Girl Scouts to benefit from Lilly Endowment grant

Girl Scouts of the USA has received a $15 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support diverse membership growth within six Girl Scout councils serving Indiana girls.

The funding will further the vision that every girl in Indiana will have the opportunity to live her best life physically, academically, emotionally and socially through engagement in Girl Scouts.

The six Girl Scout councils — Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana, Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana Michiana, Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana and Girl Scouts of Western Ohio — will work together in a newly formed coalition across a three-year period.

The coalition will serve as an incubator to find creative solutions to reach and better support Hoosier girls and families in all 92 counties with a particular focus on girls and families who have historically not engaged with Girl Scouts.

Jackson County’s Girl Scout troops are part of Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana.

“Girl Scouts is the greatest leadership development experience for girls, and we’re passionate about expanding those results across our communities.,” said Maggie Elder, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana.

“This generous grant is an investment in girl success and allows our Kentuckiana council to innovate new ways to unlock Girl Scout benefits locally,” she said. “We know that joining Girl Scouts can help girls thrive and empower others to thrive, as well. We are honored to activate resources across all six Indiana-serving councils and create outcomes that grow Hoosier girls’ courage, confidence and character.”

The Indiana Girl Scout coalition will begin its work by learning about the unique needs of girls and families by holding community listening sessions and partnering with community leaders and influencers to highlight local girls’ needs and solutions for supporting every Hoosier girl’s ability to live her best life through Girl Scouts. The coalition will assess those learnings and work to remove identified barriers that prevent girls from thriving.

By the end of the grant term, the councils expect to better serve the needs of girls and ultimately increase the number of Girl Scouts in Indiana by approximately 50%. These thousands of girls will benefit from proven outcomes of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, which research shows can contribute to their academic, physical, emotional and social development.

“We are so grateful to Lilly Endowment for this incredible grant in support of Girl Scouts,” Girl Scouts of the USA Chief Executive Officer Sofia Chang said. “As we continue to evolve our organization to reach more girls, we are excited for the opportunities that this grant will provide to youth in Indiana. Its impact will be felt nationally and even globally through what these girls will accomplish as tomorrow’s leaders.”

The grant is one of nine grants totaling $91.5 million that Lilly Endowment has made to national youth-serving organizations to help them enhance and expand the impact of their Indiana affiliates and chapters. The grants reflect Lilly Endowment’s longstanding commitment to the healthy development of youth in Indiana and to the youth workers and organizations that serve them.

“At Lilly Endowment, we believe that this support will help Girl Scouts and the other organizations funded serve more effectively in Indiana and reach even more youth,” said Ted Maple, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education. “We also are pleased by the interest many of these organizations have in replicating strategies that succeed in Indiana with their affiliates and chapters around the country.”

For information about Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana or to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate, visit

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation that supports the causes of community development, education and religion.