top of page

Jack and Jill of America, Inc. is an organization of mothers dedicated to raising the next generation of African American leaders while enhancing the lives of all children.

We work to accomplish our mission through diverse programs focused on leadership development, cultural exposure, community service, legislative advocacy and philanthropic giving 



Emily Brown Portwig, Ph.D., a pharmacist, was the impetus for the formation of the Los Angeles Chapter of Jack and Jill. It was 1948 when Emily learned of the Jack and Jill organization while visiting her good friend Emilie Pickens, the second National President, in Brooklyn, New York. Although Emily Portwig did not have any children of her own, her sister, Josephine Brown, had two children, and Emily thought that her niece, also named Emily, and nephew, Conklin, would benefit greatly from an organization like Jack and Jill.

Mrs. Marjorie Bright McPherson, a Los Angeles schoolteacher, hosted the first interest meeting with over 50 mothers in attendance. After a series of small meetings, 79 mothers met for the first chapter meeting on the tennis court at the home of Dr. Walter and Eloise T. Davis. The of officers elected were Eloise T. Davis, President; Laurene Rodgers, First Vice President; Emily Brown Portwig, Second Vice President; Marjorie McPherson, Treasurer; Sydnetta Smith, Recording Secretary; Lady George Munchus Forde, Corresponding Secretary; Dorothy Rowland, Financial Secretary; Marzella Johnson, Parliamentarian; Bettye Bratton Scott, Chaplain; Vivian Dunning, Activity Chairman; Charlene Johnson, Sunshine Chairman; Louise Arnold, Dancing Chairman; Vera Jackson, Publicity Chairman; and Ouida Williams, Membership Chairman.

At the fourth National Convention—a one-day affair at the Hotel Theresa in New York City on May 21, 1949—the Los Angeles Chapter was inducted as Jack and Jill’s twentieth chapter. Los Angeles became the first chapter on the west coast, Jack and Jill was eleven years old and there were twenty-two chapters. 

The chapter continues its commitment to all children, expands its community service, and answers the call to build legislative awareness among its members. The Los Angeles Chapter celebrated its 70th Anniversary in 2019. This was not only a milestone for the chapter, but for the Far West Region.

Chapter History


The development of the regional structure was discussed by the organization from 1948 until 1957 when the Regional Plan of the organization was adopted at the annual convention held in San Francisco, California. However, as early as 1956, each of seven regions held Teen Conferences guided by seven elected or appointed Teen Regional Directors. Beginning in 1959, annual conventions were abolished and Regional Conferences alternated with bi-annual national conventions.
There are seven regions: Central, Eastern, Far West, Mid-Atlantic, Mid-Western, South Central and Southeastern. Each region is led by a Regional Director and has a Secretary-Treasurer and Member-at-Large. The Regional structure was last amended during the convention in 1996.  
Click here to learn more about the Fabulous Far West Region

Regional History


Jack and Jill of America, Inc. was founded by Marion Stubbs Thomas in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 24, 1938 and was incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware, on August 28, 1941. From a meeting of 20 mothers in Philadelphia, the idea of bringing together children in a social and cultural relationship has spread to over 300 chapters and representing over 40,000 families throughout the nation. To learn more about our organization's history, visit the national website.

National History
bottom of page