Charity surely begins in the Ruffini home, where mother Marc introduced daughters Catie and Claire to family-style public service.


Six years ago, the Preston Hollow residents joined the National Charity League, a mother-daughter service organization. Now, Ruffini is poised to become the Dallas chapter’s next president.


“One of the things they’ve really gotten out of this,” Ruffini says of her daughters, “is that I think they see community service as something they want to do rather than something they have to do.”


The National Charity League traces its philanthropic roots to a small group of Los Angeles women who started doing charitable work in 1925. Over the years, their daughters became involved and in 1938 formed their own organization.


The mothers and daughters united their groups in 1947 to start the first mother-daughter charity, according to the league’s website. They now have 126 affiliated chapters in 15 states.


The Dallas chapter was founded 10 years, and Ruffini joined with Catie, now 18, six years ago. Claire signed up two years later. Girls participate in a six-year “Ticktocker” program from seventh grade to 12th grade.


“A friend of mine just asked me,” Ruffini says. “She sort of explained it as Junior League but with your daughter.”


Existing members sponsor new members when their daughters are in the sixth grade. Other membership categories allow those without “Ticktocker” age daughters to participate.


The group describes its mission as fostering mother-daughter relationships within a philanthropic organization that commits itself to community service, leadership development and cultural experiences.


Members commit to 15 hours of community service each year, Ruffini says. The Dallas chapter, composed of 125 mothers and 140 daughters, performed 4,700 service hours last year.


The Ruffinis have worked with the Stewpot Saturday School , Dallas Children’s Theater, Meals on Wheels, CASA, Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and the Ronald McDonald House.


“We have memories from National Charity League that we’ll have for the rest of our lives — as well as giving back to the community,” Ruffini says.


In addition to charitable work, the girls meet in groups by grade level for leadership and cultural education.


“The form a community as well as doing the philanthropic work,” Ruffini says. “I think they really enjoy it.”


Twelve National Charity League chapters operate in the Dallas area. For information, visit or e-mail


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