Record donation will help QC Girl Scouts ‘change the world’

Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts throughout the Quad Cities region will benefit from a $1.4 million share of an unprecedented $84.5 million grant awarded to the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) by author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. 

The Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (GSEIWI) council was one of the 29 councils selected by Ms. Scott out of 111 across the nation to share in the gift. This investment by one of the world’s most powerful and influential women is the largest donation from a single individual in the history of the national Girl Scouts organization. 

The local regional council said in a news release that those dollars will be used to significantly advance the organization’s mission to provide life-changing experiences. Locally, the council said, the 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 Chief Executive Officer 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.”  

Added Sofia Chang, the CEO of GSUSA, “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.”

“The support from all our donors, including this generous support from Ms. Scott is critical in delivering on our work of reimagination and transformation,” she said. “We’re excited to prove how Ms. Scott’s investment in girls will change the world  – because when one girl succeeds, we all succeed.” 

Ms. Nelson added: “Having a national philanthropist invest in our community is an important lead gift to ensure that Girl Scouts have the resources 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 gift to the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois will enable it to expand its investment in local Girl Scouts and advance the local organization’s recovery from the effects of COVID-19. According to the news release, the steps GSEIWI is taking include:

  • 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 (diversity, equality, inclusion, racial justice) 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. 

For more information about Scouts or to volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit

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