When the leaves begin to fall, the whiteboards come out and brainstorming ensues for the members of Girl Power Grants. Each year, they have one simple goal in mind: make a difference in their community. Since 2015, this collective of teenage girls has been doing just that.
Girl Power Grants (GPG) is a giving circle nonprofit organization for 13-18-year-old girls on a mission to give back. Annually, the organization rounds up close to 100 girls who then raise $50-$100 each. The members then pool their funds and nominate potential nonprofits to dedicate their combined earnings.
GPG encourages female empowerment by giving members the autonomy and power to decide how to make a difference in their community. To ensure inclusive participation, the organization provides a pay-what-you-can membership policy. Members are encouraged to participate in meetings and events, but they are allowed to be as hands-on or hands-off as they choose.
Sisters Make It Happen
Inspired by Impact100, a fellow giving circle organization for older women, Morgan Rhudy founded GPG at age 13 in hopes of forming a similar space for young girls with a giving heart like hers. Over eight years, the collective has donated over $78,000 to 15 Richmond nonprofits.
From 2019-2020, middle sister Hannah Rhudy held the chief title, gracefully leading the organization during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continuing to pass down the torch, the initiative is now impassionedly led by youngest sibling Addison Rhudy.
Before her induction, Executive Director Addison Rhudy spent her childhood observing her elder siblings’ lead. She sat in on meetings, often bringing along Barbie dolls to keep her company as the devoted teens worked through important matters.
“I didn’t get it, but I just knew these girls were fiery,” Addison said.
Eventually, she began to share a voice in the process. She assisted in tasks like recruiting and event planning, unintentionally preparing herself for a rise through the ranks.
The Process of Giving
When selecting which nonprofits to nominate, they search for small organizations advocating for causes that affect or inspire them. Over the years, GPG has supported groups fighting pediatric cancer, homelessness and other similar movements.
At the annual celebration, known as the “Big Give,” GPG members reveal which nonprofits among the finalists will receive grants.
Last May, GPG celebrated its 7th annual Big Give event at Hope Church. At the event, members from all five branches came together to vote for its 2023 grant winners. First-place winner Our Amazing Fighters took home $5,000, while runner-up Autism Society of Central Virginia was awarded a $2,000 grant.
Despite the event’s smooth sailing, planning the annual celebration is no easy feat.
“There’s a lot of logistics when running a nonprofit,” the 15-year-old executive director explains. Whether she’s picking up streamers or emailing dozens of members in one day, there is usually something to be done.
“It can be a lot, but the moving parts are really what makes it beautiful when it all unites,” Rhudy said.
As the trailblazing nonprofit matures, it continues to become more independent. Despite the occasional proofreading from a parent or two, the troop of teenage girls functions without parental guidance.
Building Lasting Bonds & A Passion for Service
While GPG’s impact is nothing short of exceptional, the girls make it clear that they’re still normal teenagers. From curling each other’s hair to pouring out their hearts to Taylor Swift, the young ladies have formed a sisterhood.
With graduation only a few years away for Addison, GPG’s future is yet to be determined.
Addison hopes to see the nonprofit raise $100,000 before her time is up. The young director is also eager to add more branches across the state. The organization is always ushering in younger members in hopes of passing the torch down when the time comes.
For those looking to make an impact in their community, Addison suggests starting by finding your niche.
“Having a [heart for service] doesn’t have one conventional definition,” Addison said. “You can show up in so many different ways.”
Learn how to support Girl Power Grants here.