May 18, 2015 - Founder Message
Girls Giving Grants is ten years old, and we have lots to celebrate!
On December 25, 2003, Claire Powers gave Impact Austin $100 she had earned over several months. She said, “Mom, I’ve never seen you so happy, and I want to join Impact Austin when I’m an adult.” After many hugs and even more tears, I replied, “What if you and your friends started your own movement now with the same mission?”
The rest is history….
In 2005, Lisa Lyons, an Impact Austin board member, directed the first 22 members of Girls Giving Grants (g3) in their inaugural year as they named themselves, created their logo and set up a leadership structure and associated processes to ensure their future success. The girls were adamant that no moms be allowed to participate (imagine!). They wanted to create and own all aspects of their organization. Lisa provided guidance and support while allowing the girls much latitude and creativity.
g3 membership has grown from 22 young women the first year to 60 members in 2015. The girls hail from 15+ different high schools in Central Texas. And, most strikingly, their conversations focus on missions of non-profits, financial statements, program impact and reach…NOT on hair, makeup and the latest fashions. g3 reached the $50,000 milestone this year when Austin Diaper Bank received the 2015 grant for $6,000.
Over the years, g3 alumnae have pursued degrees in nonprofit leadership; created volunteer programs on their college campuses and led teams of fellow students on volunteer expeditions to other countries. Specifically, Kelsey Randle gave a TEDxYouth talk in Denver this year that was inspired by her g3 experience.
HUGE thanks go to Dina Mavridis, who has been involved with g3 since its inception and took the leadership reins when Lisa Lyons retired 8 years ago. In addition to learning more about the community in which they live and the needs of the underserved, g3 members have learned leadership skills, the importance of taking personal responsibility, and being accountable to others. g3 thrives due to Dina’s positive can-do attitude and her desire for each girl to reach her greatest potential.
Dina will pass the leadership baton to Ami Kane on July 1st. Ami has been a long-time advisor to g3, and the girls are excited that she will be their new leader. We owe Dina a huge debt of gratitude for her dedication to and love for her ‘g3 family’. She has gone above and beyond recently by having two girls of her own, Athina and Kallista, who will be members before g3 starts its 3rd decade! And, of course they will join Lisa Lyons’ two girls who will join a few years ahead of them. Talk about teamwork.
When Impact Austin was forming, the founding board talked briefly about the idea of teaching the art and importance of giving to the next generation. Not until a young lady sat on her mother’s lap on Christmas morning in 2003, did we ever imagine it would take the form of Girls Giving Grants—an organization that has truly made its mark in Central Texas. g3’s success can be attributed solely to the young women who have participated over the years. They are a shining example of what’s right with youth today.
Thank you, Claire, Lisa, Dina and Ami.