As her Girl Scout participation grew, so did the expenses. Dianne recalls saying to her mother, “Mama, I need another chicken!” Dianne went on to earn the Gold Award – the highest award in Girl Scouts – and she became a Girl Scout for life.
Dianne notes, “My husband, Lawrence Calder, and I have lived, worked, and volunteered in four councils. As Girl Scout donors, we had been making annual gifts, buying cookies, and attending annual events. When we considered our wills and estate documents, we realized that the question for us as long time donor and supporters, wasn’t – Why would we leave a legacy gift to Girl Scouts? The question was simply – Why wouldn’t we?’”
Fast forward to 2012, Dianne was named the Founding Chair of the Juliette Gordon Low Society, which honors those who chose to remember Girl Scouts in their wills and estate plans. “When Lawrence and I decided to leave a gift in our wills to Girl Scouts, we learned that most Girl Scout councils were not actively promoting planned giving as a way for annual donors, volunteers and alums to show support of Girl Scouts. Since then, we have been eager to spread the word to let all our supporters know that they, too, can leave a meaningful gift to Girl Scouts.”
Dianne and Lawrence frequently travel throughout the Girl Scout Movement to advocate for planned giving and they are often asked why. In response, Dianne shares the impact that Girl Scouts had on her life; “As a farm girl from very limited means and even fewer options, Girl Scouts was my ticket to exploring the world’s opportunities. One memorable exploration was a trip down the Mississippi River on an old steamboat with 500 Girl Scouts from the Mississippi/Arkansas/Tennessee area. So many “firsts”—all of them made even more special by the camaraderie with Girl Scout sisters. I was forever changed.”
Memories like these remind Dianne that she owes much of her success in life to her 12 years in Girl Scouts and its impact on her goals, values, and character.
“So many “firsts”—all of them made even more special by the camaraderie with Girl Scout sisters. I was forever changed.”
In 2017, this concept of giving back and leaving a legacy for future generations turned into a thoughtful and inspiring plan with the announcement of the Dianne Belk and Lawrence Calder Girl Scout Movement-wide Planned Giving Challenge. This ground-breaking challenge inspired 834 new planned gifts that benefit Girl Scouts across the country, with a total impact exceeding $30 million. Dianne and Lawrence made irrevocable gifts to each of the 102 councils that met the challenge.
Dianne’s message to Girl Scout supporters all over the world is: “My husband and I invite all Girl Scout supporters to join us in the Juliette Gordon Low Society as donors to this vital and demonstrably effective organization. And when you do, we encourage you to tell your council or Girl Scouts of the USA about your intent so we can thank you and honor you!”