By Lindsay Rosenberger
High Point University Sophomore
and Impact Austin Marketing Committee Intern
From September through April, young women in Girls Giving Grants (g3) learn how philanthropy can change and shape communities. The g3 program brings together girls in grades 8-12 to undertake a thoughtful grantmaking process that culminates in an annual award to a local nonprofit serving youth. At Impact Austin’s Annual Meeting, their grant winner is announced and celebrated.
In this blog post, we will hear from five women who have been involved with g3 as leaders. Their insights offer what the experience meant to them personally and how you might be rewarded as a volunteer adult advisor with the g3 program.
Claire Powers (left in photo) began her incredible journey with Girls Giving Grants when she joined as a founding member and then served as the first g3 president. Her primary responsibilities involved attending meetings and participating in preparation sessions with the adult leadership team. For new adult leaders, Claire suggests that the real value lies in witnessing the growth and development of these girls as they step outside their own bubble - "beyond their friends, school, family, neighborhood - to see a different world, to see others struggling." g3 not only boosted Claire’s confidence as a leader but also deepened her understanding of her community's needs and ignited her passion for helping others.
Dina Mavridis (with daughters, right) served as Co-Chair and then Director of g3 between 2006-2015. She called it "an amazing experience," a privilege to run the program and provide guidance to the girls. Dina comments about the incredible education the girls receive about community needs, the impact of collective giving, and the connections they build with other girls who share the goal of helping others. "Many of the girls I spent time with in g3 went on to get degrees focused on helping the community. [They] work for nonprofit agencies and continue to give back to this day. Their experiences in g3 influenced not only their personal lives but their professional lives, too."
Ami Kane (left in photo) served as an advisor and later as the g3 Chair, and she can personally attest to the transformative power of this program. “g3 is actively training and cultivating the next generation of leaders—and helping them ignite their own philanthropic paths, goals, and values. As someone who has found a career I’m so passionate about in philanthropy, I wish I would have had g3 as a high schooler." Ami believes that adult advisors have the chance to guide and support these remarkable young women as they develop their philanthropic paths, goals, and values. She predicts that g3 members' dedication and compassion will reward volunteers with a sense of hope and optimism.
Starting as a Co-Chair, Sue Breland (left in photo below) took on various responsibilities that culminated in administering the overall program. Specific tasks included designing meeting programs, providing leadership and grant review training, managing policies, recruiting, and maintaining effective communications. Sue believes the motivation for adult leaders to assist g3 is simple: the girls are eager to make a difference and only need guidance. The g3 opportunity "allows girls from all over the community to meet in a common cause, learn about lives that may not be like their own, and stretch their compassion and passion in ways they never before dreamed."
Karen Davenport (right in photo above) was involved with g3 as an advisor in 2016-17 and again 2021-22. She currently serves as Co-Chair and has just been joined by a new Co-Chair, Summer McAfee. Karen's responsibilities have included providing process training and support to the g3 Leadership Team, coordinating with Impact Austin, managing applications, and securing meeting facilities. Karen says that one of the remarkable aspects of g3 is its grantmaking process, which provides a strong foundation of financial integrity and expertise. "Being with and learning from the girls is the best part. They bring their enthusiasm, open-ness, and unique points of view with them in all they do. I am encouraged when I see them step into new situations, welcome girls from all over Austin, step up to lead and also step back to let others shine. As a Girls Giving Grants mentor, Karen believes you'll experience joy, fulfillment, and the satisfaction of supporting these young changemakers who will apply their g3 learning throughout their lives.
A Call for Adult Advisors
For the 2023-2024 year, we need Impact Austin members and g3 parents to step up as adult advisors in the g3 program. Five new advisors will assist Co-Chairs in providing hands-on and administrative support that gives g3 members the opportunity to rise as young philanthropists.
The Girls Giving Grants program has proven to be a transformative experience for its participants, fostering leadership skills, philanthropic values, and community engagement. Since 2006, g3 has granted $115,600 to 19 Austin-area nonprofits. They are currently registering girls in grades 8-12 for the 2023-2024 class.
Some 2023-2024 g3 members with outgoing Co-Chair Sue Breland
and Co-Chair Karen Davenport (above right).