1999 - 2004
As we embarked on a new millennium the 1999-2000 year saw many changes to our League. The League held its inaugural Merry Marketplace, A Holiday Shopping Extravaganza. This project raised over $30,000 in its first year for our organization's projects and programs. These funds helped support the two new projects adopted by the League to better service the Pee Dee area-- The House of Hope Lifeskills Program and ScienceSouth. The Lifeskills Program begun in the fall of 2000 and services the homeless women and children of our community.The League also committed $100,000 over the next 5 years toward the development of an interactive learning center called ScienceSouth.
During the 2001-2002 year, we celebrated the centennial year of The Association of Junior Leagues' International with a visit from the AJLI president, Deborah Brittain. Merry Marketplace, along with the development campaign, continued as the primary fundraisers for the League. The League also made its second contribution of $20,000 to ScienceSouth. The Lifeskills program continued to serve residents of the House of Hope while Attire to Inspire collected professional clothing for people in need. The Leaders In Action award scholarships of $500 per recipient were presented to seven local high-school women. A League website was created and the membership donated $5,000 to the Pee Dee Coalition for the Talk about Touching program.
In 2002-2003, Merry Marketplace-- in addition to the development campaign-- continued to be a success as our primary fund-raiser. ScienceSouth received its third installment of $20,000. House of Hope residents continued to be provided with the LifeSkills program along with a $2,000 budgeted donation. The Attire to Inspire program partnered with Carolina Wings and Rib House to provide women in the community with professional clothing at no cost. Seven local high school students received the Leaders In Action Awards with a $500 scholarship. Stir Crazy cookbook was reprinted due to popular demand. The International Junior League logo was adopted and the Community Grant Awards Program was developed, resulting in $6,500 awarded to organizations in the community.
The 2003-2004 year marked the fifth anniversary for Merry Marketplace. In celebration, the League innovated the three-day shopping event by adding a Shop Night, which was open to the public. About five thousand people joined us for Merry Marketplace and the funds raised helped us continue to make our community a better place. "Women Building a Better Community" defined a multi-media public service and image campaign launched by the JLF on television, radio and newspaper. The Russell House received a facelift too with the addition of a gravel parking lot and a fresh coat of paint.
We refreshed rooms at the Pee Dee Coalition Shelter, gave Christmas to kids through Pee Dee Mental Health, and created comfort kits for the American Red Cross, and better defined our "Done In a Day" committee. A Sustainer Roundtable was formed and the membership voted to expand the Lifeskills program by opening it up to other agencies. In addition, a Weekend Readers program for children was passed and will began in the fall at the brand new Florence County Library. For future and current projects, a Strategic Planning Process was begun. The second year of Community Grants was gifted, Leadership In Action Awards scholarships continued, and DITTO resale shop thrived. As the high gear year rolled to a close, ScienceSouth On Wheels rolled up, cementing the first phase for the largest funded project in league history.