Denise Bussa, sustainer, JLD President 1996-97
Historically, there were some notable events in the 1990s, including the end of the cold war as the USSR dissolved, the LA riots resulting in over 60 deaths, the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people, and the trial of OJ Simpson. Simpson was acquitted of two charges of first-degree murder in the 1994 slayings of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman. The Columbine shooting also took place at the end of the decade, sparking international debate on gun control and bullying.
George HW Bush started the decade as president and Bill Clinton finished out the decade. Clinton signed the “Don’t ask, don’t tell’ law that prohibited openly gay or bisexual people from serving in the military. Towards the ends of the decade, President Clinton was accused of having a sexual relationship with then 22-year-old Monica Lewinsky, leading to his impeachment a year later from the US House of Representatives. Clinton was acquitted in a 21-day trial of the Senate.
Overall, the 1990s was a time of relative peace and prosperity. A new house cost an average of $123,000 and a new car was $16,000. JK Rowling released the first Harry Potter book. Most significantly, however, was the expansion of technology. The internet was brought into people’s homes via dial up service and a Netscape browser. This was a huge advantage for individuals, businesses and entertainment. Microsoft and Apple were household names. Towards the end of the decade, the United States spent $100 billion to prepare for Y2K, the year 2000.
The Jr. League of Duluth created a website and purchased a then state-of-the art computer for the office in the Depot. In 1991-92 the JLD Endowment Fund was created from a donation of $70,000 from the estate of Margaret Mitchell. Throughout the decade the endowment grew to over $100,000. Membership voted to concentrate on two major fundraisers that brought in the bulk of funds used to distribute in the community. These were Festival of Trees (including toffee sales) and Plant Sale, cutting down membership labor from previous years involving more fundraisers. JLD was financially strong with this change. The Association of Jr. Leagues International was also strong with 296 leagues in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Great Britain.
The Jr. League of Duluth created a few big projects in the 1990’s. JLD led “Building First Witness” from the Fall of 1992 to June 1994. This facility stands today and functions as a safe place for children who have been abused to tell their “story” in a safe, nonthreatening environment. Later in the decade, JLD committed $20,000 to expand the Boys and Girls Club into the Woodland neighborhood. “Backpacks for Kids” was also initiated. Other smaller projects, just as notable, were completed in the 1990s, including many many “Done-In-A-Day” projects that benefitted local nonprofit organizations. In addition, JLD sponsored Mary Pipher to speak in Duluth regarding her book, “Reviving Ophelia”.
The Jr. League of Duluth celebrated its’ 75th Anniversary with a visit from the AJLI president, Nancy Evans and a gala. The leadership of JLD League studied the League’s structure and suggested changes that are still in place today. The by-laws were changed to get rid of the upper age limit for active members. Strategic Planning was implemented to look at League values and priorities and in 1996-97, JLD was restructured into the council system that exists today. The membership of the Jr. League of Duluth was extremely busy during this decade and a new volunteer award was established; The “Worker Bee’ award given to members of a committee/group who demonstrated just that – the activity of a worker bee.