Maybe the Junior League should reexamine its policy excluding Jews

231 East Putnam Avenue

Junior League Headquarters, 231 E. Putnam Avenue

Steve and Alexandra Cohen have donated $1.5 million to Neighbor-to-Neighbor. If the ladies of the JLG make nice, here’s a couple who could buy them a pool in Byram.

Or, if that’s too much, maybe the girls can just donate their clubhouse to the charity – it’s right across the street.

UPDATE: How about giving the nod at least to Presbyterians, who have just donated $100,000 to the Neighbor-to Neighbor building fund.



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70 responses to “Maybe the Junior League should reexamine its policy excluding Jews

  1. xyzzy

    Just a heads up, Alex is catholic.

  2. Cos Cobber

    Isn’t this Cohen’s attempt to move in on Goodwill Industries thrift empire? There is big money in charity and fighting the war on poverty.

  3. Anonymous

    The JL famously rejected the Kennedy women (read: Catholics)–which is why I will never join, on principle.

  4. Anonymous

    Who knew, apparently the press has been watching the Junior League since 1928! Full article in attached WSJ link.

    “As aficionados of social history know, it was Mary Harriman, the 19-year-old daughter of railroad magnate E.H. Harriman, who, in 1901, founded the Junior League in New York. The idea was that young ladies of a certain background would be trained as volunteers and then go on to become more senior members of the community of good works, ultimately spreading those works to the rest of the country. Think “thousand points of light” before George H.W. Bush — whose wife, Barbara, belonged to the Junior League — uttered that immortal phrase.

    From the start, the League, despite its good intentions, had an image problem. A 1928 article in Time characterized members as “allied by social security and an urge, sometimes vague, toward charity.”

    • Anonymous

      On tax status:

      “The League changed its policies in 1978, when a “Reaching Out Statement” was adopted by the Association of Junior Leagues of America, since the 1990s known as the Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. Anecdotal evidence suggests that federal regulations (governing whether organizations with restricted membership could pass muster as nonprofits) may have been a factor. But Sandi Kemmish, president of the association, says that a more open membership was simply what members wanted. Though it was a bitter pill for some chapters, the exclusivity, if not the image of exclusivity, was soon shed. Over the years, the League has “struggled” with this image, and the Times has noted the phenomenon again and again: “The Junior League Takes Off the White Gloves” (1983), “The Gloves Are Off, Sleeves Rolled Up” (1994), “White Gloves Are Not Required” (1998).”

    • Maitre d'Oyer et Terminer

      41’s inspiration for the Thousand Points of Light may have originated from his time as a young naval pilot when first encountering AAA fire.

  5. AJ

    Yeah but, do you get a free, members only, secret decoder, pinky ring?

  6. Anonymous

    The Junior League throws ITSELF a lavish party with ice sculptures, a live band, full course meal— as Kids in Crisis, one of their so-called good causes is hanging by a thread—quite distasteful ladies. Or, couldn’t you have taken it down a notch—and given the rest to the Kids?

    • An earlier commenter quotes Time Magazine’s article of 1928 which, in describing the League, said its ladies were “allied by social security and an urge, sometimes vague, toward charity.” In these circles, change comes slowly.

  7. AJ

    Paleeze, Lovey will never give in.

  8. TrackmanPro

    This JL stuff is bloggers gold huh CF!?

    • Exactly. I try to tailor my post subjects to comment count, and, next to public schools, this one seems a hot button. Probably because it encompasses so many issues: wealth, taxes, snobbery, new vs. old money (and residents), and just good ol’ fun.

  9. weakleyhollow

    Puleeze! We need to still be excluded from SOMETHING.

  10. Anonymous

    Copies from the other thread.

    FYI, not all volunteer. If you check the tax return there are payroll expenses, along with $47k in conferences and another $20k in training. So total board and member education is $67k. This appears excessive and hints at self serving. With a $363 thousand expense budget, and looking at other line item expenses, it is obvious that relatively few dollars make it to outreach, such as kids in crisis. I suspect that you are involved with the organization, and that can be a good thing. I also suspect that you have relatively no insight to the actual expenses of the organization, and could be naïve to what is actually going on, good or bad, Have you looked at the 990 yourself? Has anyone explained to you what it means and how interpret?
    Recommendation to you. Get involved, shake some trees, help this organization reach its potential.

    I am sorry if you call this bashing. I view it as an unbiased view of the facts as presented in the 990.

    Click to access JLG-2013-990990TCT-990.pdf

    And yes, the JLG, analysis has some legs. They would have been better off quietly doing their thing, rather than being a major catalyst for the pool. How could they not imagine that they would not be under a microscope t

    • Anonymous

      While you are quoting from the tax return (2014 IRS Form 990), I think you are very seriously misinterpreting it. The backbone of the JL is the 50,000+ volunteer hours its members provide toward projects benefiting the Greenwich community. To quote numbers without this perspective is quite misleading. A while back, the CPA profession came within inches of requiring the estimated value of volunteer services to actually be shown on the financial statements, both as a contribution and as an employee expense equivalent. The difficulty was creating objective valuation measures across the broad spectrum of nonprofits. But let’s use a low $10/hr. value, which would be $500k. Even without that, if you look at P. 10 of the return (P. 12 of the PDF) $325K of the $364K of expenses are directly allocated to supporting the JL’s volunteer programs and and other charitable activities. (CPA audited numbers).

      People can disagree about the benefit to the Town of individual projects, or the need for a building and other infrastructure to support them. But the IRS filing shows that JL is clearly being run for its nonprofit purpose.

      • Walt

        How many of the volunteer hours went to organizing, promoting, coordinating and publicizing the “Enchanted Forrest”. The vast majority, I would guess. The “enchanted Forrest” is a self serving party, serving no purpose except to tell the members how wonderful they are. And the receipts are not donated to charitable causes, they pay for JLG clubhouse costs. It’s called a “daisy chain”.

        • Anonymous

          JL is used for good works. When we want to waste time, the country clubs are far more suitable and comfortable than the JL clubhouse.

  11. HeWhoPaysThePiper

    Largest contributors are Finn Family foundation 10k and TD Bank 5k (Page 20 below).
    I would love to hear what they have to say about all this, and do they plan to continue donating money?

    Click to access JLG-2013-990990TCT-990.pdf

  12. Guest

    Is the headline of this article a joke?

    JL has not excluded Jews for years and years. I should know, as a member of NYJL, which has members of all religions and races. Anyone who moved to Greenwich could transfer automatically to the Greenwich JL.

    That any JL excludes Jews is simply not true anymore today and has not been true for a long time.

    Years ago, one had to be a WASP and with the right pedigree to join the NYJL. That entry policy went by the wayside a long time ago in all of the JLs.

    JL members volunteer their time, but are not asked to contribute their money, except as a reimbursement of the JL’s operating expenses. The volunteer work of the League is in the form of sweat equity, i.e. offering members’ labor, and not members’ financial support, to other charities and to governmental entities. I was never asked, as a JL member, to contribute money to any outside organization, because that is not the JL’s mission.

    The NYJL Debutante Ball Committee has invited some Jewish men to escort their debutantes for years – not clear how many of these invitations go out each year or if they still do this today.

    Jew here and long time NYJL member. Really an affront to read that the JL discriminates on the basis of religion, because that is absolutely not true.

    • Did you really just say this? “The NYJL Debutante Ball Committee has invited some Jewish men to escort their debutantes for years.”
      And by “their”, do you mean JL members’ precious daughters, or the dates of the Jewish men?
      And if a Jew is allowed to escort a debutante, must she be a gentile?

      Regardless, I’m delighted to learn that the Junior League has changed.

      • AusJayus

        What is the point of having a club if you can not exclude people? Once they started letting anyone in they became irrelevant. It is hard to remain exclusive when the group you are trying to keep out has all the dough.

      • Walt

        Dude –

        Dude, Dude, Dude. You are in what is called, in literary circles, a “target rich environment”. So let’s play fair, shall we? No need to embellish the facts. The JL has stopped discriminating against Catholics, Blacks and Jews for a while now. They state so publicly in their Form 990:


        So I am quite confident a few of these tokens were granted the “honor” of joining. And the only thing they still KNOWINGLY acknowledge to discriminate against is sex. Against men. Of any color and religion.

        Does this include the Bruce/Caitlyns? I don’t know, but that’s a good question. And how do they define what “is” a woman? Possession of a penis? I know many “men” allegedly possessing a penis who are not real men. {Skipping the low hanging Dude joke, for now. Ed.} And if they possess said penis, but self-identify as a women, are they not IN FACT women, who just happen to possess said penis? PENIS PENIS PENIS!! IBID!! IPSO FACTO!!

        Are these not the same penis lacking women who waged a WAR on PRIVATE golf clubs to do away with the Men’s grill? Where penis possessing, self-identifying males could relax, tell a few off color jokes, and get away from it all? THAT IS NOT ALLOWED, so why is BLATANT DISCRIMINATION? The JLG has a penis problem!!

        Anyhows, all of this discussion has made me see the JLG in a new light. I would like to join, and help them deal with there penis discrimination. Yes, I am in possession of said penis, and self-identify as a male, on most days, but I am in touch with my feminine side. I can cry at the drop of a hat, be REALLY bitchy when I don’t feel good, love to chit chat, and can hang with the best of them at the day spa. I think I could contribute, and really fit in. But I WILL NOT WEAR PEARLS OR DIE MY HAIR BLUE!! I need to keep some modicum of self respect.

        But I can run some classes!! I have already started work on my first discussion topic “Cuddling..Why it’s Overrated”. Followed by “Orgasms – Why Your Having One is Overrated”. This will help EVERYONE!!

        So how do I join? Do I need a sponsor? GG perhaps? Who I apologize to in advance. I just couldn’t help myself. It was too easy. I am a weak little man.

        Your Pal,

        • I believe you bringing your penis into their clubhouse would be termed an act of micro-aggression.

          (And that’s not grabbing the low-hanging fruit, it’s reaching into the trees for the high fruit)

        • Greenwich Gal

          Yes, Walt, you do owe me an apology for pooping all over the JLG. Yes, it used to be the organization you could make fun of – but it is SO NOT THAT anymore. Truly.
          I’ll sponsor you for membership. Sure. We’ll break the gender rule together. But first I have to meet you. Tea at the club? Make sure you dress nicely….no jeans.

      • Guest

        Men invited by the Committee were assigned to dance with all of the debutantes, as the evening plays out, as I understand it. They have more men than women at the ball. The Committee has not had a “no Jews” policy for many years.

        Not clear how many Jewish women actually participated in the debutante ball. Not of interest to most.

        However, the Committee invited select Jewish men who they knew from the private schools in the City. These were men who were likely to be very successful in life, and that characteristic was much more important than religion. Select young men with good academics and good looks, like Ivanka Trump’s hubby, and some family money, but with not nearly as much money as he has, seem to be a good catch for debutante who is not Jewish these days, at least for some moms.

    • Anonymous

      Glad to hear that. I don’t advocate for the left wing extremist approach proposed on college campuses such as Yale and Princeton that you continue to pay for transgressions of the past, including changing your name and sending everyone to diversity training..

    • dogwalker

      Even I got invited to join recently. Their standards have REALLY gone downhill!

  13. Anonymous

    why, exactly, is it called a “junior” league?

    is there a “senior” league?

    if not, walt should start one immediately.

    • 60ft6inches

      It’s like the minors in baseball…
      When a guy says…”yeah, I played pro”
      The follow up question ofcourse is “REALLY!! For who??”
      Uh, oh. 😔”The Bluefish”😔

  14. Anonymous

    Just noticed the sold price for 647 river road.
    A home heavily commented on here.
    Original ask 3.5
    Sold sept.15

    • Cos Cobber

      Yes – stunning sale – I had it pegged as upper 2s because of its extreme location. Anyways – now let see what happens with the remaining too.

  15. AJ

    Caught on film: Gaia caught in the act of breathing. You have now been politically corrected: Gaia lives!

    • Walt

      Are these single Jewish women, by any chance? If so I think this would be worthwhile to attend. How do you stop a Jewish woman from having sex? MARRY HER!! When does your Waspy Wasp wife stop having sex with you? WHEN SHE TAKES UP TENNIS!! When do you stop having sex with a red head? WHEN SHE TELLS YOU TOO!

  16. Patrishka

    There are not many Jewish people from Puerto Rico. But I’m imagining that neither being Puerto Rican nor Catholic makes one a shoe-in for membership. #stamfordissouncomplicated

  17. Anonymous

    If Walt was as rich as the Donald, he would be politically correct enough to challenge Hillary in the Dem’s primary.

  18. Guest

    When I joined, women were joining the NYJL to meet other like-minded women. The idea was to form relationships in a city where it is hard to meet people. The JL activities foster building relationships. Most of the women were young, but not all of them.

    I think what most JL members have in common is wanting to volunteer and wanting to be associated with a group of women who are strivers, not necessarily academically, but in forging social relationships. If you are looking to meet people who can make your life better and you have the time (it is a big time commitment in volunteer hours), the JL is a great organization to join.

    No, I never met anybody who acted in a discriminatory fashion at the NYJL

    • CatoRenasci

      a group of women who are strivers, not necessarily academically, but in forging social relationships.

      Young things in fashionable clothes with their shoulders to the wheel, nose to the grindstone, and both eyes on the main chance. They probably read The New Yorker and spend more on each party gown than the benefit they’re attending raises. Nothing like a good cause as an excuse for a party!

  19. LAK

    Has the JL ever spent time visiting a nursing home, school for the disabled, veterans hospital, DCF, Eagle Hill School, MADD, DVCC, Hospice???? Have you sat down with these people & find out what their needs are??

    Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday.

    • Guest

      The examples you list are representative of the type of volunteerism that takes place at the NYJL.

      Once you are a member, you sign up for a school semester- fall or spring- of 16 weeks, and you need to show every week for a least 12 of those weeks-three of every four weeks – or you are out. Each session is a few hours. You do the thing you have chosen for all of those weeks. One example is sitting with patients in a particular mental hospital.

      Social events, and cleaning and planting various parks and squares in New York City are separate.

      Don’t know what the JL does in Greenwich.

  20. Walt

    Dude –

    ENOUGH!! I AM DONE WITH THIS TOPIC!! We have beaten it like a seal pup. But I would like to add one more thing. Perhaps my penultimate comment. PERHAPS NOT!! This is a White Shark feeding frenzy. Maybe it can’t be controlled?

    And I am going to be serious now. No really. “Political Correctness” makes it wrong to state the obvious. To castigate obvious untruths and injustices. The whole “progressive” liberal dogma COLLAPSES when faced with logical thought, and honest questions.

    So challenges and legitimate questions MUST BE STOPPED!! It must be shut off. The JLG doesn’t value honest questions. They can’t withstand legitimate questions as to the purpose of their cause. It cannot be tolerated! It’s not about charity, and doing good, its publicity, to let everyone know how wonderful they are. So if you question that, they term it “hate speech”, aggression, and better yet, “they don’t need to answer to anyone else”. PRICELESS I SAY!!

    So they define a lack of self-awareness, and promote all that is bad. They think all dissenting speech is hate, all dissenting speech is bad, so it must be stomped out. THAT is what the JLG believes. REAL AMERICAN VALUES!! It’s sickening actually. And their blindness to it is STUNNING!! And frightening, actually.

    So call me shallow minded. Naive even. But that is what I believe. They are BLIND to the hypocrisy of their mission, the shallowness of their cause, and the insincerity of their message.

    Personally, I think it is due to penis envy. I mean really!! Who DOESN’T WANT A PENIS? THEY ARE GREAT TO PLAY WITH!! FREE TOYS!! But these are house fraus, forced to stay at home, in their multi-million dollar McMasions, that they have forced their husbands to buy, and to hire them maids, and nannies and chefs, while they go to the spa, and deal with the injustices they face. That is a really shitty life. Poor little bastards.

    THIS CANNOT STAND!! So they should be above comment, above criticism, and allowed to discriminate as they see fit. Behind an invisible cloaked wall. Transparency is for “those people”. BECAUSE THEY ARE SO WONDERFUL!! JUST LOOK AT THE “ENCHANTED FORREST” pictures!! What more proof do you need? IT IS IN THE PAPERS!! So tell me where I am wrong?

    So can we change topics now? This really is too easy.
    Your Pal,

    • Anonymous

      Nobody seemed to care about the JL until they did something gutsy and got involved with planning for a pool that will likely be used by those who can least afford Walt’s country club.

      • What’s gutsy about spending other people’s money? Politicians do that every day – in fact, that’s all they do – and nobody calls them anything but spineless lickspittles.

        Not that I’d use that term to describe the JL, of course, but really: “gutsy”?

      • Anonymous

        gutsy….really? Bullying, coercing, ramming….those are the words that seem to come to mind with the Junior League using for the majority of the funding OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY. When you cover 80% of the capital and ongoing operating costs—now that is bold and gutsy.

  21. Anonymous works

    Won’t disparage the institution but, as point of information, after being in town for almost thirty years, it is an interesting observation that some women volunteer, whether at schools or other organizations, primarily because they enjoy and believe they excel at the party planning aspects of fund raising. There are many talented women in Greenwich, there are many successful events, but there is the occasional example where the cost of putting on an event has become excessive and the profits take a hit. Volunteer organizations can’t prescreen for the probability for extravagant expentidure, but, once discovered, these people are typically relegated to smaller roles.
    But for every well intended but probably not well suited for management volunteer in town, there are dozens of amazing leaders, who keep the many organizations here funded and financially healthy.

  22. LAK

    I always see pictures of the JL, Greenwich Hospital, United Way in Greenwich Magazine…yes lots of real estate too. I’m not a subscriber, but the Dr’s office is.