President Edeth James’ Quote of the Day:  “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” – Mother Teresa
President-Elect Charlie Longbella led today’s meeting in President Edeth’s absence.
Check your email for this week’s important Rotary dates or, if you prefer, download them here.
Geoff Hollimon reported that the Suburban Ramsey Emergency Coalition has received an $8,500 grant request from CPY to expand their food program this summer.
Nyle Zikmund introduced Chris Ganzlin and Jennifer Arriola from the Ann Bancroft Foundation (ABF).  The Foundation’s mission is to inspire and encourage girls to imagine something bigger.  ABF strives to build confidence in girls, enabling them to pursue their dreams.  Through grants, mentorship and ongoing development opportunities, the ABF is giving Minnesota girls strength to achieve their full potential.
The ABF was founded by Arctic and Antarctic explorer Ann Bancroft.  A Minnesota native, Ann was the first woman (as the only female member of the Will Steger International Polar Expedition) to cross the ice to the North Pole in 1986.  In 1993, Ann led the American Women’s Expedition to the South Pole, making her the first woman in history to cross the ice to both the North and South Poles.
It’s clear that Ann knows something about dreaming big dreams and then achieving them, but she admits that she would never have had the confidence to accomplish those dreams without the support and mentorship of adults when she was young.  Statistics show that by age eight, girl’s confidence and self-esteem levels begin to drop and that drop continues through the teen years.  The Ann Bancroft Foundation Grants require that a non-parent mentor support the grantee and guide her in appropriate use of the grant.  Although the grants are relatively small ($500 maximum) they have been life changing for over 5,000 Minnesota Girls.  The ABF is very intentional in its efforts to make these grants available to girls all over Minnesota and so far they have been able to make grants in 77 of Minnesota’s 87 counties, with the goal of reaching every county soon.  Grant recipients all reported increases in confidence, pride and self-advocacy as a result of their grant.  Not every application can be accepted, of course, but 97 % of applicants said that the application process helped them to put their dream into words and made the dream seem more possible.
Of course, fundraising is necessary to be able to make these grants, and ABF’s “Watch Me” Celebration is a major part of the fundraising effort.  This year’s event will once again be held virtually and you are invited to join the celebration on June 10th.  Click here for more information.