As Junior Leagues we are part of the vast network of human services organizations working to create better communities and a better world. What we do is not “discretionary.” We are not “just volunteers” and our Leagues are as well-run as many for-profit organizations. But what we, and so many other nonprofits do, is often undervalued.
Fortunately, we are part of the National Human Services Assembly, an association of many of the largest and most respected nonprofits in the United States. National Assembly is working to raise the understanding about and respect for what we contribute. Working with experts in the field, which is based on neural science, National Assembly is working to reframe how everyone, from regular citizens to policy makers, thinks about health and human services.
Framing is about using powerful language that means something to people, rather than “sector speak.” It’s about science, research and understanding. It’s about creating new narratives, not dispelling myths. As Irv Katz, the President of National Assembly writes, “The frame is not a vision or a set of aspirations; it is reality put in a way that fills gaps in understanding and connects with values that most Americans share.”
What will be happening across the sector is applicable to us, the Junior Leagues. How long have we lived with the stereotype of “gloves and pearls?” That’s our old frame. As we work to transform our own organization, we will also be talking about the reality of what we do in a way that connects with values that most Americans, Canadians, Mexicans and Brits share.
Susan E. Danish Executive Director
The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.