Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey has been awarded a $40,000 grant from the Philadelphia Foundation’s Fund for Children. The Philadelphia Foundation has been improving the Greater Philadelphia area for more than a century by investing in organizations that foster economic, civic and social vitality. Announcement of the grant was made by Pedro A. Ramos, President and CEO.
Dena Herrin, Executive Director of Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, said the funds would be used to help fund the Leadership and Community Action program. “The Leadership and Community Action program is one of our most popular programs and has encouraged thousands of girls to advocate for themselves and their communities,” said a program facilitator at Girls Inc.
The program builds leadership skills and creates lasting social change by partnering girls and women to complete community action projects. Over 700 girls participate in the Leadership and Community Action program each year, including semester long in-school programming, career exploration trips, summer camps, Saturday programs, and advocacy/civic engagement workshops in the Greater Philadelphia region.
While there are more women today in key leadership positions than ever before, there still exists a pervasive gender gap in top leadership, and an even larger gap in the representation of women of color. Among Fortune 500 companies, only 33 CEOs (6.6%) are women. Only 1 of these women is a woman of color. In Congress, women make up only 23.6% of the House of Representatives and 25% of the Senate.
Chronic underrepresentation across multiple disciplines makes it challenging for girls to see themselves in leadership roles. Girls Inc. increases girls’ awareness of themselves as community resources and enables them to envision themselves as tomorrow’s leaders. At Girls Inc., participants are taught to use their voices. They leave the program able to speak confidently with government, academic, and corporate leaders in the Greater Philadelphia region and beyond. The Leadership and Community Action program empowers girls to embrace their responsibility to produce positive, long-term social change within their communities.