Boston Chapter History

The Boston Chapter was chartered in early 1946 by a group of eleven mothers who felt the goals of Jack and Jill closely paralleled those they envisioned for their own families. The first Jack and Jill chapter in New England, these women took on the challenge of creating an organization to meet their specific and unique needs.

On June 1, 1946, Anne Magbie, the first Chapter President, traveled to Philadelphia to be present at the meeting convened by first National President Dorothy Wright to organize a national structure for the organization. Since those early days, the Boston Chapter has grown in numbers and scope. The chapter has enjoyed numerous historical achievements including:

  • June 30-July 3, 1960: Hosted 14th National Convention, Statler Hilton Hotel, Meeting the Challenge as Parents
  • 1960:  Edna Roosa elected National Corresponding Secretary
  • 1972:  Hosted Eastern Regional Teen Conference, Action through Unity
  • 1991:  Hosted 17th Biennial Eastern Regional Mothers’ Conference, African American Family: Preparing for the 21st Century
  • October 1996:  Hosted 50th Anniversary Gala & Northern Cluster Workday in Boston
  • October 2001:  Hosted Northern Cluster Workday in Marlborough, Massachusetts
  • March 2003:  Hosted 53rd Eastern Regional Teen Conference, Sheraton-Boston Hotel, Youth on the Move, Making Change Happen
  • 2003: Chapter received citation from American Red Cross/Project Bread
  • 2005:  First Place Award, Eastern Regional Teen Foundation Contribution; Doris White Soares appointed National Legal Advisor
  • June 2007:  Hosted 60th Anniversary Children’s Ball at Lombardo’s in Randolph, Massachusetts 
  • December 2008: Annual Breakfast with Santa Christmas Party fundraiser began
  • October 2009:  Hosted Northern Cluster Workday in Boston
  • 2009-2010:  Associate Group formed (Past President Mona Roberts, Chair)
  • 2010-2011:  Father’s Auxiliary formed, (David Herndon, Chair)
  • January 2011:  Teens hosted first fundraising gala (Winter White-out: Party with a Purpose) to benefit international humanitarian relief organizations
  • 2011:  First Place Award, Eastern Regional Teen Display; Second Place Award, Eastern Regional Teen Chapter Activities
  • April  2012: Health and Fitness Day  – The Boston and Newton Chapters collaborated to host an event at  the Boys and Girls Club in Roxbury highlighting health concerns that are prevalent in both adults and children.
  • May 2013: Kick-Off Summer for a Cause – The Boston Chapter hosted a fundraiser/dance at the Tirrel Room in Quincy. Proceeds benefitted The Food Project and Jack and Jill of America Foundation
  • May 2014: “Oh The Places You’ll Go” Literacy Fair – The Boston Chapter hosted a literacy fair for residents of Boston’s inner city neighborhoods. Held at the Mattahunt Elementary School and Community Center, this event featured a visit by Boston’s Mayor, Martin J. Walsh, a book fair, and a variety of workshops for children and families.

Boston neighborhoods and the community at large have been the beneficiaries of local Jack and Jill support. The Boston Chapter has made significant contributions to numerous groups including the Lena Park Community Development Corporation, Roxbury Multi-Service Center, Crispus  Attucks  Children’s  Center,  William  B.  Price Cancer Unit, Aswelos House, Kieolia Jordan Lozanne Scholarship Fund, John Marshall Elementary School, 558 Women’s League Foundation, Shady Hill School’s Diversity Training Program, Boys &  Girls  Club  of  Roxbury, Darfur Relief, The Dimock Center and Brookview House, a local women’s shelter. In the early years, the chapter sponsored “Mothers Day at the Park” for young mothers in the Dorchester area. Boston Chapter mothers have given generously to charitable causes near and far: providing much-needed kitchen utensils and gadgets to women transitioning from residential facilities to new apartments; donating winter coats to a Cambridge-area homeless shelter; supporting relief efforts  for Hurricane Katrina victims;  participating in fundraising to assist the African- American Thompson quintuplets from Washington, D.C. , Aid  to Incarcerated Mothers, YMCA  Black Achievers Program and Paul Robeson Leadership Institute have also been recipients of charitable donations.   In 2007,  Breakfast with Santa was launched as the chapter-wide Christmas Party and signature fundraising event.

Our Jacks and Jills of all ages have also had vast opportunities to engage in meaningful community outreach-donating to sickle cell anemia research; sponsoring birthday parties for homeless children; pruning urban green space in Boston’s Mission Hill section;clearing brush at the Blue Hills Observatory ; painting signs for Project Bread’s annual Walk for Hunger; cheering pediatric patients at Boston Medical Center; devising a child seat-belt safety awareness project that earned a citation from the National Executive Board; staffing gift-wrapping stations to support the Massachusetts Homeless Coalition.  Teens garnered praise again in January 2011 as they held their first fundraising social event— Winter Whiteout: Party with a Purpose—and netted over $2,100, most of  which was contributed to Foundation and   two humanitarian relief organizations: Partners in Development/Jou  Nouvou and Partners in Health.

The many efforts of our mothers and children have not gone unheralded. In the fall of 2003, the century-old American Red Cross’ Project Bread cited Boston Chapter for its philanthropic record during a ceremony at which chapter the mothers and children alike shared the stage. Boston Teens took the spotlight in 2005 at the 55 Eastern Regional Teen Conference in New Jersey , earning a 1st Place trophy for the highest contribution to Jack  and Jill of America Foundation. In 2006, then-Teen President Leigh Soares was awarded the 2nd Place regional trophy for senior academic achievement at that year’s Teen Conference in New York City. We earned accolades  again at the 61st  Eastern Regional Teen Conference in National Harbor, MD (2011), where Boston Teens captured  1st Place   for best display and 2nd Place for best chapter Teen activities. The chapter program book has been cited by the National Program Director for its reflection of superb program planning.

Boston Chapter moms and children not only work hard, but boast a long history of having fun together! Age   groups have enjoyed more than six decades of memorable activities, such as annual Jack and Jill Day picnics,  Halloween costume parties, Christmas parties, Black History Month celebrations and end-of-year picnics. Monthly events have included treks along the Black Heritage Trail; marching (and quacking) in Beacon Hill’s Make Way  for Ducklings Parade on Mother’s Day; traveling to Harlem’s famed Schomberg Museum and New Bedford, Massachusetts’ historic Whaling Museum; tapping maple trees in the spring; skiing nearby slopes in winter;  learning etiquette for beginners; climbing on Boston Harbor Islands; exercising to stay fit; howling with the wolves  at a natural preserve in Ipswich, Massachusetts; rooting for the home team at the venerable Boston Garden arena, and touring historic Fenway Park.  Teens have also participated in a walking tour in Providence, Rhode Island to explore the history of slavery in New England. Partnerships with area resources have enhanced program planning for our chapter over the years.  The National Brotherhood of Black Skiers, the Museum of African American History, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment, Black Nativity, Rhode Island Historical Society, the Pine Street Inn Homeless Shelter, and countless local schools, churches and other businesses have made our events possible. Collaborating with the Newton Chapter has also been successful, including joint modules activities and parties for our Teens. And the recently established Father’s Auxiliary and  Associates Group both have provided added luster to our programs. The dads have chaperoned activities and even arranged free train travel to an out-of-state Teen activity. Associates return to support activities and to lend their considerable talents to any assigned enterprise.

The combined creativity, energy and commitment of hundreds of mothers have sustained the Boston Chapter for 70  years and have kept Jack and Jill’s torch aflame since Annie Magbie was installed as Chapter President those long  years ago.  The guiding spirits of the women listed below will surely tend that flame for many, many more years to come: