Girls, Inc.

The first "Girls Club" opened its doors in Waterbury, Connecticut in 1864 and began to grow with a number of girls' clubs formed throughout the northeast. In 1936 Dora Dodge, Executive Director in Worcester, Massachusetts, called for the first regional conference with seven people attending from Worcester, Pittsfield, and Springfield, Massachusetts.

In 1945 Girls Clubs of America was founded by 19 Charter Girls Clubs on May 18, 1945 in Springfield, Massachusetts with the total assets being $72.64 and its headquarters was the guestroom of the founding president, Rachel Harris.

In 1953 Mrs. Mamie Eisenhower agreed to become the first honorary chair and each First Lady has since accepted this honorary position with the organization.

In 1970, the organization celebrated its 25th Anniversary with the announcement of a $1 million grant from the DeWitt Wallace, the founding editor of Reader's Digest.

In 1977 the office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention awarded the organization a three-year $1 million project grant, the first step toward nationally developed programs.

With grants from the Fleishman Foundation and the Lilly Endowment, the Girls Clubs of America (now Girls, Inc) National Resource Center opened its doors in Indianapolis, Indiana becoming the nationís largest research facility dedicated to girlsí issues and the Research Foundation for the organizationís programs.

In 1984, work began on Operation Smart, a career awareness and skills-development program in science, math and relevant technology, Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy, a four-part program to help girls, and young women avoid early pregnancy and Sporting Chance, a national sports program for girls.

In 1990, the organization officially changed its name to Girls Incorporated. Collaboration began with the YWCA of the USA to deliver Girls, Inc. programs to girls at YWCAs.

In 1992 the Girls, Inc Scholars Program was established and the following year, the New York National offices moved to a new building on Wall Street.

In 1995, Girls Incorporated celebrated its 50th anniversary as a national organization and developed the theme for its mission Strong, Smart and Bold for the 21st Century.

Since 2000, the progress of Girls, Inc. can be recognized by Highlights from its 2013 Annual Report: A 10% increase in the number of girls served from 2011-2012; an increase in college scholarships to more than $500K doubling the number of scholarships given; developing a multi-year Tracking Outcomes system with the ultimate goal of tracking every girl served. Eighteen affiliates are currently in the process of implementing the girls tracking system.

Other Highlights include: Girls, Inc. joined forces with the First Ladyís office and womenís advocacy groups in securing passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) and attended President Obamaís signing ceremony. Girls, Inc. was selected as one of Consumer Digestís Top Charities for effectiveness and financial health and was featured at the Social Innovation Summit held at the United Nations for empowering girls and women through economic education.







Copyright © 2007 National Women's History Museum.