October 19, 2022 is a day Diane Nelson and the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (GSEIWI) will never forget. That was the day Nelson, the group’s CEO, received a call from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott’s team, offering a donation of $1.4 million to the council. The donation was part of a larger donation of $84.5 million to the Girl Scouts of the USA. This was the largest donation from a single individual in the national organization’s history. GSEIWI was one of 29 councils out of 111 nationwide to receive a donation.

“It was such a wonderful opportunity for Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. We received a call from her team and they told us that we are doing such an amazing job and they really appreciate the work that we’re doing to impact girls’ lives. They appreciate all the leadership we are giving our girls and they were so impressed with the work we’re doing and they would like to donate $1.4 million to the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. It was one of the best phone calls I’ve ever had.”

Girl Scouts USA received $15 million and the remainder of the donation was divided among the 29 councils across the country who were chosen to receive funding. There weren’t many details released on how councils were chosen to receive, says Nelson, but she’s grateful that they were chosen to benefit from Scott’s generosity.

“I know that her passion is to give to the communities, to high level nonprofit organizations. That’s her goal, she wants to give as much as she can to support the community. She’s very passionate about doing everything she can to support our nonprofit organization so I’m just so fortunate she chose Girl Scouts.”

Even though the donation was just announced, there’s already big plans for the funding. “It’s really going to impact Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois,” says Nelson. “We’re really thrilled. We’re going to increase our program opportunities and obviously we want to give every girl an opportunity to join Girl Scouts. If there’s ever a financial need for that girl to join, these dollars are going to help us make sure every girl has the opportunity to join. We’re going to really continue to work hard with our diversity equity inclusion, so hopefully that’ll be able to help us increase that level of work as well. We’re going to increase our talent. We want to have more team members so we can continue to grow our girls and just continue to support our volunteers who really make a huge impact on our programs for Girl Scouts.”

“It’s such a great opportunity for Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois to be chosen as one of the councils to receive those dollars. I mean, it is truly going to make an impact in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. We’re going to be able to increase the number of girls, increase our program and continue to grow the experience so we can continue to build girls of courage, confidence and character and continue to make the world a better place.”

To learn more about the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, click here.