Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (GSEIWI) on Tuesday announced a $1.4 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

This generous gift is part of an $84.5-million donation awarded to Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and 29 councils selected by Scott, making this unprecedented investment the largest donation from a single individual in the national organization’s history, according to a Tuesday release.

MacKenzie Bezos, MacKenzie Scott
In this 2018 file photo, then-MacKenzie Bezos arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif. MacKenzie Scott gave $122.6 million to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the national youth-mentoring charity announced on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. The gift is the latest of several the billionaire writer has given to large national nonprofits that carry out their missions through local chapters in neighborhoods throughout the country. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

The local council, Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois is one of the 29 councils chosen out of the 111 councils across the nation. Locally, this gift will enhance programs, expand the program model to reach more girls, create more equitable opportunities, and invest in talent in the region, the GSEIWI said.

“Grateful is an understatement,” Girl Scouts CEO Diane Nelson said in Tuesday’s release. “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.”

Diane Nelson, CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.

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

The Grant Impact

This gift to Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois will support meeting the needs of today’s girls.

This donation will enable the local council to expand its investment in local Girl Scouts and advance the organization’s recovery from the effects of COVID-19 in the following ways:

  • 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 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.

Nationally, this generous donation will accelerate GSUSA’s initiatives, giving girls the tools to become the next generation of influential female leaders. 

Ascentra Credit Union Foundation granted $45,000 to Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois this past August (photo: Ascentra Credit Union Foundation).

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.”

For more information on the QC Girl Scouts council, click HERE.