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Mary Shaw Branton Receives the Mary Harriman Award from The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. for Community Leadership in Kansas City, MO
[May 23, 2011]

Mary Shaw Branton Receives the Mary Harriman Award from The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. for Community Leadership in Kansas City, MO

NEW YORK --(Business Wire)--

The 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 (News - Alert) 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 Arts.

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 impact.

Today, The 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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