City-wide Girl Scouts troops are getting a tremendous boost from the Victoria Foundation, which has awarded a $75,000 grant to Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey for 2019.

The Foundation’s trustees voted to provide the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey (GSHNJ) with $45,000 in general operating support, $20,000 for the Newark Troop Support Fund and a $10,000 “challenge grant,” to be provided as a one-to-one match to inspire new sources of funding. GSHNJ was tasked with showing evidence of the match by July 31 to be eligible for the extra support. Thanks to the generous support of Girl Scouts of the USA, The Legacy Agency, and an anonymous donor, GSHNJ more than doubled the match challenge.

“The Victoria Foundation is delighted to support the Girl Scouts’ work in Newark,” said Brianna  Suárez , program officer, for the foundation. “We were especially excited about the organization’s commitment to grow the number of volunteers and troops here and to ensure that Girl Scout activities are enriching, meaningful, and financially accessible to all interested Newark girls.”

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“The Victoria Foundation has challenged us with a number of tasks that fit perfectly with our overall goals in Newark,” said Natasha Hemmings, CEO, Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey. “Under this wonderful partnership, we worked on a goal of increasing the total number of Newark girls in active troops to 400. We have successfully increased involvement to 692 girls.

Adult volunteerism is also key. Working collaboratively, the Foundation and the Girl Scouts agreed on a set of ambitious benchmarks that would expand the Scouts’ reach in Newark. These include a benchmark of 160 adult volunteers, as well as 20 G.I.R.L. workshops across all five wards of Newark. To date, we are thrilled to share that we have 237 adult volunteers, and are continuing to schedule and deliver the G.I.R.L. workshops, as we close in on that goal.

Moreover, 47 girls from Newark signed up to attend Girl Scouts’ summer camps, based in Middleville (resident camp), Maplewood (day camp), and Hillsborough – surpassing Girl Scouts’ previous goal of 40 girls. Currently, Girl Scouts is also working to maintain a 65 percent retention rate of girls and volunteers.

“We deeply appreciate that the Victoria Foundation recognizes and supports the importance of Girl Scouts in this city,” Hemmings said. “Our collective goals are in lockstep. We look forward to accomplishing our goals, as we attract new resources to our Newark programs and continue to recruit trustees and volunteers who live or work in the city.”

The Victoria Foundation has a two-fold mission: To improve the lives of children and families in Newark, and to protect water resources and preserve open space statewide. To fulfill its Newark mission, the foundation seeks to improve educational outcomes for young people, stabilize and revitalize distressed neighborhoods, improve the quality of the urban environment, promote civic engagement and leadership, increase job opportunities, help children develop into healthy, creative adults, and strengthen fragile families.