Greetings Members and Guests!
On behalf of the Cincinnati Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated, Welcome!
Founded in Philadelphia in 1938, Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated is a service and leadership organization of mothers with children ages two to nineteen. With the goals of providing cultural, educational, philanthropic and social opportunities for children, we have a rich history of programming and family activities that focus on: Community Service, Civic Engagement, Cultural Enrichment, Financial Literacy, Healthy Living, Leadership Development, Legislative Advocacy, and Philanthropic Giving.
Today, Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated boasts over 200 chapters representing over 30,000 families nationwide. Each chapter plans annual programming activities guided under a national theme. Our current National Theme, “Power and Potential: Parents Empowering Youth”, supports and evokes the sentiments of our founder, Marion Stubbs Thomas “…to bestow upon our children all the opportunities possible for a normal and graceful approach to a beautiful adulthood.”
Founded in 1963, the Cincinnati Chapter continues to carry on the legacy of service and leadership in our community. We are proud of our record of service to the children of our community through partnerships with the U.S. Bank Boys and Girls Club in South Avondale and the children of the South Avondale Elementary School.
I am humbled and honored to serve as the leader of this group of over 55 “Marvelous Moms” and families, working together with the mission to serve OUR and ALL children.
I invite you to explore our website to learn more about the Cincinnati Chapter, our National Organization, and our philanthropic arm, the Jack and Jill of America Foundation, Incorporated.
Yours in Service,
Philecia C. Avery, Pharm.D.
President, Cincinnati Chapter
The Mothers of the Cincinnati Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.
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The Cincinnati Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., has a rich history of leadership development programming for African-American children, community activism and
In 1952, the year before the Cincinnati Chapter of Jack and Jill was chartered, several
future Jack and Jill members, fought to desegregate the local amusement park Coney
Island. Those individuals included future charter member Marian Spencer, who later
became a Cincinnati City Councilwoman, and Vice Mayor of Cincinnati. Says Mrs.
Spencer, "This was all part of the effort led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. out of the
south, for blacks to gain access to public facilities."
Negro children were not allowed to swim at Sunlite Pool at Coney Island, nor enjoy the
amusement park. The mothers, with the help of attorneys from the NAACP national
offices, fought to get the park open to all children.
Organizers met at the Manse Hotel on Chapel Street. The Manse Hotel was the local
Negro-owned hotel, owned by Horace Sudduth. Sudduth was the father of another Jack
and Jill Charter member Horvena Alexander. For years, Jack and Jill held its meetings,
activities and dances at the Manse.
In February 1953, Mary Evelyn LaNier and Mary Woods gathered together a group of
Cincinnati Mothers interested in working together to best improve the lives of their
children by creating a medium or a familiar conduit for educational, civic and social
development. They worked diligently to complete all the necessary charter paperwork
and a provisional chapter was formed on March 14, 1953. In December of that same
year, the Cincinnati Chapter became the 51st local chapter to be chartered into Jack and
Jill of America, Inc. The organization was founded with 33 mothers and 60 children.
Today, there are 54 active Member Mothers, and 91 children.
In the early days of the local chapter, service was a key focal point. The organization
contributed over $1,000.00 to the Polio Fund, was an active member of the NAACP,
participated in the Freedom March of the 1960's and routinely volunteered services to
the "Community Chest", now the United Way. Families enjoyed a variety of actives
including day trips to Seven Caves, a horse farm, museums, bowling, ice-skating, and
even a lamp making project under the direction of Cincinnati Gas and Electric Company.
Marian Spencer recalls hosting a Mid-Western Regional Teen Conference event at her
North Avondale home in 1957- the last year Cincinnati hosted the Regional Teen
Conference. Now age 86, Marian Spencer says "Jack and Jill was a very important
organization for the development of those teenagers. It helped them develop a sense of self, who they were, where they were going and why."
The organization continues its tradition of providing enriching cultural educational, social
and service experiences for our children, and other Tri-State children in need. The
chapter makes annual donations through the Jack and Jill Foundation, Inc., - the first
African-American foundation - to support local programs and services that benefit
mothers and children in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond.
These donations are made possible through an annual fundraiser which has traditionally
been a spring dinner-dance. Over the years, the public's consistent support of this event
has enabled the Cincinnati Chapter to provide college scholarships to deserving Tri-state
students, and support a number of organizations, including: Future Leaders, Inc., The
Arts Consortium, Burris Temple Feeding Program, Beechacres, Melrose YMCA, the
Queen City Foundation, SIMBA, the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation, God's Shelter
House and the Alice Paul House.
In recent years, an added silent auction and raffle has helped raise more than $100,000
to benefit Tri-State youth programs and services, including the Summer Arts for Youth
Program, Beat the Odds scholarships through the Children's Defense Fund, the Inner
City Tennis Project; the Tony Yates Caring for Kids Foundation, the YWCA Mamie Earl
Sells scholarship, the YWCA Battered Women's Shelter, and Boys Hope, Girls Hope. In
2006, the Cincinnati Chapter fundraiser featured a national recording artist. The result
was more than $30,000 raised from the event, earning the chapter national recognition
as members of the “Platinum Club” for those chapters with the highest level of
Beyond monetary contributions, Cincinnati Chapter parents and children are committed
to hands-on service. Each year, our Member mothers purchase new backpacks and fill
them with school supplies to help inner-city school children. The Senior Teen members
of our chapter have tutored, and continue to mentor those children each year. The
Cincinnati Mothers and Teens have each won a series of Regional Awards for Service.
A number of our members have also been recognized at the Regional level as "Distinguished Mothers," for their service to the organization, and the community.
In 1953, little did the charter members realize that 53 years later, Jack and Jill of
America, Inc., would include mothers and families in more than thirty chapters in the
Mid-Western Region, and more than two hundred chapters across the country. While
this growth in numbers is significant, the real measure of growth is in the continuing
enrichment of the lives of children and parents, and the successful efforts to make a
positive difference in our community.