“We are proud to be the only individuals in Arizona to sign the Giving Pledge,” says Renee Parsons, co-founder of the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, shown with some of the Girl Scouts at the Bob & Renee Parsons Leadership Center for Girls & Women. “We want to make sure that people understand that The Giving Pledge doesn’t limit giving to $1 billion or even half, but rather that the pledge is meant to be a public declaration of giving intended to inspire people to give what they can.” (Photo by Mike Mertes, AZ Big Media)
Girl Scouts complete massive $18M campaign
Thanks to a successful matching challenge from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council (GSACPC) has reached the completion of its five-year, $18 million Campaign for Girls in Arizona. As a result, the Council can now provide a wider range of educational and empowering experiences to more than 21,000 girls in over 90 Arizona communities.
Through the campaign, the Girl Scouts built The Bob & Renee Parsons Leadership Center for Girls & Women at Camp South Mountain, a year-round urban program and leadership center with camp amenities that opened in April 2017. By the end of last year, more than 7,000 Girl Scouts, adult volunteers, staff and community members were on site to either take a tour, enjoy summer camp, or attend meetings, trainings and other programs.
“We embarked on the Campaign for Girls because we want a better future for Arizona’s girls. By transforming our existing property into this new leadership center, we can bring the power of Girl Scouting to more girls throughout the state, including those from underserved communities,” said Tamara Woodbury, CEO of GSACPC. “We are very grateful for the continued support of The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation. Their investment helps us develop the leadership potential of girls in a safe, all-girl environment where girls can try new things, risk failure and find success, build their self-confidence and become better prepared to contribute as leaders in the future.”
The new center extends the 60-year legacy of the 14.5-acre property – previously known as Camp Sombrero – and increases the organization’s capacity to provide more Girl Scouts with relevant programming including leadership training, life skills and specialized programs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). Additionally, the campus allows GSACPC to provide adult training programs and develop partnerships with surrounding community groups and schools.
“Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council is teaching girls and women to be courageous, confident and true to themselves,” said businesswoman and philanthropist, Renee Parsons. “With the completion of the campaign, the organization now has a new, beautiful multi-use facility to elevate our youth and offer every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure and success.”
Longtime supporters of Girl Scouts, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation gifted $5 million to the campaign in 2015, and in June 2017, the Foundation issued a matching grant challenge to GSACPC, agreeing to match all donations, dollar-for-dollar, up to $1.6 million. The challenge succeeded in raising the final $3.2 million to close-out the Campaign For Girls in Arizona this spring. In total, The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation has gifted more than $7 million, which includes the largest single gift ever received by a Girl Scout Council nationwide.
“I’ve had strong female leaders at the top of virtually every business I’ve created, and Girl Scouting helps prepare our Arizona girls for future leadership,” said American entrepreneur and philanthropist Bob Parsons. “Being part of such a successful campaign helped our future leaders learn firsthand if they work hard and believe in themselves, anything is possible.”
Other notable gifts include those from The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, The Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation, and the Girl Scouts themselves, who raised more than $1 million through their cookie sales. The Emerald Foundation provided the first gift to ensure the campus would be ADA accessible.
Apart from increasing services to local girls, regardless of their ethnicity, physical abilities, circumstances or economic status, The Parsons Leadership Center offers spaces for large and small meetings and trainings, tent and cabin camping, a demonstration kitchen and kitchen garden, two pools, a Girl Scout museum and shop, a playing field, archery range, campfire circle and labyrinths. This will be the second summer Girl Scouts offer day and residential camp for girls K-12 at this site.
For more information about Girl or the Campaign for Girls in Arizona, visit www.girlscoutsaz.org.