HISTORY OF ASSISTANCE LEAGUE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION
Assistance League was the first nonprofit, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organization founded in the west to recognize the potential of volunteers in helping those less fortunate to a better, more meaningful life.
Anne Banning, founder and Ada Edwards Laughlin, co founder were members of a small group of prominent Los Angeles ladies who did local charitable work beginning in the mid 1890’s calling it Assistance League. In April 1906, the women of Assistance League responded to the San Francisco earthquake and fire by collecting money and sewing clothes that were sent to San Francisco.
As America entered the war in Europe, Anne Banning in 1917 organized the Los Angeles Red Cross unit and served as its Director. Its fundraising unit was the Red Cross Thrift Shop which became the model for Red Cross shops across the country using Anne Bannning’s printed guidelines.
As needs in adjoining communities were recognized, other organizations wished to follow this philanthropic philosophy. Anne Banning and Ada Laughlin organized National Assistance League® in 1935 to promote the growth of effective volunteerism through leadership training and education.
Today Assistance League has more than 22,000 members and 120 chapters coast to coast and Hawaii that have returned more than $50 million to local communities.