MEMPHIS, TN — Today, Girl Scouts Heart of the South announced a $1.1 million dollar donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. This generous gift is part of an $84.5 million donation awarded to GSUSA and 29 local Girl Scout councils personally selected by MacKenzie Scott, making this unprecedented investment the largest donation from a single individual in the national organization’s history. Locally, this gift will power Girl Scouts Heart of the South’s continued efforts to provide unmatched leadership development and enrichment opportunities and advance the organization’s mission to provide life-changing experiences, mentorship, and programming for local girls.
“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 them in their own communities and globally,” said GSUSA’s CEO, Sofia Chang. “The support from all our donors, including this generous support from MacKenzie Scott is critical in delivering on our work of reimagination and transformation. We’re excited to prove how MacKenzie Scott’s investment in girls will change the world – because when one girl succeeds, we all succeed.”
This gift to Girl Scouts Heart of the South will enable the council to expand its investment in girls throughout its 59-county jurisdiction. Girl Scouts Heart of the South recognizes that in a post-COVID world, girls need new ways and places to learn. They need help rebuilding and sustaining relationships, talking about their experiences and emotions, developing qualities that prepare them to become leaders and agents of change, and re-engaging with their interests. They also need time with friends and mentors, opportunities for creative enrichment and expression, safe outdoor physical activities, and fun engaging projects that allow them to explore and create without stress. And as families restore work/life balance, parents need access to programs for their daughters that accelerate learning gains, mitigate learning loss, support social emotional learning, and provide ongoing, sustainable enrichment to get their girls back on track.
At Girl Scouts Heart of the South, girls ages 5-17 are guided by hundreds of trained adult volunteers, through hands-on leadership experiences that help them explore new interests, cultivate positive values, develop a stronger social conscience, build higher self-esteem, gain critical life skills, and access an array of travel and outdoor adventures.
Girl-led service opportunities engage girls in connecting with others and taking action in their own communities, increasing community connection and pride. This unprecedented gift from MacKenzie Scott will ensure that every girl in our vast council jurisdiction will continue to have the opportunity to take part in and be transformed by the Girl Scout Leadership Experience for years and years to come.
In addition, on both a local and national level, this unparalleled gift from MacKenzie Scott will foster Girl Scouts’ continued efforts to:
- Create more equitable membership opportunities in communities that have been under-engaged. This includes Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Racial Justice Initiatives, reimagining the troop experience model to break down accessibility barriers and partnering with families and communities to holistically support the wellbeing and development of all girls.
- Foster meaningful program innovation informed by the current interests and needs of girls to prepare them for leadership, including an expanded focus on career readiness and mental wellness. Part of this work is expanding girls’ access to STEAM exploration, building upon exciting areas of interest such as hands-on coding, aeronautics and sustainability.
- Bolster the “foundations” of the movement in critical areas such as research and staff and volunteer training. This investment will provide the ability to be visionary about the role Girl Scouts plays in the lives of girls and women and shape the health and well-being of the communities the organization supports.
This generous donation will accelerate Girl Scouts’ initiatives to give girls the tools to become the next generation of powerful female leaders.
The Girl Scout 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 and 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.
With 111 councils nationwide, GSUSA has a presence in every zip code. Each new investment enables Girl Scouts to become a unifier at the broadest level, harnessing the leadership skills of generations to come and ensuring a future that is inclusive, empathetic, united, and equitable. Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join us, volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit girlscoutshs.org.