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National Philanthropist Invests in Local Girl Scouts

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Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (GSEIWI) announced a $1.4 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. This generous gift is part of an $84.5 million donation awarded to Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and 29 councils selected by MacKenzie Scott, making this unprecedented investment the largest donation from a single individual in the national organization’s history. The local council, Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois is one of the 29 councils selected out of the 111 councils across the nation. Locally, this gift will enhance programs, expand the program model to reach more girls, create more equitable opportunities, and invest in talent in the region.

“Grateful is an understatement,” said GSEIWI CEO, Diane Nelson. “We were so excited to find out that MacKenzie Scott is impressed by the impact local Girl Scouts are making. The girls in our community will change the world! With this substantial donation, we will expand the opportunities for girls to build their confidence and go out into the world to lead empathetically and dynamically.”

“We are so appreciative of MacKenzie Scott’s gift to Girl Scouts. This is a great accelerator for our ongoing efforts to help girls cultivate the skills and connections to lead in their own communities and globally,” said GSUSA’s CEO, Sofia Chang. “The support from all our donors, including this generous support from Ms. Scott is critical in delivering on our work of reimagination and transformation. We’re excited to prove how Ms. Scott’s investment in girls will change the world- because when one girl succeeds, we all succeed.”

The Grant Impact

This gift to Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois will support meeting the needs of today’s girls. This donation will enable the local council to expand its investment in local Girl Scouts and advance the organization’s recovery from the effects of COVID-19. 

  • After collecting feedback from volunteers, parents, and girls, council staff have identified growth opportunities in programming access. The energized programs will be unveiled throughout the following membership year. 
  • By expanding the community outreach programs at schools and community sites, every girl will have the opportunity to become a Girl Scout. The community outreach program model was developed to reach members who face barriers to participating in traditional troop settings.
  • Create more equitable membership opportunities in communities that have been historically under-engaged. This includes DEI-RJ initiatives, reimagining the troop experience model to break down accessibility barriers, and partnering with families and communities to holistically support the well-being and development of all girls.
  • Staff and volunteers are essential for creating experiences and opportunities for girls in the 38-county council region. Investing in the council’s talent will help attract and retain top visionaries passionate about empowering youth.

Nationally, this generous donation will accelerate GSUSA’s initiatives, giving girls the tools to become the next generation of influential female leaders. 

Nelson added, “Having a national philanthropist invest in our community is an important lead gift to ensure that Girl Scouts have the resresources needed to thrive. I have no doubt that the courage, confidence, and character today’s girls are building will lead to a bright future for everyone.”

The Girl Scouts Difference – Developing the Leaders of Tomorrow

Today’s challenges are complex, interconnected, and, more than ever, global. Solving them will demand collaborative leadership and innovative perspectives. Girls represent humanity’s greatest untapped talent pool. Investing in them will produce the greatest return in economic development, social progress, and public health, improving not only individual lives but the fabric of society overall.

Each new investment enables Girl Scouts to become a unifier at the broadest level, harnessing the leadership skills of generations to come and ensuring an inclusive, empathetic, united, and equitable future.