CL16 Girls with Kontji

Thanks again and again for making last week's Celebration Luncheon a real success and a real celebration! We still can't get over how much fun we had. Of course, with friends like you, the day was destined to go down in history!

Roughly 600 people joined us at the Pipkin Building to eat, share, laugh and mark our 70th year of service to girls in Memphis and the Mid-South. We honored three strong, smart and bold role models and lots of exceptional girls and young women.

And YOU honored us--you stepped up as champions for girls by raising $24,200 for STEM programming during our luncheon investment challenge. WAY TO GO!

There's still an opportunity to give to this challenge - our goal was $30,000, so if you didn't take part or would like to do more, here's your chance! Give now! 

Want to see more photos like the one above featuring our award-winning girls with Lisa Moore and WMC's Kontji Anthony? Check out this Facebook album!
Of course, none of this would have been possible without the generosity of our sponsors - we are grateful for each and every one!
 1655 swoosh  FedEx  I Bank Stacked BuckmanCares Logo 2800229 Guss Cummins Inc. print logo iplogo large

Abbey Bratcher, Knack Photo

Baker Donelson

Baptist Memorial Healthcare

Barnhart Crane & Rigging Co.

Café Society

Choate’s Air Conditioning, Heating
& Plumbing

Churchill Studios

Claudia Haltom

Deano Orr, International Paper

Denise Wood, FedEx Corporation

Dottie Berry, FedEx Services

First Tennessee

Gaskill Strategies

Gloria R. Boyland, FedEx Corporation

Green Mountain Technology

Happy Jones

Jasmine Pree-Hameth, International Paper

Judy Edge, FedEx Corporation

Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance, LLC

Mass Mutual



Memphis Wellesley Club

Ménage Fine Stationary & Gifts

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

National Civil Rights Museum

Pinnacle Financial Partners

Shelby County Commissioner, Mark Billingsley

Susan Plunkett

Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis

Special thanks to our corporate volunteers:
Cummins, Inc.
International Paper
Mass Mutual

Jennifer BrooksDespite a recent increase in the number of young women with successful careers in fields based in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM),  just 14 percent of engineers today are women.

Lucky for scores of Mid-South girls, one of those women is Jennifer Brooks.

Three years ago Jennifer, a product specialist with Medtronic in Memphis, led an effort to start a local robotics competition for young people using Lego Mindstorms kits. The first competition drew three teams. The winner was the only all-girl, non-school team from Girls Inc. Twenty teams competed in year two, mentored by Jennifer and other engineers. The winner was - you guessed it - a Girls Inc. team!

This year's competition will welcome 30 teams from across the Mid-South - four of them from Girls Inc.

Jennifer says her interest in math and science doesn't run in the family. But her parents supported her interest and she was exposed to activities that put her on the path to becoming an engineer. She went on to earn an undergraduate degree in engineering and a masters in biomedical engineering and has worked for six years at Medtronic.

“Coming up in engineering school, I was often the only girl in class,” Jennifer says. “I want to be able to move that needle. And Girls Inc. is doing a great job with that."

With help from volunteers like Jennifer, Girls Inc. of Memphis is working to move that needle. In addition to her time, Jennifer was recently among five Medtronic employees nationwide to receive the company’s volunteer award, which allowed her to direct a $5,000 grant to Girls Inc.

In the United States, 74% of girls express interest in STEM subjects in middle school. But by high school, only .3 percent of girls plan to major in computer science. 

For girls, a career in STEM can present them the opportunity to change the world. It is also a step in the right direction towards achieving wage equality. The wage gap for women in STEM fields is 86 cents of a man’s earnings, compared to 78 cents for all careers combined. The difference in salary can lead to women losing hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetime.

Right here in Memphis, Girls Inc. is working to introduce more girls to STEM through hands-on, minds-on programs and experiences that girl with robotbuild their skills and confidence in math and science. In an exciting and supportive environment, girls put those skills to the test through critical problem solving, seeing STEM play out in real life. In addition, girls have the opportunity to build relationships with trusting mentors, who act as role models and encourage them to pursue careers in fields they would have not otherwise considered. (Read more about our EUREKA! program.)

Jennifer's travel schedule means she's focused more this year on curriculum and coordinating the 40 volunteer mentors working with this year's teams. But she's served as a mentor for Girls Inc. teams in the past.

It’s fun to watch the girls progress," she said. "It’s pretty daunting when they see what they have to do and have to learn. But as mentors, we help them break what they have to do into pieces - one piece at a time. As they progress, they get more confidence in their coding. And they become more confident in their abilities."

Thank you, Jennifer, Medtronic and all the mentors who are helping Girls inc. encourage girls to be strong, smart, bold---and STEM literate!


Miles TamboliOur very own Youth Farm manager, Miles Tamboli, is the feature of a recent Q & A on The Dean's List, a local blog that's part of the Make Memphis website. 

Here's a snippet from the introduction - "Miles is an obvious choice for The Dean’s List.  In conversation, he transitions easily from conversations ranging from health inequality to the importance of honeybees in food production to the twelve hens and a rooster he keeps in his backyard.  He views his urban farming program as a new norm in fighting for justice, one that tackles blight, unemployment, and women’s equality.  Miles is an important part of the future landscape for nonprofit entrepreneurship in Memphis, and his unique vision for tackling important issues in Memphis sets him apart."

We couldn't agree more! Read the whole post here - and while you're there check out more profiles by Kevin Dean and all the great work being chronicled on the Make Memphis site.

Tyria Isom1

A Memphis-area bank and two local non-profits are preparing to make another investment in the education of Mid-South girls.

Applications for the Step Ahead Scholarship are being accepted now through April 15. Now in its third year, the program will once again award $100,000 in scholarships to girls and young women with plans to continue their studies beyond high school.

The scholarship is a collaborative effort of A Step Ahead Foundation and Girls Inc. of Memphis. BankTennessee manages the scholarship program, which is for young women committed to making a positive impact on the Memphis area by encouraging academic success and effective life planning.

For Terriney Gipson, a former Girls Inc. participant and a past recipient, college was not a guaranteed part of her future—but it was something she wanted.

“This program,” Terriney said, “has been a tremendous support, and because of it I am a Psychology major with a minor in Social Work at East Tennessee State University.”

Ingram Stovall said her award made her aware of the fact that she was a role model for other young women.

“That inspired me to keep going,” she said. “It lifted a weight off of my mother’s shoulders and allowed me to make it through my final year of school with no serious expenses. I’m forever grateful to A Step Ahead and I cannot wait to see the impact that they will continue to make on the lives of young women.”

The scholarship program—available to any female Shelby County resident aged 17 to 30 with plans to attend an accredited university, community college, licensed career college or technical school—has awarded $200,000 in the last two years. Out of 40 applications the first year, 14 girls received awards. In year two there were nearly 90 applicants and 21 recipients.

A Step Ahead CEO Claudia Haltom says helping girls like Terriney and Ingram set and achieve goals is what the scholarship is all about.

“Being able to attend and complete college is so important to the women in our community,” Haltom said. “We want to empower all women to achieve their hopes and dreams.”

Both Girls Inc. and A Step Ahead are focused on encouraging the educational advancement and leadership development of young women in the Memphis area, says Girls Inc. president and CEO Lisa Moore,

“This scholarship is a collaborative way we can make a positive impact on our community while advancing our respective missions,” Moore said. "Both our organizations are invested in equipping girls and women to be healthy, educated and economically self-sustaining adults."

Multiple scholarships of at least $2,000 will be awarded from a $100,000 fund. Awards will be based on strength of application and estimated financial need. Each award is a one-time, annual scholarship—but recipients are encouraged to maintain good academic status and reapply each year as needed.

Preference will be given to applicants who intend to use their education to help the community, and who express a desire to lower rates of teen and unplanned pregnancy in the greater Memphis area.

For more information and to download the application, click here.


Empowering girls and a new generation of women leaders is the global civil rights issue of our time. It takes a village to unlock a girl’s tomorrow in today’s world. Girls Inc. is one of the critical keys to opening that door for thousands of Memphis girls. I am a proud supported because I believe that it is men who have to step up when it comes to the current plight and future hopes of all the girls within our reach. - Rabbi Micah Greenstein
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