The sky’s the limit when a group of smart, dedicated, and hard-working women come together to support a cause. As president of the Junior League of Morristown (JLM), Melissa Spiotta knows this well.
“I love leading an organization and being a part of driving change,” she says.
In order to accomplish its goals, more active members are needed, and a class for new members will start in September. “We're a great group of women and we have lots of experience,” says Melissa. “We're also a lot of fun and we just want to get to know new people who also want to have an impact in their community.”
Right now, JLM has 150 members, but many of them are what’s called sustainers. They are still with the League, but are very involved in their own or other nonprofits using the skills they learned through the organization. About 30 members are classified as active and it’s they who handle the day-to-day activities and projects.
Ages of the members vary greatly, and consist of single people in their 20s and 30s, older married people with children, and even teenagers. “I love that part of it,” she says. “I never necessarily looked at us as multi-generational, even though, between the active and the sustainers, we are.”
The group typically meets once a month, and although it’s in person, they also offer a virtual option for those who can’t make it to a particular meeting.
Like Morristown itself, the Junior League has a deep history. “The organization was founded in 1936 and has had a large influence on the community through community projects, grants and scholarships.”
It has been supporting the Interfaith Food Pantry Network for many years and has done projects to benefit Jersey Battered Women’s Service, now referred to as JWS, since it doesn't only serve women anymore.
“Every year's a little bit different,” says Melissa. “One of our newest partners is Table of Hope. They’ve been doing a lot of work in the community for years, and two years ago, in response to COVID, they started doing outdoor popup food pantries in different locations. They received a grant from us last year and we've also collected items for them.”
Money for grants and scholarships comes from the fundraisers they hold. “One of our ongoing fundraisers, which just marked its 20th anniversary, is an event called Lunch with the Authors, which was held in May. It’s specifically for our education scholarships.”
These scholarships are available for high school seniors, as well as for women who decide to go back to school later in life through their Women Moving Forward program.
In addition to helping others, being a part of the League allows women to share and learn various skills from other members. “We have people who use social media skills, folks who use leadership skills, fundraising skills, organizational skills, event planning skills, and more,” she says. They also have a vice president of finance, a treasurer, and an investment committee, so members who are interested in these fields can learn accounting and money skills.
“Morristown is a great community and there are so many organizations in the area that we can help support while having fun side by side with other awesome women,” says Melissa.
To become a member, go to jlmnj.org.