In the spring of 1976, Frankye Clarke and Mary Nelson saw a need to organize a positive base of operation for children to interact culturally and socially.
As a result of their efforts, a group of ten mothers met at the East Brunswick Sheraton on a Sunday afternoon in March 1977, to discuss the possibility of organizing a chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Those in attendance were Frankye Clarke, Mary Nelson, Frances Dunston, Nancy Durant, Nancy Jackson, Lana Sims, Dorothy Tabourne, and Ava Webber. Also present were Beverley Johnson and Hilda McIntosh, former Jack and Jill members. At this meeting, the decision was made to function as an Interest Group. Nancy Jackson and Mary Nelson served as the first co-chairpersons. In subsequent years, the co-chairpersons were Frankye Clarke and Ava Webber, Nancy Jackson and Holly Slaughter, Diane Greene and Mattian Moore, Frances Davis and Beverley Johnson.
Over a period of six years, as the membership and interest grew, it became evident it was time to pursue the original idea. Frankye Clarke, Beverley Johnson, and Faye Warren, a former Jack and Jill member, along with Mary Nelson became the Steering Committee. Mary Nelson, the moving force, hosted the first organizational meeting in July 1982. Mrs. Gertrude Andrews of Philadelphia, a national Founder and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bourne, first President of the Brooklyn Chapter were present and shared their ideas and expertise. On September 21, 1982, our first formal meeting as a Jack and Jill Interest Group was held at the Rutgers Labor Education Center in New Brunswick. Forty-three mothers were in attendance. We were welcomed into Jack and Jill of America, Inc. as an Interest Group with support, encouragement, and sponsorship of the North Jersey Chapter.
With the leadership of the Steering Committee and the guidance of Lonzella Brice, President of the North Jersey Chapter, the Interest Group accomplished the goals required for provisional status:
On July 20, 1984, at the National Convention in Washington, D.C., we were voted in by the assembly to be installed as the Central New Jersey Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. On October 27, 1984, the Central New Jersey Chapter was installed with 41 members.