Learn to Lead

October 2021 View more

When Mina Flannery talks about the National Charity League, her enthusiasm for the nonprofit shines through. She has been active in the organization for the last 10 years; ever since its inception in the Naperville area. During that time Flannery and her two daughters have bonded over the shared philanthropic, social, and leadership experiences the nonprofit provides.

The National Charity League (nationalcharityleague.org) is a philanthropic organization providing volunteer and leadership opportunities for mothers and their daughters in grades 7 to 12. Launched in 1925, the organization was originally founded in Los Angeles as a women’s group supporting the American Red Cross. Today, the nonprofit has 286 chapters in 31 states and contributes nearly three million volunteer hours annually to over 6,000 charities in the United States. Its mission is to foster the mother-daughter relationship through an ongoing commitment to philanthropy, culture, and leadership.

Upon joining the group, both moms and daughters commit to serving in various chapter roles and a minimum number of volunteer hours. The Naperville chapter offers weekly opportunities to serve at a variety of area nonprofits ranging from Meals on Wheels and DuPage PADS to Little Friends and the Morton Arboretum. The girls are also encouraged to take on leadership roles within their grade level and serve on different committees. The chapter hosts social events such as a fall tea, spring recognition luncheon, and a senior celebration, and offers opportunities to learn about different cultures. As past president and current vice president of membership for the Naperville NCL chapter, Flannery, whose youngest daughter is a high school senior, is serving in her last active year in the organization. “It’s such a great organization. I have loved it with both of my daughters,” she says. “It’s just such a great thing to do together and share such meaningful experiences. It enabled us to spend really good quality time together and have great conversations. It’s been very meaningful for us.” 

Currently, the Naperville chapter has nearly 150 members and accepts only 25 girls per grade as outlined in the national bylaws. “Our national organization wants the girls to commit to as many years as possible in order to get the most out of the experience,” Flannery explains. “Because of that, we primarily focus on recruiting girls entering seventh and eighth grades. However, we can accept girls all the way to those [who are going into their sophomore year] if there are openings,” she states. While some grades have openings, Flannery sees no reason why Naperville couldn’t support several chapters if enough girls are interested.

Membership enrollment begins in October and runs until January 15. Interested moms and daughters are welcome to attend a prospective member meeting and learn more by emailing membershipgreaternaperville@nclonline.org. 

Photos courtesy Mina Flannery