Feb 10, 2017

Girls Inc. Update: Your Investment at Work

As a Girls Inc. investor, you know well that women and girls are still limited in our society: systemic barriers exist that interfere with true equality at every stage of their life.

Recent research reported by New York Times suggests our culture inadvertently endorses the awareness that intelligence is an inherently male characteristic. Disturbingly, this incorrect perception affects the attitudes of children from the tender age of 6 years old. By this stage, girls are already indoctrinated with the belief that their own brilliance is inferior to their male peers.

The damage is done in early childhood: girls internalize these messages, damaging their potential, changing their interests and impacting their future career choices.

The study presented children ages 5-7 with two stories about an unnamed protagonist of an unspecified gender. One character was referred to as “really, really smart” and the other was decidedly “really, really kind.” The young subjects were shown four pictures – two males and two females – and asked to guess which might be the protagonist from the stories. What is interesting, is that at age 5, boys and girls are equally likely to associate intelligence with their own gender. However, by age 6, most of the girls indicated that the “smart” person in the story must be male.

The findings of this study, while alarming, are not surprising: and that’s why we’re here. Researchers suggest that early and consistent mentoring and access to successful role models positively increases motivation and stimulates competitive intelligence in girls.

Your commitment to Girls Inc. ensures that our high-impact, research-based programming, educators, and mentors are able to intervene during critical stages of development: from childhood to adolescence. We work to combat the stereotypes and gender barriers, so that every girl grows up to be strong, smart, bold, and most importantly, to know that she is equal as a woman.

As a Girls Inc. donor, you make a significant investment in girls everywhere: to the girls we currently serve, and to the girls we plan to serve in the future through our current strategic plan. We’re proud to share that by March, up to twenty of our local affiliates will be embarking on an aggressive growth campaign. Within the next three years, more than $14 million from our Growth Capital Campaign will be disbursed directly back to those local affiliates that are ready to increase services, to the benefit of even more girls all across the country.

We are excited by this significant progress towards our goal of doubling the number of girls we serve by 2020. We are honored to count you as a partner in this much needed movement to build a better future for girls everywhere.

Together, we will work hard to ensure that no girl puts limits on her potential or aspirations because of her gender.

Warm regards,

Judy Vredenburgh

President & CEO

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Nov 11, 2016

Bringing the Girls Inc. Experience to More Girls

Perhaps no other election season focused this much attention on the treatment and perception of women in society. While we made history with the first woman on the ballot as a major political party candidate for President, we also grapple with a disheartening reality: the barriers women and girls face on the street, in schools, and in the workplace are real and profound.

The gender bias and sexism we’ve witnessed this election year go beyond political affiliation or sides of the aisle. At Girls Inc., we have a moral obligation to address and try to improve girls’ rights and opportunities. Just as we teach our girls to speak up and advocate for themselves, we must do the same.

We advocate for policies that are central to the well-being of girls and women. We must teach girls the power of making a difference through government and exercising the right to vote. And importantly, we must work to change the attitudes and beliefs concerning the abilities and potential of every girl.

We envision a culture where girls can express themselves freely and pursue political leadership – or whatever path they choose; where no girl ever hesitates to report sexual assault or wishes she had just remained silent; where we strike down the notion that “boys will be boys” and where casual talk about sexual assault is not tolerated.

Because you stand with us, we can all stand with girls.  

Your investment in Girls Inc. - which fuels our growth in delivering high-impact, life changing experiences to girls around the country - has positioned us to enjoy a remarkable year thus far. Indeed, you join some of the country’s leading philanthropists and change agents in their support of our efforts to significantly expand our service to girls. The S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation awarded us an extraordinary $10 million grant and challenged us to meet their investment - a goal that, just five months after launching, we are 70% of the way to fulfilling. We were elated to receive a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to expand our mentoring efforts with girls who are most at risk for becoming involved in the juvenile justice system. And, a longtime donor invested $1 million in Girls Inc., a very significant increase from last year.

As I reflect on these remarkable past few months, I am challenged by all that girls are witnessing in the media and the messages that we continue to encounter. But I am also inspired by what we are poised to achieve together. With you in our corner, we can equip more girls to defy limitations and stereotypes, graduate from college, achieve economic independence and break the cycle of poverty. Together, we will create a world in which girls are ready to become women who contribute fully to a promising future.

In this season of giving thanks, I am deeply moved by our entire donor community and you who make this work possible.

 

Warm regards,

Judy Vredenburgh

President & CEO

Aug 16, 2016

Bringing the Girls Inc. Experience to more Girls

As adults, it is difficult to process the violence we’ve witnessed around the world in the last days and weeks. It’s hard to explain violence, tragedy, and injustice, but these are the times when our young people need us most in their lives.

We are all grateful to you - our donor community - for your support that enables us to be present in the lives of girls, to provide them with caring and trusted mentors and a safe haven. We feel a great responsibility to create a positive place for girls to process what they are thinking and feeling and find an outlet for their desires to make things better.

As we work together to address the broader challenges we face as a society, we redouble our efforts to be a part of the solution. With you, we know that we can.

In my previous reports to you, I shared our bold goal for the future, which animates and guides our work:

Girls Inc. is the leading advocate in advancing rights and opportunities for all girls. Each year, we employ a proven, dynamic model to empower 250,000 girls from low-income communities to discover their strengths and thrive.

We envision a world where every girl values her whole self, discovers her innate abilities, can push past obstacles, and achieve her goals; a world where Girls Inc. plays a tangible role in closing the gender gap, increasing girls’ abilities to navigate social, economic, racial, and other interconnected barriers.

Vision is important. Action is imperative.

For as many girls who have trusting relationships with mentors at Girls Inc., there are tens of thousands more we want to reach. For as many girls who are empowered to change their lives and set a positive path for themselves, there are tens of thousands more who would benefit from the holistic way in which Girls Inc. works with girls... We recognize that girls need individual attention, and a variety of skills and possible paths to college and career. With the successful completion of our last five-year, network-wide strategic plan, Girls Inc. is ready to dramatically accelerate our growth as both advocates for all girls and direct service providers.

As we begin our new plan, we will be making strategic investments directly in our network, to expand into new communities or deepen our presence in current communities, to help more girls break the cycle of poverty. In keeping with our core values, these grants will have clear metrics and accountability tied to them. We also will focus on developing local strategies to successfully sustain this funding, after the initial infusion from our Growth Capital Campaign. We aim to invest significantly in about three-quarters of our local Girls Inc. programs, building their capacity to expand the highest level of service to girls. Together, the Girls Inc. network will double the number of girls who receive the intensive, holistic, long-term supports needed to thrive. We are confident we can achieve this because of all that your past support has enabled us to accomplish already.

With each of my reports to you on the impact of your giving, I hope you take pride in what we are achieving together, and understand the care we take in stewarding your gifts in ways that make a lasting and tangible difference at Girls Inc. With this report, I hope you also know how grateful I am personally to have you as a partner, as we all work to bend the arc of history toward justice.

Warm regards,

Judy Vredenburgh

President & CEO

 
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