Young professional philanthropists living in the city of Miami and looking to get involved in their community should look no further than the Junior Chamber International in Coconut Grove. Most commonly referred to as the Jaycees or JCI, the Coconut Grove chapter is but one of the chapters in the larger network of over 5,000 chapters all across the world, which includes such prominent members as Jacques Chirac, Ted Turner, and various former U.S. presidents like Kennedy and Clinton. The group is for young professionals between the age of 18 and 40 who are looking to grow professionally and bring about a positive change within their communities. The Coconut Grove chapter was founded in 1976 and has been most commonly known as the “Champagne Chapter” and currently includes members lke Michael Gold, Maureen Urizar, Todd Hedges and Jane Lanahan Decker.
We spoke with Tyler Morgan, Vice President of Business Development, who gave us his take on why he thinks their groups shines above the rest. The Jaycees are different than other organizations because they are not tied to any specific cause, which allows them the freedom to consistently create events for different causes. They consistently encourage all of their members to host events and they provide extensive support to members who decide to take on such a role. “For example, one year a member wanted one of the group’s causes to be that of the endangered tigers. We presented it to the rest of the members and went with it,” says Morgan. Finally, they provide training courses for their members (and non-members) in order to further develop the beneficial skills needed for daily life such as presentation and networking courses. Because it is an international group, these sessions are available all across the world.
The group hosts several large events throughout the year (including their annual Gala, which was held at Mokai in 2010) to raise money and awareness for charities and/or other causes. Their main interests aside from charities are in networking, so a large number of their events are focused on that in order for the young professionals to get exposure within their own community. The group meets twice monthly on the first and third Wednesdays of every month.
Not surprising, the group is one of the country’s top fundraisers for Relay for Life. Events that they have participated in or hosted in the past include: Super Bowl Pepsi Fan Jam, Swinging with Seniors event, Coconut Grove Bed Race, and a pub crawl to raise money for local children in need of school supplies. The group is also known for frequenting Miami’s top spots like Sra. Martinez and Lulu in the Grove. That’s haute!
To learn more about the group and how to join, please visit JCI’s website.