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Diversity has been a core value of Girl Scouts since its founding in 1912. At a time of segregation and before laws promoting civil rights were passed, our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, ensured that African-American, American Indian and Hispanic girls were able to become Girl Scouts. She led efforts to make Girl Scouting available to girls who lived in rural and urban areas, to girls who were rich, middle class and poor, and to girls who were born in this country as well as immigrants.
The foundation of diversity that Juliette Gordon Low established runs throughout Girl Scouting to this day. Our mission to build "girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place" extends to all girls of this nation. More than 890,000 volunteers work every day to ensure that our outreach, volunteer systems and resources work toward making Girl Scouting available to every girl who is willing to embrace the Promise and Law. Today, Girl Scouts reaches girls in urban, rural, low-income and public housing communities, and girls whose mothers are in prison or who are themselves living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, foster care and domestic violence shelters. We have a long history of adapting activities to girls who have disabilities, special needs, and chronic illnesses.
As a core value, diversity is a critical component of our volunteer, employee and governance systems. To reach girls from different backgrounds, we strive for a volunteer base that reflects this nation's diversity. We have programs to recruit and retain volunteers from across our nation who have the ability and passion to positively affect the lives of girls in diverse communities. Similarly, we need access to the best employee talent that the nation has to offer. Accordingly, we seek diversity at all levels of our employee population, especially in its leadership. Our National Board Development Committee works to ensure that the Girl Scout National Board of Directors reflects the nation's diversity. The board continually assesses Girl Scouts' progress in promoting diversity throughout the organization. Local boards of directors and their nominating committees make similar attempts to ensure that their boards reflect the diversity of our society.
In 1956, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described Girl Scouts as "a force for desegregation."
As we face a complex and rapidly changing 21st century, our nation needs all girls to reach their full potential. Over the course of their lives, the lessons learned in Girl Scouting will help girls contribute more to their families and communities as well as the nation's workforce and leadership. We are proud of what Girl Scouting has done for so many girls across the spectrum of our nation's communities. However, we need to continue to raise the bar and increase our efforts to ensure that girls of every background, racial/ethnic group, socioeconomic group, ability and geography have access to the numerous benefits of Girl Scouting.
Girl Scouts' passion for diversity and the efforts made by thousands of volunteers and employees, brings the benefits of our programs to all girls. We are excited to have the opportunity to work with our volunteers, our board and our employee teams across the country to do everything possible to make Girl Scouts an organization that every girl has access to. Please join us in supporting our dreams and making them into reality.