Monday, December 10, 2018

Dianne Belk and Lawrence Calder Activate Entire Girl Scout Movement with a Historical Planned Giving Challenge

When my husband and I wanted to leave a gift in our wills to Girl Scouts, we learned that most Girl Scout councils were not actively promoting planned giving as a way for annual donors, volunteers, and alums to show their support of Girl Scouts. We decided to let some of our Girl Scouts friends know that they, too, could leave a gift to Girl Scouts in their will, and I offered to spread the word about this concept.

What a change in seven years! As GSUSA and all councils embraced the concept of planned giving, the number of planned giving donors has grown by more than 1000 percent! We have all worked diligently to tell our Girl Scout sisters and brothers that leaving a gift in a will or estate plan is simple and doable, with no minimum requirement. It can be as easy as making Girl Scouts the partial beneficiary of a retirement fund or a life insurance policy.

When Girl Scouts established the Juliette Gordon Low Society to thank and honor those who remember Girl Scouts in their wills and estate plans and named me its founding chair, I felt so very honored.

From this volunteer position, I have had the privilege to speak with thousands of Girl Scout supporters, including volunteers, troop leaders, donors, and alums from nearly every Girl Scout council, about how simple it is to make a planned gift. I have been humbled by the hundreds of people who have responded to my asking them to make a planned gift and who have shared their joy in being able to do so. I have pinned hundreds with the Juliette Gordon Low Society lapel pin.

I’m often asked why I want to do this. My response is simple:
As a farm girl from very limited means and even fewer options, Girl Scouts was my ticket to exploring the world’s opportunities. One memorable exploration was a trip down the Mississippi River on an old steamboat with 500 Girl Scouts from the Mississippi/Arkansas/Tennessee area. So many “firsts”—all of them made even more special by the camaraderie with Girl Scout sisters.I was forever changed.

Such memories and experiences remind me that I owe so much of my success in life to my 12 years in Girl Scouts and the impact that it had on my goals, values, and character. I am so grateful. Such gratitude has led my husband and me to commit our resources to helping knock down barriers that young women face in achieving equality in today’s world. We are so proud to support Girl Scouts, because we recognize that they are the best organization in the world to help young women become the leaders of tomorrow. It’s the Girl Scout way for us to want to give back!

The groundbreaking Dianne Belk and Lawrence Calder Girl Scout Movement-wide Planned Giving Challenge inspired 843 new planned gifts to benefit Girl Scout councils across the country, with a total impact exceeding $30 million.