Girl Power: Area Foundation Grants Empower Young Girls And Women

By Kiko Martinez 

SAN ANTONIO — Young women and girls across San Antonio are being empowered thanks to  Youth Leadership Development grants awarded to youth-serving nonprofits by the San Antonio Area Foundation.

Through these grants, nonprofit organizations like Girls Inc. of San Antonio and Girls Scouts of Southwest Texas are elevating the voices of the youth they serve, including many young women and girls, by supporting their “pro-girl programming” and preparing them to become great leaders.

At Girls Inc. of San Antonio, the funds are being used to expand its Rising Leaders program. Rising Leaders creates experiences that help girls discover their leadership capacity and encourage responsible engagement in their community.

“The YLD grant will help address the lack of recognition and opportunities for girls in middle school as leaders and their contributions to social change,” said program director Sherry Cook. “With this expansion and opportunity, we hope to have girl-led programs, for girls and by girls. When it comes to the future, Girls Inc. recognizes that youth voices matter the most.”

The young girls at Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas, too, have voices that were made to be heard. CEO Angie Salinas said the YLD grant would be used to support its Gamma Sigma program, which focuses on achieving equity for all girls, especially those in marginalized communities who otherwise may miss out on leadership opportunities.

“The Gamma Sigma program combines the proven outcomes of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience with a college sorority-type setting, serving girls who have a limited history of Girl Scouting in their families,” said Salinas. “Girls are building life skills in goal setting, academic success, financial literacy, teamwork and business ethics.”

Salinas said the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas’ vision is focused on “fostering an environment of growth by supporting the next generation of girl leaders.” 

With their YDL grant, they can do just that.

“For children to succeed in life, they need a strong support system,” Salinas said. “We provide a safe space for girls to grow and learn at their own pace without judgement.”

Francisco “Kiko” Martinez is a San Antonio-based freelance writer and member of the San Antonio Area Foundation Marketing and Communications Department’s new Storytelling Ambassador contributor network.