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Brookfield Junior Woman's Club Leaves a Legacy

June 13, 2014

The Brookfield Junior Woman's Club has disbanded after 47 years of service but their legacy will live on in the community forever. The club established an endowed fund that will continue to support the community through annual grant distributions.

The BJWC was incorporated on November 16, 1967. It was formed to build a sense of community and foster life-long friendships based on a shared value for service.

The BJWC has sponsored/supported a number of annual events in Brookfield over the years. Specifically, the Brookfield Easter Egg Hunt, Brookfield Spelling Bee, Elmbrook Art Show, Arbor Day Event, Safety Town, and National Education Week. Over the holiday season, they sponsored an annual holiday dinner for the residents at Jordan House and assisted the Brookfield Post Office in making sure that all of the children’s letters to Santa are delivered and receive a personal reply from Santa himself!

Over the years, the BJWC has raised additional funds as needed for special needs in the community. Its first grant was awarded in 1968 to the newly built Elmbrook Memorial Hospital to sponsor a room from the proceeds of a pancake sale. Later efforts subsidized the Hospital Library, scholarship programs, etc.. In the early 70’s, membership rose to 40+ members. As membership rose, the club was able to conduct larger fundraisers (charity balls, casino nights, sport nights, art fairs, etc.). Beginning in the 1980’s, the club’s signature fundraisers became the Christmas home tours and the Spring Fashion Show. In the early 1990’s, the club conducted a capital campaign to raise enough funds to build the Survive Alive house (which teaches fire safety to elementary school children from both private and public schools) in partnership with the Brookfield Fire Department. In the late 1990’s, the club committed to a 4 year capital campaign to raise $50,000 to build the art terrace at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts.

In the 2000's, the club developed a new community event in fall in partnership with the Parks and Recreation Department called "The Big Chili Roundup". The club also partnered with the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center to support the Holiday Open House and Arts Festival and developed a community-wide Gingerbread Contest. It's charitable gifts included gifts to the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center of the Arts, the Elmbrook Nature Center, Waukesha County Birth to Three Program, Safe Place for Newborns, Waukesha Women's Center, Fairview South, the Elmbrook Education Foundation, and many more! The club also sponsored an annual program called "Juniors Cares for Kids" to support children in need throughout Waukesha County. In addition, the club supported the City's defibrillator program by installing this life-saving device at the Wilson Center, the Public Library, etc..

In addition to grant awards, BJWC members were asked to bring donations to each monthly meeting to support the selected charity of the month (e.g. New Berlin Food Pantry, U.S. Armed Forces, Children’s Hospital, etc.).

Many of the club's members joined when their children were in preschool and have transitioned back into the workforce and/or took leadership roles in their schools and/or elsewhere in the community. Despite their best efforts, the club struggled to attract new members and had to make the difficult decision to disband the club.

The club's remaining reserves have been converted to an endowed fund within the Waukesha County Community Foundation. The "Brookfield Junior Woman's Club Community Fund" will produce a grant award annually which will be directed to local agencies that support the club's primary areas of interest.

• community support
• women’s health
• family support
• children’s health and safety

Organizations that would like to be considered for future grant awards should send an email to BJWC.Community.Fund@gmail.com with the organization mission, web site, and contact information. Grant awards of up to $1500 will be made in January of each year from the list that has been compiled after being reviewed by the fund's advisory committee.

The club would like to thank all of those that have supported the BJWC with their time, talents, ideas, friendship and monetary gifts over the years. It is the people that make Brookfield such a great place to live. Please consider "The Brookfield Junior Woman's Club Community Fund" in your charitable giving plans. Inquiries regarding donations, stock transfers, and bequests can be directed to:

The Waukesha County Community Foundation
obo/The Brookfield Junior Woman's Club Community Fund"
www.waukeshafoundation.org

Sincerely,
The Brookfield Junior Woman's Club

 

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