Girls Incorporated

Girls Inc. inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through life-changing programs and experiences that help girls navigate gender, economic, and social barriers. Research-based curricula, delivered by trained, mentoring professionals in a positive all-girl environment equip girls to achieve academically; lead healthy and physically active lives; manage money; navigate media messages; and discover an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math. The network of local Girls Inc. nonprofit organizations serves 136,000 girls ages 6 - 18 annually across the United States and Canada.


120 Wall Street
New York, NY 10005-3902
Ph. (212) 509-2000
Fx. (212) 509-8708


Principal Staff

Judy Vredenburgh, President & CEO

Pat Driscoll, Chief Operating Officer

Lynn Hepburn, Chief Development Officer

Catherine Cushinberry, Ph. D., Director of Research

Susan Houchin, Director of Administration

Andy Moore, Director of Information Technology

April Osajima, Director of Strategic Growth Projects

Brenda Stegall, Director of Program & Training Services

Veronica Vela, Director of Marketing & Communications

Andrea Wolf, Director of Public Policy

Featured Events


Areas of Expertise:

Projects & Campaigns

Act now to ensure equal opportunity in sports!

Currently, girls receive 1.25 million fewer opportunities to play high school sports than boys. It is difficult for advocates to promote fairness in high school athletic programs because high schools are not required to report any data of their athletics programs to the public. Urge your legislators to support the High School Athletics Accountability Act of 2009.

In July 2009, Girls Inc. Chief Operating Officer Dr. Marcia Brumit Kropf testified at a Congressional hearing held by the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education, a part of the Committee on Science and Technology. The hearing focused on examining current research findings, best practices, and the role of federal agencies in increasing the interest of girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in primary and secondary school.

Builds girls' skills and interest in science, math, and technology. Hands-on activities give girls the opportunity to explore, ask questions, and solve problems.
Helps girls identify ways and reasons to avoid early pregnancy. The program fosters girls' communication skills, provides basic health education, and encourages girls to plan for the future through four age-appropriate components: Growing Together, Will Power/Won't Power, Taking Care of Business, and Health Bridge.
Teaches girls to analyze what they see and hear on television, film, and video. Girls learn to advocate for images they would like to see while gaining exposure to a range of entertainment careers.
Puts teenage girls in charge of helping younger girls avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs by teaching healthy ways to confront peer pressure and manage stress.
Partners girls and women in community-action projects chosen by the girls, building leadership skills and creating lasting change.
Promotes girls' awareness of their physical safety and boundaries. Girls develop techniques for self-defense and violence prevention.


Reports & Resources

Fact Sheets

Know Your Rights: An Action Kit for Girls 

This creative action kit contains twenty-five pages of activities and resources for girls of all ages to do individually, or with family or friends, that will help them understand, value and assert their rights. The activities deal with issues such as body image, community activism, careers, healthy risk-taking, and self-discovery.

Money Matters: An Economic Literacy Kit for Girls

The exercises in this action kit will help girls develop their skills by building on the knowledge and experience they already have dealing with money. Each section provides activities for understanding how money relates to a girl's life for her to do individually, or with family or friends.

In Their Own Words: Young Women Write About Their Lives

This is a collection of poems and stories by Girls Incorporated girls and young women who write with honesty and clarity about their experiences and ideas.

Luann Becomes a Woman

This entertaining and educational booklet, which includes cartoon strips created by nationally syndicated cartoonist Greg Evans, explains menstruation as a natural and positive event in a girl's life.

I Know My Rights Poster

This portrait of a young girl was photographed by Joan Beard and created by Plowshare group. Along with the title I know my rights, is included the "Girls' Bill of Rights", alongside the frame of the young girl.

Girls' Bill of Rights Poster

This poster lists the Girls Inc.® "Girls' Bill of Rights," which was adopted by the organization in 1945. In it's vibrant green colors, it blares the importance of these rights while informing you of them as well. (Printed by Merck, produced by Nickelodeon.)

Know Your Rights: An Action Kit for Girls

This creative action kit contains twenty-five pages of activities and resources for girls of all ages to do individually, or with family or friends, that will help them understand, value and assert their rights. The activities deal with issues such as body image, community activism, careers, healthy risk-taking, and self-discovery.

Girls Incorporated Identity Brochure

With programs that are grounded in research and tested in the field, our organization celebrates and empowers girls, and advocates for an equitable world.

Choosing Community: Girls Get Together to Be Themselves

This survey - which included a nationally representative sample of 1,933 public-school students in grades 3 through 12 and a nationally representative sample of 2,447 adults - focused on the role of girls' communities in supporting girls in exercising their right to be themselves and resist gender stereotypes.

No Turning Back: Milestones for Girls in the Twentieth Century

Edith B. Phelps, former national executive director of Girls Inc., recounts the tradition of action taken by women on behalf of girls in the twentieth century. With stories of her own struggles and successes, Phelps gives the reader an inside look at an astonishing period of social change and upheaval.

Taking the Lead: Girls' Rights in the 21st Century

In this nationally representative survey about girls' rights, girls have told us that they want this world for themselves. We asked two thousand girls and boys in grades 3 through 12 to tell us what rights girls have and don't have and how those rights shape girls' lives today and their hopes for the future.

Prevention and Parity: Girls in Juvenile Justice

Gives a general perception of the juvenile system and how girls tend to be ignored. Most literature is focused on boys, and this gives an insight to what needs to be fixed and changed.

What's Equal? Figuring Out What Works for Girls In Coed Settings

This report serves as an excellent resource for parents and educators committed to creating a non-sexist learning environment in which girls and boys can explore their full potential.

Past the Pink & Blue Predicament: Freeing the Next Generation from Sex Stereotypes

This report is a review and summary of research about gender. The booklet discusses ways that boys and girls differ and ways they do not, dispelling long-held myths about our nature as human beings. Research reveals how our society's preoccupation with gender differences plays a huge role in ensuring discrimination against the women and girls of tomorrow.


Center News

Girls Inc. Board of Directors Appoints Judy Vredenburgh as President and CEO
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 3:11pm

Seasoned Youth-Development Leader to Guide 145-Year-Old Nonprofit Committed to Inspiring All Girls to Be Strong, Smart, and BoldSM.

New York, NY (April 26, 2010)-Bridgette Heller, Chair of the Board of Directors of Girls Incorporated, announced that, after an exhaustive search, the organization has appointed Judy Vredenburgh as President and CEO to replace Joyce M. Roché, who is retiring at the end of May after nearly ten years of dedicated service.  Ms. Vredenburgh will begin in her new role on June 1.

"I am thrilled that Judy is joining Girls Inc. to help us chart the course for the coming years," said Ms. Heller.  "She is a wonderful woman and has all the leadership qualities we need to guide the organization to even greater accomplishments."

Ellen Stafford-Sigg, Vice Chair of the Girls Inc. Board, chaired the Search Committee, which worked with The Phillips' Oppenheim Group to identify, review, and interview a large, diverse pool of candidates.  Ms. Vredenburgh was recommended by the Search Committee as the candidate with the qualifications best suited to the needs of the organization, and her appointment was approved by the entire Board of Directors.

Ms. Vredenburgh served as President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America from 1999 to 2009.  During that time, she led the organization in unprecedented expansion of services and revenue growth: the number of children the organization served more than doubled, from 118,000 to 255,000, and its revenue increased from $171 million to $290 million (this includes National and affiliate revenue).  Prior to BBBS, Ms. Vredenburgh was Senior VP Strategic Marketing and Revenue Development for the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.  Prior to joining the nonprofit sector, she spent over 20 years in the retail industry.  She holds an M.B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

"I am honored to have this opportunity to take over from Joyce, whom I so deeply respect and admire," said Ms. Vredenburgh, "and to lead an organization for whose work I have such a profound passion.  Throughout my career, I have mentored girls and young women as part of my personal commitment to empowering the next generation of women leaders.  It is wonderful now to have the chance to devote myself full time to the mission of inspiring girls to be strong, smart, and bold."   

"I met Judy not long after I joined Girls Inc.," reflected Ms. Roché, "and always found her to be smart, warm, and fully committed to supporting the positive development of youth.  I believe she is just the right leader for Girls Inc. as we begin a new strategic planning process that will define our direction for the coming years."

"My colleagues on the Girls Inc. Board and I are committed to redoubling our efforts to support the organization," added Ms. Heller, "to ensure a smooth leadership transition that will help deliver on the promise and the full potential of this great organization."

Girls Incorporated® is a nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and boldSM through a network of local organizations in the United States and Canada.  With local roots dating to 1864 and national status in the U.S. since 1945, Girls Inc. responds to the changing needs of girls and their communities through research-based programs and advocacy that empower girls to reach their full potential and to understand, value, and assert their rights.  In 2008, Girls Inc. reached over 900,000 girls through Girls Inc. affiliates, our website, and educational publications.

ING Foundation and Girls Inc. Launch Innovative Investment Challenge for Girls Ages 12-18
Friday, February 5, 2010 - 4:00pm

New York, NY — February 12, 2009

The ING Foundation and Girls Inc., the nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and boldSM, today announced the launch of the ING-Girls Inc. Investment Challenge — an innovative program that will give participating girls practical, hands-on investing experience while allowing them to keep their gains in the form of college scholarships.

With the help and guidance of trained Girls Inc. staff and ING employee volunteers, teams of girls ages 12-18 will build and manage diversified, real-time portfolios as part of an integrative investment- and economic-literacy curriculum.  The program will begin with a one-year pilot in New York City, Denver, and Los Angeles and Alameda counties in California.

“Smart money management — learning how to spend, save and grow your money effectively — is a critical life skill,” said Joyce M. Roché, president and CEO of Girls Inc. “But in many households, parents are not equipped to teach girls about money management.”

“The Girls Inc. Economic Literacy® program has been our most popular offering,” Roché said.  “It’s clear that girls have a keen appetite to learn more about saving and investing.  This innovative Girls Inc./ING partnership will make money management real and meaningful and will be a powerful and important adjunct to the Girls Inc. focus on economic literacy and empowerment.”

Commenting on the ING-Girls Inc. Investment Challenge, Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation and senior vice president of ING’s Office of Corporate Responsibility and Multicultural Affairs, said: “The earlier we can engage girls in the capital markets, the more likely we will be able to grow a generation of smart, empowered investors.  But it’s hard to make investing meaningful when you have nothing to invest in the first place.  For many young people, the stock market might just as well be in another galaxy.  That’s why we think the investment challenge is so powerful; girls are not just observers of the stock market but participants, who will, presumably, reap the economic rewards of their efforts.” 

How It Will Work
Teams of 13 to 16 girls in the four cities have completed eight weekly financial-literacy lessons designed to focus them on the basics of saving, investing and financial planning and to familiarize them with the investment challenge guidelines.

On March 1, the girls will begin investing with $20,000 virtual portfolios, which will be supplemented monthly over the course of the year until each team has received a total of $50,000.

The challenge is governed by a set of guidelines relating to core investing principles such as asset allocation, diversification, portfolio turnover and valuation, which are intended to encourage sound, long-term investing behaviors. To give the girls gradual exposure to the markets and to help teach and reinforce these fundamental principles, the girls will invest in mutual funds for the first six months of the challenge. After that time, they will be allowed to invest in individual securities. 

One of the important features of the challenge is that over the course of the year, each girl will be responsible for identifying, researching and presenting at least one investing idea to the team.

“The ING-Girls Inc. Investment Challenge will provide the girls with critical, early exposure to the markets and to the fundamentals of investing, but it has also been designed to give them practical, relevant experience with original research, critical thinking and oral argument. These are invaluable skills in the classroom and workplace alike,” Roché said.

“We could not have started the program at a better time,” adds Roché. “Recent market volatility will underscore for our girls the importance of selecting quality investments and of focusing on the long-term.” 

Role of the ING Employee Volunteers

Another distinguishing characteristic of the program is the regular involvement of ING employee volunteers, who play an integral role as teachers, mentors, and role models. 

ING employees assist trained Girls Inc. professionals in delivering the curriculum, guiding the girls in making investment decisions and ensuring that each team abides by the investing guidelines.  Importantly, while the Girls Inc. staff and ING employees will be there to advise the teams, the girls will make all investing decisions.

“A core focus of the ING Foundation is the financial empowerment of underserved populations — a focus we’ve adopted because we feel the need is urgent, and we have the expertise and resources to help.” Mims said.  “But merely writing checks is not going to produce the type of sustained, long-term community empowerment to which we aspire.  Our employees — with time and expertise — will play a critical role in educating, encouraging and empowering these young women.”
The Payout
All portfolios will be managed and tracked using a state-of-the-art online-trading platform that will allow the ING-Girls Inc. Investment Challenge participants to track their performance, absolutely and relative to the other challenge teams.

After three years, 75% of any gains in the portfolio will be paid by the ING Foundation to the girls in the form of Girls Inc. scholarships for post-secondary education; 25% of the gains will be given to the local Girls Inc. affiliate to support local programming.  The original $50,000 principal will then be re-assigned to the incoming team.

In addition to portfolio performance, a confidential survey of participants will also be used to assess and enhance the impact of the program. 

“This is an ambitious and important initiative,” said Mims. “Financial literacy is one of the biggest issues facing American youth today, especially among multicultural girls. We make investing way more complex and intimidating than it needs to be.  Innovative advocacy programs like the ING-Girls Inc. Investment Challenge open up the world of investing, financially empowering young women who might not get exposure to investing basics at home or in school.”

“There is tremendous enthusiasm for the ING-Girls Inc. Investment Challenge here at Girls Inc. and among our participating affiliates,” said Marcia Kropf, COO of Girls Inc. “This program gives Girls Inc. girls a running head start while pointing them down a path to post-secondary education.  It is a shining example of a public-private partnership between organizations with a common cause, high mutual respect and complementary skill sets.”


Opportunities, Grants & Fellowships

Girls Incorporated Lucile Miller Wright Scholars Program

The Scholars Program was created in 1992 when Lucile Miller Wright, a long-time supporter of Girls Incorporated, made a bequest from her estate to fund scholarships expressly for young women members.

Since 1993, Girls Inc. has awarded $2.58 million in scholarships to 413 high school women. Multiple scholarships ($2,500 and $15,000) are awarded each year and may be applied to tuition and expenses at any accredited 2- or 4-year college or university. This is a private scholarship, open only to young women who are in the 11th or 12th grade and who are members of a Girls Incorporated affiliate.

The purpose of the Scholars Program is to make post-secondary education more accessible by offsetting the financial costs. Our goal is to inspire members to succeed in school and to consider a broad range of career possibilities.