Welcome to Legacy Bridges
Here, you can read about how together, we are helping girls cultivate the skills and connections they need to lead in their own communities and globally. We hope you enjoy reading about some of the ways building a strong foundation for young women can become part of your life story. Visit our website to learn how you can invest in the potential of girls so that may dream big and do bigger for generations to come.
Paying Forward Opportunities for Girls
Lynn Mack-Costello and Joe Costello’s legacy of supporting future generations of girls
“When Joe and I had daughters, his fate was sealed because I was so involved with Girl Scouts,” Lynn Shares. Recognizing the importance of Girl Scouts in shaping not only her career, but also of their daughters, the two have decided to pay it forward so that future generations of girls will have access to the experiences and opportunities that Girl Scouts provides.
Read more about Lynn and Joe's passion for Girl Scouts
When Lynn Mack Costello was in the third grade, her mom decided to form a Brownie troop. Ever since, Girl Scouts has been a part of her life. Today, when friends and family ask about her continued involvement she explains that “this is my chance to pay forward the opportunities I had as a girl and hopefully make a difference in girls’ lives.”
As a former Girl Scout and mom of two daughter, starting her own Girl Scout troop seemed unlikely due to her career as a full-time litigation attorney. But it was something she always wanted to do, and she figured out a way to be a leader of both of her girls’ troops. Almost thirty years later, she’s still loving her participation. Empowering girls is so important to Lynn and Joe, that when the two sat down to create their estate plan, choosing to support Girl Scouts was an easy decision.
“Joe appreciates our girls’ involvement in Girl Scouts. The programming instilled a lot of positive values in them, and they were exposed to experiences that we as parents wouldn’t necessarily have been able to afford,” shares Lynn.
As for Lynn, she loves seeing the “Aha!” moments in the faces of girls as they build courage, confidence and character. She says, “If this organization has made a difference in your life, then you can certainly imagine how much of a difference that can make for another girl. You can change her life. I know it sounds trite but it’s so easy to make an impact, either at the council level or the national level. It may also help your kids or beneficiaries by reducing their taxes too!”
She wishes that more people internalize the value of girl-only programming, not just for elementary girls but for those in junior and high school as well. As the world’s largest leadership organization for girls, being involved in Girl Scouts gives girls the opportunity to find their own voice, try something new, and to develop abilities and even fail— all in a safe place. They gain-decision making and life skills that will assist their development into womanhood. As Lynn says, “It is just so rewarding seeing how individual girls respond to the experiences and what they go on to do. I’ve seen so many of those girls grow into young professionals — it’s just amazing.”
When she’s not volunteering at Girl Scouts, you can find Lynn volunteering for our church, gardening, curling up with a good book, and quilting.
A Silver Project Drives Legislation
In 2021, California passed a law requiring public schools to provide free menstrual products for schools serving grades 6 through 12. But for Inland Empire Girl Scouts from Troop 76, that law didn’t go far enough, and should include younger girls as well. They turned that idea into action and proposed a new bill to extend the program to girls in grades 3 to 5. In March of 2023, The Girl Scouts Period Equity Act, AB 230, passed with unanimous support from the State Assembly Education Committee.
Read more about how Jilian and Ava's saw a need and advocated for a solution.
“This started with us working on our Silver project to provide period kits to students in elementary schools,” said Jillian Mendoza, one of the two Girl Scouts behind the bill. “We want younger girls to feel prepared and we want to normalize periods for them. If they do not have menstrual products available, it will affect their ability to focus in school.”
“This project is important to us because we started our periods at a young age,” said Ava Firnkoess, the other Troop 76 Girl Scout working to get AB 230 into law. “I have another friend who also started at a young age. She had to use toilet paper and paper towels because she did not have access to menstrual products. We think young students who start their periods need to have access to products, not just those who start in 6th grade or later.”
The group engaged with Majority Leader Reyes who introduced the bill. “Recent data shows a trend toward an earlier menstruation and it is critical that, when young students need menstrual products, they be free and accessible to them,” said Majority Leader Reyes. “AB 230 is very special to me because of the local Girl Scouts who came up with this idea and are continuing to advocate for it. I want to congratulate Ava and Jillian on their strong testimony today and look forward to their continued efforts as the bill moves through our Legislature.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data shows a trend toward earlier onset of menstruation, with 10% of one 2020 study’s participants reaching this milestone before age 10. Although reasons are not yet fully understood, early menstruation in the study occurred more commonly in Latino and Black participants, as well as lower income communities.
Now, the bill advances for a vote in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Just as importantly, the Girl Scouts are empowered by their effort and have contributed to the health and well being of girls now and into the future.
Two Easy Ways to Give
You can invest in future generations of world changers with these two easy ways to give.
It’s easy to put your bank accounts, retirement funds, savings bonds, and more to make a positive difference in the lives of girls — and it costs nothing now. You can name Girl Scouts USA, or your local council as a beneficiary of these assets.
Read more about these simple ways to give.
One of the easiest ways you can help girls bring their dreams to life well into the future is by naming Girl Scouts of the USA and/or your local council as a beneficiary of your retirement account. Leaving a lasting legacy this way is really as simple as filling out a form. It’s a tax-smart way to transfer funds tax free which means Girls Scouts will be able to realize the full value of your gift.
Click here to learn more about how to designate Girl Scouts of the USA or a council as a beneficiary.
Another way donors like you choose to support our mission for years to come is through a Qualified Charitable Distribution, or QCD. If you are 70 1/2 years old or older and find that you don’t need your IRA retirement savings as much as you once thought, a QCD may be a good option for you. Benefits to using your IRA for charitable giving may include lowering your taxable income, counting the distribution toward your Required Minimum Distribution, and providing support programs that teach girls to take action and make a difference in the world.
If you’re interested in this popular way to support Girl Scouts USA, or your local council, click here to learn more how it works.
Taking the Planned Giving Message on a World Tour
Dianne Belk and Lawrence Calder visit Girl Scout programs in Europe and Asia.
The two donors have a mission to knock down barriers that young women face in achieving equality. Previously, their efforts have focused on the United States, but in 2023, they took their message across the globe.
Read more of Dianne and Lawrence's world tour
In 2012, Dianne became the Founding Chair of the Juliette Gordon Low Society, formed by GSUSA especially to thank and honor those who make Girl Scouts part of their wills and estate plans. Since then, Dianne has volunteered her time by leading the Juliette Gordon Low Society’s growth from 348 members in 2011 to over 4,000 members today. She and her husband Lawrence Calder have visited or spoken with every council in the Movement about the powerful effect of planned giving.
Now, Dianne Belk and Lawrence Calder are taking their efforts to knock down barriers that young women face in achieving equality on a world tour. They are visiting a variety of Girl Scouts Overseas programs. An operating unit of Girl Scouts of the USA, USA Girl Scouts Overseas (USAGSO) ensures that no matter where American families move, they will have access to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.
With visits to Rome, Italy and Lisbon, and Portugal, they connected with volunteers and girl members, learning about the USAGSO and the important role it plays in these young women’s lives.
Later this year, they look forward to working with USAGSO staff and volunteers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Bangkok, Thailand, and Singapore.
Whether a family relocates with a corporation, the military, an embassy, or missionary services, a girl must leave all her friends, her faith community, her grandparents and everything that is familiar to her…yet she can still remain active in the U.S. Girl Scout organization through its overseas branch. Belonging to a familiar, reputable group gives girls the security of knowing that they’ll have an instant group of friends when they reach their new home.
“Truly, ours is a circle of friendships, united by our ideals.” – Juliette Gordon Low
JOIN THE JULIETTE GORDON LOW SOCIETY TODAY
Carry on the legacy of our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, and make Girl Scouts a beneficiary of your estate plans when you become a member of this special group of supporters.
Members of this dedicated group are recognized as a member of the Society, receive invitations to special events hosted by Girl Scouts, get updates about the work of Girl Scouts, and are making a lasting impact on our mission.