JACK AND JILL OF AMERICA
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 2 and 19. In 1946, 10 chapters were involved in the national restructuring process. The constitution and bylaws were drawn up, and the organization was incorporated under the laws of the state of Delaware.
Today, Jack and Jill boasts more than 245 chapters nationwide, representing more than 40,000 family members. Each chapter plans annual programming activities guided under a national theme. Through service projects, Jack and Jill of America creates a medium of contact for children to stimulate their growth and development. Through lobbying, educational programming, dissemination of education materials, and the organization of community and charitable events, Jack and Jill has promoted the public awareness and interests of children, including child development, child growth, child quality of life, child care and the promotion of children’s rights.
Established in 1951
In the beginning, there were ten. Today, the Indianapolis Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. is comprised of 75 families. The local chapter of Jack and Jill had its beginnings in the home of Mrs. Mary Hawkins with several of her friends who had young children. They decided to form a small group of mothers who would periodically take their children to a planned activity, maybe once a month. This continued for several months when it occurred to one of the mothers that it would be appropriate to formalize their actions and apply for a charter, as a chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. The Indianapolis Provisional Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. held its first organized meeting at the home of acting chairman, Mrs. Mary Hawkins on April 3, 1951. At this time, a nominating committee was appointed to select a slate of officers.
Dr. Alberta Turner installed the provisional chapter at a regular chapter meeting on September 8, 1951, at the residence of Dr. & Mrs. Evans. Dr. Turner was assisted by Mrs. Miriam Fountain of Pittsburgh, who sponsored the Indianapolis Chapter. The Indianapolis Chapter was the 33rd chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and the 7th chapter of the Mid-Western Region. The first Executive Board included Mary Hawkins, President; Shirley Evans, Vice-President; R. Leah Thomas, Recording Secretary; and Flora DeFrantz, Treasurer. The charter members were Ruth Bell, Fannie Blackburn, Sarah Daniels, Shirley Evans, Mary Hawkins, Daisy Lloyd, Margaret Mackey, Wilma Sims, Osma Spurlock, and Ruby Thomas.
The Indianapolis Chapter is currently under the leadership of President Annette Suggs (2020-2023). The presidents preceding her were Deidre Lindsey (2017-2020), Andrea Neely (2015-2017); Paula Ingram-Coleman (2011-2015); Tanya Hand (2007-2011); Julie Simonton (2005-2007); Linda Hamilton (2001-2005); Anita Nowlen (1999-2001); Marchusa Huff (1995-1999 [deceased 2012]); Gail Barrett (1993-1995); Patricia Jones (1991-1993); Rose Mays (1989-1991); Jackie Goler (1987-1989); Amelia Bacon (1985-1987); Delores Bullard (1983-1985); Geneva Murphy (1981-1983); and Doris Bradford (1979-1981) *additional names are being compiled to complete our full history.
We take pride in our commitment to youth leadership and development, philanthropy, and community service. Our chapter’s strength is grounded in our flagship programs: 1) Youth Economic Summit; 2) Beautillion Militaire, and 3) Breakfast with Santa.
In 1984, under the leadership of President Delores Bullard, the Indianapolis Chapter launched Beautillion Militaire, a 16-week educational mentoring program for African-American high school juniors and seniors in our community. In 1986, the Indianapolis Chapter joined with 100 Black Men of Indianapolis to co-sponsor Beautillion Militaire. In 2022, we celebrate 38 years of making a difference in the lives of young African-American males.