President’s Message


Welcome to the Junior League of Eastern Fairfield County!

In 1901, when 19-year-old Mary Harriman founded the first Junior League in New York City, she envisioned an organization where women could volunteer their time, develop their skills and improve the lives of those in their communities. One hundred and fifteen years later, Junior Leagues in 291 communities throughout Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States continue to provide opportunities for women who are committed to honing their leadership skills by tackling the issues that confront their communities.

The Junior League of Eastern Fairfield County (JLEFC) was founded in 1920 by 47 women committed to improving the lives of those in greatest need in the Greater Bridgeport area. We have demonstrated that commitment for 96 years, creating a legacy and tradition that I know will continue for the next 96 years. The 300 women of the JLEFC are driven by our mission of Promoting voluntarism, Developing the Potential of Women and Improving our Community.

We have the distinction of being the very first League in Connecticut. Our history is colorful and lasting, and the area we serve would not be the same without the tireless efforts of all our members. Some of our League’s past projects are parts of organizations that still continue to thrive in our community today!  Our League was involved in the formation of the Discovery Museum, the Beardsley Zoo and the School Volunteer Association, just to name a few. 

Our organization is almost entirely run by volunteers. Our members gain invaluable training and experience through the creation and implementation of our projects, which they subsequently bring to other organizations, businesses and non-profits. This has always meant that our members are able to individually impact their communities beyond their League involvement, preparing them to become community and civic leaders of their times.

Today, the JLEFC’s “Healthy Families, Healthy Futures” community projects impact School Readiness in the areas of literacy, healthy lifestyles and hunger, to better prepare children to succeed in later grades and subsequently, graduate from high school. In 2017-2018, the League will continue to improve and enrich the Greater Bridgeport community through the following projects:

  • Leaguers Building Readers, where since its inception, we have placed over 50,000 books in the hands of at-risk children
  • Cook & Feed for Friends in Need, which provides 150 meals every other month to Operation Hope.
  • Done in a Day events, including community garden clean ups, healthy lifestyle events, book and food drives and more
  • Neighborhood Impact, where through long-standing partnerships with Thomas Hooker School, we support their school readiness efforts
  • Healthy Families/Healthy Futures, In January 2015, The League’s newest signature project, “Healthy Families, Healthy Futures” was launched. This is a joint venture with the Center for Family Justice, the Bridgeport YMCA and the Norma Pfriem Urban Outreach Initiative. This project provides dinners and family programming to improve school readiness.
  • Healthy Futures Family 5K run/walk, the JLEFC held its inaugural Healthy Families 5K Run/Walk fundraiser at Beardsley Park in November of 2014.  Funds raised at this event help support the mission of our League and our community outreach projects. The fourth annual run/walk will be held in the spring of 2018.

In addition to providing community impact and training opportunities for our Members, the League has always offered opportunities to create lifelong friendships, while working alongside other inspiring women who actively seek ways to become more engaged in their community.

Women of character creating lasting community change. We are the women of the Junior League.

I invite you to learn more about the JLEFC at



Melissa Clear

President, JLEFC 2017-2018