Published On: Wed, Jul 15th, 2015

Seattle Girl Scouts: A Mitzvah Tastier Than a Cookie Pays Off


Girl-Scout-badges

(This story originally appeared in Jewlicous.com. Reposted with permission.)

Earlier this year, a donor offered $100, 000 to the Girl Scouts of Western Washington (aka Seattle-Tacoma).
This single gift was about 5% of the regional group’s annual contributions and one third of the amount it needed for a year of planned scholarships. The amount could cover the development expenses for 500 girls and young women in Western Washington.

But later, with all the news about the Jenner family and transgender issues, the donor added some strings to the gift, a caveat, one might say. The monies could not be used in support of any transgender scout.

Now, the Girl Scouts could have taken the gift, segregated the monies, and earmarked it for one group of girls; and used other contributions for its other programs. They could have given a wink and a nod and taken the money, but they would have not been true to their principles.

As Catherine Gelband, chair of local council knows: “Girl Scouts are for every girl, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The gift was returned (maybe along with a box of thin mints). But this mitzvah became a double, triple and quadruple mitzvah.

When they promoted the news of the returned gift, 6, 375 people donated over $304, 000 in the past three days to make up for the returned amount.

As Girl Scouts USA’s Chief Girl Expert, Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald wrote, “The foundation of diversity that Juliette Gordon Low established runs throughout Girl Scouting to this day. Our mission to build “girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place” extends to all members, and through our program, girls develop the necessary leadership skills to advance diversity and promote tolerance. If a girl is recognized by her family, school and community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe.”

Juliette Gordon Low, mentioned above, founded the Girl Scouts of the USA in 1912. She founded it with four friends in Savannah, Georgia. Three of these friends/leaders/helpers were members of Congregation Mickve Israel: Mildred Guckenheimer, Henrietta Falk, and Leonora Amram.
Mazel Mint Tov to the Girls Scouts.

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