Making the world a better place has always been important to Girl Scouts; 11 local teen Girl Scouts are learning about the power of philanthropy and how working together, they can make an even bigger difference in the world.
Since April, the teens have been participating in the Girl Scout Giving Circle, a monthly group facilitated by Girl Scouts of Western Washington CEO Grace Chien and board member Catherine Gelband designed to teach older girls about giving. Each girl has committed to donating part of her Girl Scout Cookie program funds to an organization that the group will choose together.
Of the 11 girls in the group, eight live in King County and one each live in Skagit, Thurston and Snohomish counties. Before the group started, none of the girls knew each other, but they have formed strong bonds as a group over the last year and are continuing to work together to choose a philanthropic cause that is meaningful to them.
“The girls come from long distances,” said Chien. “To come together on a Saturday to work with each other, I think is a real reflection of their commitment to each other and to this greater cause of philanthropy. And it’s a real reflection of their character and their future as leaders in our community.”
“I joined the Girl Scout Giving Circle because I want to be able to make a difference in the world and I want to be able to help people. When it’s just you, you can’t make as much of a difference, but when it’s a bunch of girls coming together, you’re able to make so much more of a difference in people’s lives, “ said 17-year-old Girl Scout Rebecca.
The girls in the Girl Scout Giving Circle decided to focus their grant funding on addressing food and water needs. They selected the organizations they wanted to invite to apply for the grant, and have received the applications. The girls made their final selection in May, and chose to donate to El Porvenir, a non-profit dedicated to improving the standard of living for poor people in Nicaragua through sustainable self-help, water, sanitation and reforestation projects. Their money allowed for 13 new fuel-efficient cook stoves for 13 Nicaraguan families. Here's a photo of the girls giving their check to El Porvenir!
Not only are the girls learning about philanthropy in the Giving Circle, they’re also learning important lessons about group dynamics.
“I’ve realized the challenges that a lot of philanthropy groups have to deal with,” said 14-year-old Girl Scout Katherine. “Because we’ve got a large variety of people and we’ve learned how to reach a consensus without having to resort to voting. So [in the end] everyone is happy with what we’ve decided on.”