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Assistance League® of Los Angeles’ History

Assistance League® of Los Angeles 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.


Founder Anne Banning

The League’s rich history was inspired by a longing to help those in desperate need and has blossomed into the premier organization for serving under-served youth. In the middle of the 1890s, founder, Anne Banning, co-founder, Ada Edwards Laughlin, and the most prominent society women in Los Angeles banded together to form a charitable group. The ladies responded to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire by organizing a relief unit and provided food and clothing for local families severely impacted by World War I. This informal group gained local acclaim with multiple mentions in newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times article “Society Women Work for a Good Cause.”


Ada Edwards Laughlin



Motivated by their exceptional ability to mobilize in critical times, Anne Banning, Ada Edwards Laughlin, and a group of 11 other friends formalized their desire “to be of assistance to everyone who needs it” by establishing “Assistance League of Southern California” in 1919, which later changed to “Assistance League® of Los Angeles” in 2012. Other organizations in adjoining communities wished to follow this philanthropic philosophy. Using the blueprint of the founding chapter, Banning and Laughlin organized National Assistance League® to promote the growth of effective volunteerism. Today, 120 chapters across America carry out the vision and ideals of the League. Banning continued as President of Founding Chapter and National Assistance League through 1948.

Currently, member operated auxiliaries advance the League’s service oriented mission. Eight auxiliaries support the League’s six programs.

Through the gift of service to their communities, Assistance League® of Los Angeles continues to fulfill Anne Banning’s philosophy of service. Today, the League is a thriving national nonprofit organization that puts caring and commitment into action.


Assistance League® of Los Angeles throughout the ages