CAMDEN, October 23, 2018 – Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey announced today that it has been awarded with a $95,000 grant from the Subaru of America (SOA) Foundation to be paid over three years to support Girls Inc.’s work in the Camden Promise Neighborhood. Girls Inc., a non-profit organization that inspires girls ages 6 to 18 to be strong, smart, and bold, launched their pilot program in Camden with a one year, $20,000 grant from the automaker’s Foundation in 2017. The response to the Girls Inc. programs from school partners, girls and their families was immediate, positive and exceeded expectations. As a result, Subaru has made this very generous grant to serve even more girls in additional Camden schools.
It is undeniable that girls in the U.S. are uniquely affected by poverty, sexual exploitation, drug addiction, and teen pregnancy. Nationally, one in six girls will not finish high school, 78 percent of high school girls report being unhappy with their bodies, and one in five experience childhood sexual assault. In communities with increased poverty rates, these risks are even greater.
Headquartered in Camden, NJ, Subaru of America, Inc. wanted to help create a different narrative for their community. With a population of 74,420 individuals, only 56.2% of Camden residents are employed. The median household income is $26,214, resulting in 38.4% of Camden falling below the poverty line. Camden, NJ has one of the highest poverty rates in the country at 38.4% of its population of 76,005 with a median household income of $26,214. While high school graduation rates in Camden have been improving, only 64% are graduating. Likewise, while New Jersey ranked 5th in the nation in 2015 for teen birth rates (14.8 births for every 1,000 girls), the rate for 2014 data for Camden City showed an adolescent birth rate of 35.1 per 1,000.
Subaru of America decided to partner with Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey to assist the organization in addressing the unique needs of girls through outreach programming, advocacy, and education, including the development of mentoring relationships. The non-profit’s research-based and developmentally appropriate programs empower girls to think critically and use problem solving skills to produce the best outcomes for themselves and their community.
Helping girls develop the tools they need to make healthy decisions about their bodies, receive academic enrichment and life skills instruction including exposure to career opportunities is critical to ensuring that they develop into self-sufficient women. Girls Inc.’s holistic approach towards whole girl development recognizes that none of these components in isolation will result in girls dreaming big and achieving their dreams. Subaru also recognized the lack of female representation in the automotive industry and wanted to help open opportunities and show pathways to careers that girls might not have considered.
Together, Girls Inc. and Subaru of America set out to empower young girls in Camden. With the support of Subaru, Girls Inc. launched their programs in Camden during the 2017 – 2018 school year. The partnership focused on two middle schools and one primary school in the Camden Promise Neighborhood. By partnering with Camden schools, the mission was to provide not only tangible, but also sustainable learning opportunities for local girls.
Subaru sought to address the unique challenges that Camden faces and arm girls with the skills to enact change in their communities. They accomplished this by partnering with Girls Inc. to deliver school-based programs focused on healthy decision making, media literacy, leadership development, community action, and STEM enrichment opportunities.
Results: At the end of the pilot school year, 111 girls cumulatively participated in 1,386 hours of Girls Inc. school-based programs. These amazing young girls experienced fun, engaging project-based STEM programs, college tours and through the Girls Inc. experience now have the tools to make healthy decisions about their bodies and to engage positively with their communities. Nearly all the girls are continuing their involvement with Girls Inc. this school year.
As more girls and their families look toward Girls Inc. as a resource, partnerships like the one with Subaru of America, Inc. have become critical to meeting the demand.
With this new three-year grant, the Subaru and Girls Inc. partnership will expand to serve 600 girls in the Camden Promise Zone. Through a career exploration partnership with Subaru, girls will also have an opportunity to explore careers in the automotive industry.
For additional information please contact:
Girls Inc., Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey
Corporate Communications Manager
Subaru of America, Inc.