Our Story

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A century of service

The history of Assistance League® of Los Angeles mirrors that of the nation. Taking their cue from major events and social movements, resourceful League members created programs to address the ever-changing needs of the Los Angeles community. They provided basic needs services, art and cultural enrichment programs, and support for minority groups. More than a century after its humble beginnings, the Los Angeles Chapter continues to improve the community through its dedicated members. As League founder Anne Banning said: “All for service and service for all.”

Our history

Galvanized by a sense of duty after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and WWI, Anne Banning and her best friend Ada Laughlin founded the Assistance League in 1919. Initial programs were characterized by a desire to support children and families with basic resources, and provide relief to low-income individuals, particularly those affected by WWI. As the century continued the League grew alongside the budding film industry, both gaining recognition and prominence. Early Hollywood stars and executives were a ubiquitous feature in League programs often providing support and fundraising for the growing organization.

1919 1950

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1919 Assistance League founded by Anne Banning and her best friend Ada Laughlin
1924 The Day Nursery was founded - one of the League's first initiatives, this program continues to this day as our nationally accredited Preschool
1929 Nine O'Clock Players was founded. It is currently the longest running children's theatre in Los Angeles
1937 The College Alumnae Auxiliary was established by collegiate students interested in promoting the League
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1950 1980

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The second half the century saw the establishment of a host of new services and auxiliaries, many of which would become the League’s core programs. The services were community focused, specialized, and creative. There was a strong focus on safety and supporting senior citizens. The nationwide establishment of the Assisteens signaled the League’s continuing dedication to women’s leadership.

1950 Hilltoppers was founded as a volunteer center to support disadvantaged members of society
1955 Anne Banning Auxiliary was founded to support the day nursery
1966 Operation School Bell began
1975 Court Referred Volunteer Center was established
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1980 2000

As the Los Angeles community changed, so did the League. Reflecting changing societal needs, the League established a program to aid Asian Americans and expanded its existing programs for counseling, parent education, and the care of children of working parents. Hollywood executives, entertainers, and dignitaries continued to play a large part in the league’s fundraising efforts and public relations.

1980 In the 1980s the League had more than 1,500 volunteers
1990 Hilltoppers established the Foster Children’s Resource Center
1990 The League returned to its original mission of providing services for children in need
1998 Operation School Bell on Wheels was created
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2000 Present

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New century, new name! The national economic downturn of 2008 led to an evaluation and streamlining of League programs and services. The League returned to its original mission and focus of providing services for underserved children. In the second century of service, Assistance League of Southern California became Assistance League of Los Angeles! Today the League has five core programs: Foster Children’s Resource Center, Operation School Bell, Preschool Learning Center, Theatre for Children, and the Bright Future Scholarship Program. These programs are supported by a multi-pronged system of auxiliaries and the League’s service enterprise (“CRVC”), to fulfill one mission: improving the lives of the most vulnerable children in the community.

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2009 Prom Day was created by Anne Banning Auxiliary
2017 The Young Professionals Group (“YPG”) was founded
2021 The League's new, permanent Chapter House opened in the heart of Hollywood