Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation Makes Grant Possible

Vicki Jacobson, Director of Philanthropy at Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois

AURORA, IL, USA, December 16, 2021. “Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois’ ‘Latina’s Taking the Lead’ program really captured our attention as a unique and needed vehicle for women’s empowerment through volunteerism leadership,” said Amy Baudouin, Board Chair, Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation (AWEF). “It empowers Aurora-area Girl Scouts as well as Latina women not traditionally involved in Girl Scouts with special leadership training so that they can take active volunteer roles in our community.”

For decades, Aurora has had a strong network of volunteers, and leadership through volunteerism is a necessity to grow and sustain a strong community. However, a relatively small number of women of color are in leadership roles in volunteer-based organizations in Aurora.

“Across our Council alone, only 4% of our adult members self-identify as Hispanic or Latina, and 1% as Black or African American, and this pattern persists in communities with more diverse populations,” said Vicki Jacobson, Director of Philanthropy at Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois (GSNI). “We have seen that having adults who reflect their community can help make our Girl Scouts programs more inviting and welcoming. The Latina’s Taking the Lead program will help us build a pipeline of potential volunteers who will lead new Girl Scout troops, becoming real agents of change by inspiring younger generations of girls.” GSNI is also planning a Black Women Taking the Lead program set to launch later in 2022.

Amy Baudouin

Vicki Jacobson

GSNI has placed three (3) AmeriCorps members in Aurora to directly deliver the leadership program to Aurora Girl Scouts and to recruit, train, and support local adult volunteers through an eight-session leadership development series. This series is designed to help Latina women develop skills and confidence of their own to better help them take on future volunteer leadership roles in Aurora.

The grant provided by AWEF will help cover the leadership programming development and delivery costs. The girls meet every week for 32 weeks; the adults will meet 8 times over that 32-week period. GSNI will provide child-care services for the participating women by Aurora Girl Scouts who have completed their babysitting coursework badge.

The leadership classes will include topics such as community leadership, community resources, career and personal development, communication skills, team building, decision making, using technology, financial literacy, building healthy habits, among others.

Based on the success of the Latina’s Taking the Lead, GSNI has plans to launch Black Women Taking the Lead in 2022.

For more information, contact Vicki Jacobson at


The Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation mission is to elevate and empower Aurora-area women and future women by making grants to tax-exempt nonprofits engaged in meaningful, measurable work that helps women over the hurdles of inequity and exclusion, propelling them forward with life-changing programs and services.  For more information about grants made by AWEF, including our grant guidelines and online application, visit

Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois (GSNI) was formed in 2009, when four Girl Scout councils merged: Girl Scouts – Fox Valley Council, Green Hills Girl Scout Council, Girl Scouts – Sybaquay Council, and Girl Scouts – Rock River Valley Council.

Today GSNI is nearly 20,000 strong—15,000 girls and 5,000 adults who believe every girl can change the world. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. GSNI provides quality resources, support, and training to 42 geographic service areas—called service units. Each service unit is made up of dedicated volunteers who act as a team to provide Girl Scout activities, events, and programs to each local community. Many service unit volunteers are also troop leaders who work directly with the girls to achieve all the benefits the Girl Scout Leadership Experience has to offer. Contact GSNIDonate to GSNI. Become a GSNI volunteer.