Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. today announced
that Mary Shaw Branton, a Sustaining member of the Junior League of
Kansas City, MO, has been awarded the 2011 Mary Harriman Community
Leadership Award for a lifetime of achievement, both within her League
as well as within the broader Kansas City community.
The Mary Harriman Award is given to Junior League members whose
leadership exemplifies the 110-year-old organization's mission, vision
and values. Past winners include former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day
O'Connor; Martha Rivers Ingram chairman of the Vanderbilt University
Board of Trustees and noted philanthropist and patron of the arts; Karen
Cullen Luke, lifelong civic leader in Oklahoma City and vice chair of
the committee that built The Oklahoma National Memorial & Museum; and
last year's winner, former Minnesota state senator and pioneer in
educational television programming for kids, Emily Anne Staples Tuttle.
Delly Beekman, AJLI President, said, "The Mary Harriman Community
Leadership Award is the most prestigious honor we bestow upon an
individual League member. Mary Shaw Branton, better known in Kansas City
as 'Shawsie,' richly deserves this award for her tireless work over
decades as a catalyst for cange and civic improvements in her League
and community. She has championed ideas that were progressive and ahead
of their time. She has inspired countless volunteers to rise to action,
and influenced many to make lifetime careers of community service. And
she has consistently brought together diverse groups of people and built
consensus in order to effect change and transform Kansas City."
At 90, Ms. Branton is still an active volunteer and community leader, a
legacy that stretches back decades. In the 1940s, she founded the first
nursery school for children with disabilities in the area, now known as
Children's TLC. In the 1950s, she pioneered integration at the school,
in advance of the landmark desegregation case Brown v. Board of
Education and before the Kansas City school district itself
desegregated. In the 1970s, while sitting on the Board of Planned
Parenthood, she helped to advocate for birth control. Today, she is
co-chair of the Board of Vision Research Center and sits on advisory
committees for Children's TLC and the Kaufman Center for the Performing
The award was made at AJLI's 89th annual convention in
Philadelphia on May 13 as delegates from 292 individual Junior Leagues
from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the UK came together to celebrate the
organization's diversity, renewal and community impact.
About the Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award
In 1901, a 19-year-old debutante with a social conscience rallied 80 of
her peers to improve the squalid living conditions of immigrants on New
York City's Lower East Side, forming the first Junior League.
Eighty-nine years later, in 1990, the AJLI Board of Directors created
the Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award as a way of recognizing an
individual Junior League member whose volunteer efforts embody Mary
Harriman's pioneering spirit, her sense of social responsibility, and
her ability to motivate others to share their talents through effective
volunteer action. It serves as a modern-day link to our rich heritage -
and to the tradition Mary began.
About The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.
Founded in 1901 by New Yorker and social activism pioneer, Mary
Harriman, the Junior Leagues are charitable nonprofit organizations of
women, developed as civic leaders, creating demonstrable community
Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) is
comprised of more than 155,000 women in 292 Junior Leagues throughout
Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. Together, they
constitute one of the largest, most effective volunteer
organizations in the world.
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