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Girls Inc ( http://www.girlsinc.org/ic/ )

Organization Mission and Reach

  • What are they trying to achieve, what are their goals?

Girls Inc is a national nonprofit youth organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. For over 55 years, Girls Inc has provided vital educational programs to millions of American girls, particularly those in high-risk, underserved areas . Their innovative programs help girls confront subtle societal messages about their value and potential, and prepare them to lead successful, independent, and fulfilling lives.

Girls Inc develops research-based informal education programs that encourage girls to take risks and master physical, intellectual and emotional challenges. Major programs address math and science education, pregnancy and drug abuse prevention, media literacy, economic literacy, adolescent health, violence prevention, and sports participation. Programs are offered through Girls Inc. member organizations and licensed to partner entities including school and other youth-serving organizations.

Girls Inc informs policy makers about girls' needs nationally and locally through its affiliates. The organization also educates the media and opinion leaders about issues facing girls. Girls Inc maintains a Washington office to work with coalitions of youth and women's groups on matters of public policy, to provide expert testimony to Congress, and to represent girls' interests in national meetings held in the nation's Capitol.

Girls Inc affiliates, or member organizations, across the country offer daily programming for girls based on curriculum developed by the national organization as well as programs designed in-house to meet the needs of their local communities. Program Associates are primarily youth organizations, often serving boys and girls, where some Girls Incorporated programming is implemented by one or two trained staff members. Licensee groups or organizations may use one or more Girls Incorporated programs as well.

  • Who are they targeting (age, ethnicity, economic status, etc.)?

Girls Inc. programming is offered in a variety of settings, including Girls Inc centers, schools, churches, community centers and housing projects. The majority of Girls Inc centers are located in low-income areas and provide a weekly average of 30 hours of after-school, weekend and summer activities. Girls Inc serves girls at Girls Inc centers and at other sites through collaboration with other youth agencies, school systems and individual educators.

  • Who do they actually reach ? what are the demographics of participants?

In 2002, Girls Inc. reached over 525,000 girls ages 6 to 18 thought Girls Inc. member organizations, neighborhood centers, partner organizations, the Girls Inc. website and educational products. Of those served, the majority are girls of color who come from single-parent household with incomes under $20,000. A statistical breakdown of Girls Inc members can be found in their 2002 Annual Report, on line at http://www.girlsinc.org/ic/content/annual_report_2002.pdf

  • How many local chapters?

Girls Inc is an expanding national network of over 1000 program sites located in more than 134 cities across the United States . Chapters listed on their website indicate that Girls Inc. is working in all 50 states .

Organization Structure

  • Stability, funding source, internal communications?

This organization appears to be very stable. It has been around since 1945. Its website?well designed and robust?shows a well organized, established national organization. It is a nonprofit organization that receives 77 percent of its revenue from public support?corporations, foundations, government grants, and individuals. The remainder comes from affiliate dues, fees, interest and dividends. More than three-quarters of the organization's functional expenses go directly to support program services for girls.

  • How systemic are the programs? Is there lots of local variability or do all offer similar programming?

Girls Inc. has eight .$B!H.(Bidentity programs.$B!I.(B?all national in scope. The national program of specific interest to us is:

Math and Science Education: Girls Inc. Operation SMART builds girls' skills and interest in science math, engineering and technology. Hands-on activities give girls the opportunity to explore, ask questions, and solve problems. Components of Operation SMART include: Eureka !, GirlsLinkSM, GirlsLink Gets SMART, Girls Dig It, and Career Action. Major funding for this program comes from: National Science Foundation, Coca-Cola Company, Crew Foundation., Exxon Mobil Foundation, General Motors Foundation, and Verizon Foundation. This program is based on research gathered at the Girls Inc. National Resource Center . It is offered through a network of 1,000 sites nationwide and is facilitated by trained professional staff.

  • Partner with other organizations?

Girls Inc appears to have a very well developed partnership program. Programs are offered through Girls Inc member organizations and licensed to partner entities including school and other youth-serving organizations.

Since 1945, Girls Inc. has been providing educational programs to millions of girls. In addition to their core programs, girls benefit from learning opportunities offered at Girls Inc. centers nationwide. Here are some affiliates and their programs:

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria: Building global girls' communities
Girls Inc. of Alameda County: Reaching out to Latina girls
Girls Inc. of Omaha: Making reading fun with a teen book club
Girls Inc. of Rapid City: Showing Native American girls a brighter future

The following partial list of contributors reveals a broadly-based partnership in the area of program funding:

National Science Foundation,

Coca-Cola Company

Crew Foundation.

Exxon Mobil Foundation

General Motors Foundation

Verizon Foundation

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Robert Wood Foundation

Turner Foundation

KP Morgan Chase

American Express Foundation

  • What is the organizational structure ? management, paid staff, do they use volunteers & in what capacity?

Girls Inc is supported by paid, trained staff and well as volunteers who are called upon to support specific programs.


  • .$B!H.(BPopularity.$B!I.(B: Are they well-organized, draw and retain participants, engaging for and popular with participants and families, develop a good reputation within the community, self-sustaining?

Judging by the numbers of girls they involve (more than 525,000 in 2002) they are very popular and engaging. Also have a good reputation within the community.

  • .$B!H.(BProduces Results.$B!I.(B (NSACA Standards) Can you tell the organization pays attention to addressing these issues of quality (positive human relationships, effective programming, appropriate environments, strong partnership with young people, families, schools and communities)? If so, how can you tell?

Yes, this is a primary goal for Girls Inc?building positive self images for young girls and women as they encourage girls to take risks and master physical, intellectual and emotional challenges.

  • Environment for program/activities ? hands-on, available/dedicated space

Girls Inc seems to have found a good solution for locating dedicated space. Our local chapter, for example, offers on-going services at 50 school and community sites in the East Bay area. These are safe and dedicated spaces.


  • What are the program outcomes (broad demonstrations of program success)?

Research, evaluation and training are conducted by the organization's National Resource Center and provide the foundation for all Girls Inc programs. Their online resources and publications are all available at their web-site. The web contains an impressive collection of studies. Below are two examples of research papers and reports available through Girls Inc:

Facts and Reflections on Careers For Today's Girls
$6.95 ? (.$(D"m.(B1985) ? 60 pages
This book offers summaries of studies and research on girls' future in the workforce. The text combines hard-hitting analysis of current and coming trends with highly useful information for teachers, parents, youth workers and others working to ensure that girls discover and reach their true potential.

Explorer's Pass: A Report On Case Studies of Girls and Math, Science, and Technology
$12.00 ? (.$(D"m.(B1991)
Purpose of this study was to determine how to increase the frequency, consistency, and coherence of positive messages to girls about participation in math and science, especially in informal educational settings such as Girls Incorporated centers.

  • What are the participant outcomes (measurable changes in groups or individuals)?

Though I was not able to find individual outcomes provided on the website, that information may be attainable from the National Resource Center .

  • Are these positive, realistic, and quantifiable?

Based on a preliminary report which was referenced on the web site, the outcomes are positive. For example, from the web site: .$B!I.(B The preliminary program evaluation reveals that the more a girl participates in Operation SMART, the more favorable her attitude toward studying science and math. Girls told evaluators that due to Operation SMART, they would use science and math as adults ..$B!I.(B

  • Are program activities linked to participant impact?

I'd have to see their assessment, but I assume so.

  • What part does research play in program development and operation?

Research plays an important part?all programs developed by Girls Inc are research-based. The organization has a National Resource Center which provides research-based fact sheets, resource sheets, tips for working with girls and current, as well as, archived publications. Address below:

Girls Incorporated National Resource Center
441 West Michigan Street
Indianapolis , IN 46202-3287
Tel: 1-800-374-4475

Content compatibility

  • Does the organization mission include career choices, inspirational element, STEM learning?

Yes. I located three programs which seem a potential productive STEM learning link for NASA--

1) Operation SMART--a program which seeks to build girls' skills and interest in science, math, and technology. Hands-on activities give girls in the 1st through 7th grades the opportunity to explore, ask questions, and solve problems. Components of Operation SMART include: Eureka !, GirlsLinkSM , GirlsLink Gets SMART, Girls Dig It, and Career Action . Students in this weekly program are encouraged to take risks, experiment and work in teams to discover how math and science relate to their everyday lives.

Press Release on Project SMART From their website:

Girls Advance into Scientific Frontiers
Girls Inc. prepares girls for science, math, engineering, and technology careers with funding from the National Science Foundation

August 1, 2002

New York City , New York-- Men out number women in science, math, engineering, and technology fields. Women earn only 18 percent of the doctorates in computer science in the U.S. and 12 percent of all engineering Ph.Ds. But Girls Incorporated?with the help of a $2.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF)?hopes to inspire a new cadre of female physicists, software, developers, and architects that will close the gap.

Girls Inc. Thinking SMART is a science and engineering program for adolescent girls, especially girls from low-income families, and diverse ethnic backgrounds and girls with disabilities. Thinking SMART introduces girls to interesting science, math, and technology careers and pairs them with accomplished women in these industries.

The program engages girls in team projects within four areas: Material Girls (structural engineering/architecture), Eco Girls (ecology/environmental engineering), Space Girls (space/physics), and Net Girls (computer science). It also includes a mentoring initiative, online activities and training, and resource materials. Science, math, and technology professionals and girls at Girls Inc. affiliates in New Hampshire , Massachusetts , Tennessee , and Indiana are currently piloting the four modules. At the end of the five-year grant period, Thinking SMART will be distributed nationwide through a network of more than 1,500 Girls Inc. program sites.

Megan Andersen, of the New Hampshire center, has built picnic tables for a local park with her team. Their next project requires the group to measure, cut, and sand wood for a gazebo. .$B!H.(BI'm proud of what we built. Usually, you see men at a construction site, not women. This proves that we can get along and get the job done,.$B!I.(B says the 13-year-old.

Devoted to making the U.S. a world leader in scientific advancement, the NSF is the only federal agency dedicated to supporting cutting-edge education and fundamental research in all scientific and engineering disciplines. Girls Inc. received its first grant from the NSF in 1985.

.$B!H.(BWe're pleased that girls and women are at the forefront of the NSF's agenda, and we appreciate their support,.$B!I.(B says Joyce M. Roch.$(D+1.(B, president and CEO of Girls Inc. .$B!H.(BThinking SMART opens girls' minds to wonderful, alternative careers within their reach..$B!I.(B

2) Eureka Internship Program (local program in the East Bay )

Eureka Interns are young women, 14-17 years old, from Oakland and San Leandro , who have already completed at least two years of the Eureka! Teen Achievement Program , a confidence-building experience which includes intense exploration of science, math, technology, careers, sports, and personal development. For four weeks each summer, interns work in the fields of medicine, health care, technology, science, computers, media, law, biotechnology, marketing, finance, accounting, business, architecture and other related fields. Internships are designed to provide teen women with hands on experience in science, math and technology fields and to expose teens to positive role models in their fields of interest. Interns are encouraged to pursue a college education to achieve their goals.

3) GirlsLink Technology Center

GirlsLink provides an interactive, all-girl technology environment focusing on girls gaining computer and Internet competence. Girls, ages 9-18 participate on a drop-in basis to use the Internet or do homework. Classes are also offered in basic and advanced computer skills.

"  OST student outcomes that apply (do they have these in their mission?):

Increased academic achievement (better grades, increased high school graduation, improved college access) Improved access to employment (learning about jobs, getting a job, and/or maintaining employment)

The programs listed above are in keeping with OST outcomes. There is great emphasis on increased academic achievement as well as improved access to employment.


This organization could prove to be a very valuable partner?contact with the national and local organization is warranted

I contacted the local coordinator for Operation SMART who had attended one of our SECEF teacher workshops in the spring and found the following:

  • Girls Inc is interested in working with NASA
  • NASA has already provided some training for them at a regional conference held last year in Scottsdale , AX. (Possibly Sheri Klug?)
  • Locally, they were familiar with some of the SECEF materials and thought they could be used in their after-school program
  • Operation SMART allows individual coordinators a lot of autonomy in selecting their materials.
  • I will follow up with the local coordinator and her staff for informal meeting in the fall.

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