President’s Welcome

Jhanna Gilbert

Welcome and thank you for visiting the Junior League of Gainesville. We are a nonprofit organization with more than 400 trained women volunteers. In the 2020-2021 League year, we are celebrating 85 years of our organization promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the Gainesville community.

Since 1935, members of the Junior League of Gainesville have brought a diverse set of skills and life experience to a common goal of impacting our community in a meaningful way. It started with Mrs. James W. McCollum (later, Mrs. J.H. Palmer, and affectionately known as “Aunt Carrie”) and a small group of women who gathered on her front porch to plan and organize a Junior Welfare League. The early work consisted primarily of cooking and serving hot lunches to school children in need.

Since then, the Junior League of Gainesville has created a legacy of service to the Gainesville community, which has included facilitating dental and health care treatment for infants and children, establishing the Morningside Nature Center and Family Visitation Center, operating a community thrift store, implementing children’s literacy and theater projects, and restoring the historic Thomas Center, to name a few.

In a return to our initial cause, our community impact focus is hunger. As community leaders, the Junior League of Gainesville facilitates collaborations to fill pressing food needs in our community. Through our strong relationship with the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program, our members donate time and resources to decrease food insecurity for school children in Alachua County.

This year we will also celebrate the 30th anniversary of hosting the “Miracle on Main Street”, a toy giveaway for families in our community who might not otherwise have gifts for their children over the holidays. As part of the Miracle on Mainstreet, families also “shop” our pantry and have the opportunity to bring home kitchen supplies. We appreciate donations for this impactful and joyous event through our Amazon Wishlist

Along with improving our community and promoting volunteer experiences, a cornerstone in our mission is developing the potential of women. Our members receive training in leadership, volunteer coordination, organizational development, community impact, diversity and inclusion, and many other personal development topics. The Junior League of Gainesville is well known for its training. Many nonprofits, PTAs, and local boards seek out our members for their experience and expertise as trained community leaders. 

Finally, the Junior League of Gainesville serves as a place of connection, both for our members and to our community. Our organization is a place to connect with impactful and driven women while serving and learning about the needs of the Gainesville community. Through shared committee placements, volunteer work, and life experiences, our members build a culture and community of support and friendship. 

We invite you to explore our website to learn about our history, impact on the Gainesville community, and opportunities to join our efforts.


In Community Service,

Jhanna Gilbert
2020-2021 President
Junior League of Gainesville