A message from Susan Douglas, GSKWR CEO

Susan Douglas, CEO, talks about the imperative need for more philanthropy toward women’s organizations.

The United States leads the globe as one of the most generous countries in the world, with over $484 billion contributed to charitable organizations in 2021. Yet, I am disheartened that, of this impressive sum, less than two percent was given to female oriented non-profit organizations. At a time when it is critical for young women to emerge from stereotypical roles into the leaders of tomorrow, it is imperative that more attention and funding be directed to female-focused organizations.

According to the Women’s Philanthropical Institute, there are almost 50,000 non-profit organizations in the U.S. that are dedicated to women and girls. Historically, women’s organizations or collectives were formed to provide service to others. During World War I, for example, women volunteered their time and skills to help the war effort, eventually giving credence to the notion that women’s work had tremendous social and economic value. As the long and arduous battle for women’s suffrage was finally won, women began to take on more prominent roles in the workplace and in public service. Organizations advocating societal improvements for women began to form, with causes such as protection from violence and harassment, ownership laws, affordable housing, equal educational and employment opportunities, equal rights and equal pay, accessible healthcare and child services.

A more proactive approach to ending gender inequity, however, involves educating girls at an early age to acquire the knowledge, capabilities and confidence that enables them to become leaders in society. At Girl Scouts of Kentucky Wilderness Road, girls have the opportunity to learn, excel and prosper in a safe, supportive environment without the fear of failure that so often stifles a young girl’s aspirations. Programs focusing on STEM, Financial Literacy, Entrepreneurship, Community Improvement, Climate Change, Public Policy, and more, are offered in a team-building setting with positive mentorship for each individual girl. Girls are encouraged to explore numerous fields of study in order to discover their interests, passions, skill sets and potential career paths.

Susan Douglas Awards a $1,500 scholarship to Sabrina Hinkle, 2022 Spirit of Girl Scouting Recipient sponsored by GSKWR partners UK Federal Credit Union.

This positive and fun learning experience supplements, reinforces and enhances the material offered in the classroom. It offers a competitive advantage which helps each girl in her future educational endeavors and career pursuits. Furthermore, Girl Scouts provides a strong support system to help girls navigate today’s complicated social pressures such as body image, DEI, bullying, substance abuse and social media. The dramatic rise in mental health issues among young girls is indicative of the problems arising from these complicated social norms. Girl Scouts help to steer our girls in a positive direction so that they can focus on achieving their life and career goals, and improving the community around them, rather than succumbing to potentially harmful social pressures.

As a result, our communities grow and prosper. For example:

· Nearly 85% of Girl Scout Alums hold leadership positions

· 80% of Girl Scout Alums attribute their personal and business success to Girl Scouting

· 77% of girls say that, because of Girl Scouts, they are considering a career in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).

Individuals, foundations and corporations can all benefit from philanthropy dedicated to the education and support of girls and young women. Investing in our daughters and young women is a proactive approach to building a better future. By helping our young women to lead with courage, confidence and character, we strengthen our families, citizenry, businesses and communities. In 2023 and beyond, let’s re-think and re-direct our philanthropic objectives to effect this positive change.







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