Who’s Knocking at the Girl Scouts' Door? It's UPS, With a $1 Million Grant for Empowerment

Empowering girls and women is a hot funding area, and we’re always intrigued by the diverse cast of characters in this space.

For example, there’s the UPS Foundation, which doesn’t have a high profile but gives $100 million to philanthropic causes each year. Recently, the foundation gave a $1 million grant to an NGO has empowered girls for nearly a hundred years, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).

The UPS grant will help WAGGS  “provide leadership development opportunities for girls around the world.” The funding will back expanded efforts in Latin America, Africa, and the Arab World, and builds on a long partnership between the two organizations.

This partnership started in 2004 with funding to develop or expand volunteer opportunities and promote the sharing of knowledge of three of its member organizations in Mexico, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

It was later extended to Brazil and South America, focusing on girls in the developing world who are otherwise unable to access educational and leadership opportunities.

The $1 million allocation was by far the largest among a funding round of 42 grants totaling $7.9 million that UPS issued to non-profit organizations to support “economic empowerment, education, inclusion and mentorship initiatives.” So clearly, the foundation’s leader sees girls as a top priority.

In announcing the WAGGGS funding, UPS President Eduardo Martinez hailed the importance of education and leadership development as being central to economic empowerment.

“We are helping WAGGS reach its network of more than 10 million girls and women in 145 countries across five regions of the world,” Martinez said.

The UPS Foundation’s focus on empowering girls and women fits into a broader strategy of empowering people who’ve been historically marginalized. Other beneficiaries of the latest round of grantmaking were the National Urban League, which focuses on fostering entrepreneurship for minorities, and a partnership of ACCION International, Opportunity International and Aspira of America to increase economic stability by offering access to financial services, loans and education for youth.