In November, GSKSMO asked supporters to help a girl tell her own, unique story by helping her fill her Girl Scout vest. Thanks to the generosity of donors, we raised $12,223.25, which has provided funding to cover the membership dues of 488 local girls who are now able to start telling their Girl Scout story – all thanks to you. A major part of the success of this campaign was a matching gift provided by Sylvia Wagner and E.R. Pullman. As a former board member, Sylvia discovered the power of Girl Scouts is something to invest in because girls are our most powerful resource.
Sylvia Wagner is a former GSKSMO Board Member and philanthropist who advocates for girls and serves as a volunteer and board member for a variety of incredible organizations across multiple states. As the VP of HR for Assurant in New York, Sylvia became a GSKSMO Board Member in the mid-1990s when she moved to Kansas City from Minneapolis. During her time as a Board Member, she learned about the amazing programming and stories of Girl Scouts inspiring her to be a champion for girls.
She first felt the power of a match herself while at a meeting where a match was offered for any gifts given that night. “I was at an evening meeting with Joy Wheeler and other Girl Scouts supporters, where they asked us to make a gift and said ‘if you give tonight, it will be matched.’ I thought ‘oh, that’s really great’ and I gave. This year, when I was asked me to give a match, I did because I think it really matters when there’s a match opportunity,” Sylvia said.
Sylvia is certainly right! Thanks to the gift, #GivingTuesday 2017 was a larger success than GSKSMO has ever seen with this campaign. Girls are celebrating with new vests, new patches and memberships already. With hundreds of girls waiting for funding through the Opportunity Fund at GSKSMO, the money raised helps these girls fulfill their Girl Scouting dreams.
The motivating force for Sylvia to give is the power of the Girl Scouts program and what it offers to girls today. When she joined the Board, she knew very little about the program. She had a son who was a Boy Scout, but she was not a Girl Scout alumna. During her many years of service on the Board, she learned just how life changing the program is. “I’m proud to say I became a Girl Scout in my 40s…which is a little older than most, but it was really fun!,” Sylvia said.
“Girl Scouts reinforces all the right things for girls and the programs are just wonderful [… and] when you hear the experiences these girls have, it’s the most compelling reason to give,” said Sylvia. In addition to empowering girls through giving, she loves the sense of gratitude she receives from the Council. “They have a wonderful sense of gratitude, and that makes a world of difference,” Sylvia said.
Gratitude overflows at Girl Scouts because, as an organization, it is built on volunteers and donors who change lives. From troop leaders who are on the ground, working directly with girls, to the donors who build rappel walls and support girls in need, Girl Scouts is a community of people who believe in girls. Because of that, we’re all thankful for everyone who works together to make Girl Scouting a reality.
“[In today’s climate], it’s really important for girls to have a positive place to be, to have positive role models and know that they have not only have a voice, but to use it. That’s what the Girl Scouts enables in these young, impressionable girls,” Sylvia said. That’s why now is an especially important time to give, to invest in girls and give them the tools they need to be the leaders of tomorrow.