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Proposing Passion Projects for the Greater Good: How an Idea becomes a Community Project

Each year, Active and Provisional members give 45,000 volunteer hours to the Metropolitan New Orleans community. From sorting food at Second Harvest Food Bank to teaching business skills at Lemonade Day University, each of these projects had the same start with JLNO. The Project Selection Committee does the hard work of finding projects that align with our mission. Here’s a peek into that process:
 

Attend an information session

To formally apply to be a Junior League project, a community partner is encouraged to attend one of the information sessions for nonprofit partnerships that generally occur in the fall. At this session the potential partners will learn about the League’s mission, what the League looks for in a project, how the League would like our members to be involved and to what extent and how the League can assist with development and implementation of the project as part of our participation.
 

Submit a Concept Paper

If the partner feels that their project aligns with the criteria learned at the information session, they can submit a concept paper describing their project idea and how the League can become involved.
 

JLNO invites partners to submit a Full Application

•The Project Selection Committee reviews concept papers and investigates further projects that align with our mission, allow for extensive League member involvement and have quantifiable impact. After the screening process, JLNO invites the partners to submit a full application to become a community project partner.
 

•The full application is an expansion of the concept paper and details background information on the parent organization of the partner, a narrative about the project - what it is and how it is structured,  timelines, volunteer hours, associated costs and who pays for them - in detail, along with detailed organizational finance information, audience served, evaluation process, etc. As much detail as possible is always encouraged.

Project Selection Committee reviews applications

•The Project Selection Committee reviews and thoroughly vets the completed applications prior to a presentation to the full Project and Development Council for a Council vote.
 

PSC presents to the Project & Development Council for a vote

•The Committee presents all of the applications and makes recommendations as to the ones that JLNO should fund. 

•A Council vote is taken and recorded approving or denying new projects.
 

P&D Council Director presents to the Executive Board for Approval

•The Council Director then presents this recommendation to the Executive Board for approval. Often the Executive Board will discuss the potential project and request additional information from the Project Selection Committee before a final vote.
 

•Once the Project Selection Committee provides all information to the Executive Board, they vote on the potential projects.
 

Full membership vote on new projects at a General Membership Meeting

•If approved, the project is then submitted to the full membership for a vote at a General Membership Meeting.
 

•If approved by the membership, the project becomes part of the following League year project/placement offerings and is added to the placement brochure and roster of League activities.

 

The calendar for these steps changes from year to year. For example, this year the P&D Council was presented with projects in January and gave a recommendation to the Board of Directors. The projects received Board approval at the February board meeting and new projects were voted in by the Membership at the February General Membership Meeting.

Occasionally, projects organically come to the League from members or other partners. For example, Lemonade Day University sprang from the local Lemonade Day group asking for League assistance to distribute the Lemonade Day Backpacks, which we did as a Community Shift opportunity. League leaders saw the potential for greater involvement and Lemonade Day University was the result. Sometimes groups apply to the League for Community Assistance Funds (CAF grants) and are better suited as potential projects. The opposite can happen, too - sometimes groups apply to be project partners but are better suited as grant monies recipients.

JLNO is always looking for new passion projects to develop into community projects. If you have an idea, look out for the next information sessions in the fall. Visit JLNO.org/community to see our current community projects.

 

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