In a continued commitment to get more girls outdoors more often, the Richard King Mellon Foundation has offered a generous grant of $845,000 that will benefit Girl Scouts in 16 states, including western Pennsylvania.
Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) led the expansion of this grant, which was first received in 2016. Now in its third year, the generosity of the Richard King Mellon Foundation will extend to 15 Girl Scout councils across the country, including Girl Scouts of Alaska, Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine, Girl Scouts of Greater New York, Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan, Girl Scouts of Black Diamond (West Virginia), Girl Scouts of Maine, Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming, Girl Scouts of Western Washington, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto (Texas), Girl Scouts Northeast Texas, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland, Girl Scouts, Hornets' Nest Council (North Carolina), Girl Scouts of Green and White Mountains (New Hampshire), Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, and Girl Scouts of West Central Florida.
Throughout the next year, the funding will increase the momentum initiated by the first Richard King Mellon Foundation grant that GSWPA received in 2016 and the grant received in 2018. The funds will support a continued collaboration with Student Conservation Association (SCA). SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.
The Girl Scout councils and SCA will develop two all-Girl Scout project crews that will travel to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or New Hampshire. During their trip, the Girl Scouts will complete environmental service projects and learn about ecology and preserving habitats. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Girl Scouts from these councils to expand leadership skills and practical knowledge of the environment.
“This grant and the continued support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation allows Girl Scout councils to profoundly impact how a girl experiences the outdoors and nature,” says Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of GSWPA. “The key to outdoor program success is providing expanded adult training. Our reach becomes exponential when we equip adult volunteers with knowledge and resources that create a strong skill set in girls.”
Of the total grant, $200,000 will fund a research partnership with the University of Washington to pinpoint specific, measurable outcomes of outdoor experiences in Girl Scouts.