National History

MISSION: Jack and Jill of America, Inc. is a membership organization of mothers with children ages 2-19, dedicated to nurturing future African-American leaders by strengthening children through leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving and civic duty.

The late Marion Stubbs Thomas founded Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated on January 24, 1938 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Twenty mothers came together to discuss creating an organization to provide social, cultural and educational opportunities for youth between the ages of two and nineteen. In 1946, ten chapters were involved in the national restructuring process. Constitution and bylaws were drawn up and the organization was incorporated under the laws of the state of Delaware.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Jack and Jill of America raised large sums of money for various charities involving children. Initially, Jack and Jill of America national and its local chapters primarily supported health issues affecting children. Jack and Jill gave $85,000 to the Rheumatic Fever Foundation to find a cure for Infantile Paralysis, what has since been re-named Poliomelitis; and underwrote “A Parent’s Guide: When a Child is Mentally Ill” for the National Association of Mental Health.

However, as significant as the Jack and Jill of America contributions had been, none of their officers were afforded representation on the boards of these recipient foundations. Jack and Jill had no input into the policy-making of the foundations, and rarely received itemized accounts of the expenditure of its donations.

By the 1960s, with young African Americans protesting with sit-ins and boycotts, and with a flickering light seen dimly at the end of the tunnel, Jack and Jill of America paused to examine its policies and their implementation. So evolved the idea of its own charitable foundation–one which would come to grips with and be relevant to the contemporary problems facing our children today. And further, the foundation would be an organization that would accept our input, both financially and service-wise, while allowing us to utilize the wealth of expertise and knowledge
throughout Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

In 1968, Jack and Jill of America, Inc. became the first among African-American organizations to create a philanthropic arm dedicated to the betterment of children, especially African-American children.

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