in 1944 as a service organization under the Massachusetts Federation of Woman’s Clubs. The Club originally had a membership of 45, and now has a membership of between 80 and 100 women, accepting 20 new members each year. While the Club is primarily a service organization dedicated to helping the Wellesley community, it also provides an opportunity for its members to develop new and lasting friendships.
The WHJWC has served the community for several decades, through such activities as aiding children during the polio epidemic of the 1950s, assisting veterans, working with the elderly, performing eye screening of preschool children, distributing safety films and pamphlets, organizing a story hour at the Newton-Wellesley Hospital’s Pediatric Wing, and creating a town-wide safety day. Community service has expanded to include assisting the Wellesley Food Pantry, funding and managing a Wii program at the Wellesley Council on Aging, and performing with the Kids on the Block Puppets in Wellesley elementary schools.
Each year, the WHJWC awards Grants and Scholarships to groups and individuals in Wellesley, using the money raised through our four fundraisers. In 1968-69, the Wellesley Phone Book was first published, and became our most profitable fundraiser for many years. Marketplace, a popular craft fair, began in 1974-1975, and has since gained national attention. In 1999, members and sustainers initiated the Kitchen Tour, a spring event that is eagerly anticipated by the community. Luminary Night was launched in 2008 and has become a town favorite where neighbors and friends gather to celebrate community during the Holiday Season. Our newest fundraiser, the Wonder Run 5K and Kids Fun Run, was launched in 2014 over Wellesley Wonderful Weekend, experienced immediate success and promises huge growth potential for the Club. Through these fundraising activities, in 2009-2010, the Club donated more than $137,000 to scholarship recipients and local charities.
Since 1950, the Wellesley Hills Junior Women’s Club has received citations from the General Federation, the Sears-Roebuck foundation, the Liberty-Mutual award, and from scores of philanthropic organizations. In 2006, the Wellesley Hills Junior Women’s Club received a Community Service Award from the Town of Wellesley in recognition of the Club’s 62 years of service to the town. The award was presented as part of the 125th Anniversary celebration of Wellesley’s founding in 1881.
Throughout our history, we have answered the changing needs of our town. To that end, as the Club continued to evolve, a Strategic Planning Committee was formed in 2007, and developed a Mission Statement and Strategic Plan for the Club. The Strategic Plan provides a much-needed infrastructure that enables the Club to grow while adapting to our community’s changing needs. In 2010, the IRS named the WHJWC a tax-exempt, charitable organization under its section 501(c)(3), which will greatly benefit our organization, its supporters, and most importantly, our Donation and Scholarship recipients.