Celebrating International Day of the Girl: Powering Tomorrow's Leaders

“Women and girls can lead us to a fairer future...let us amplify girls’ voices, and recommit to working together to build a world where every girl can lead and thrive."

-UN Secretary-General António Guterres

International Day of the Girl, celebrated each year on October 11th, is a global observance dedicated to recognizing the boundless potential and aspirations of girls worldwide. It is a day that invites us to reflect upon the unique challenges girl-identifying youth face and reaffirm our unwavering commitment to providing them with the support and resources they need to navigate these obstacles and thrive. The Ann Bancroft Foundation understands the profound importance of this day and its role in shaping a more equitable world.

Why International Day of the Girl Matters

International Day of the Girl was established by the United Nations to draw attention to the challenges faced by girls globally. From limited access to education to gender-based violence to mental health challenges, girls often face unique barriers to achieving their dreams. By designating a day to focus on these issues, we raise awareness, spark conversations, and take action to create a brighter future for girls, including those throughout Minnesota.

The Power of Her:

Education, skills development, mentorship, and ongoing personal growth initiatives are powerful change instruments. The Ann Bancroft Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that girl-identifying youth have access to these opportunities to unleash their boundless potential and innate power. Last year, on this day, we introduced the Trailblazer Fellowship program, aimed at deepening our support of girls in 9th-12th grade as they make critical decisions that will shape their futures. Here are two of our Trailblazer Fellows who demonstrate incredible determination and resilience. 

Isabelle's Story: Center of our Solar System

"Even though trials may weigh me down, I will continue to look beyond myself and smile, because the world needs more joy. People need to be reminded that life is good and friends are near. Our individual solar systems are far more interesting and purposeful if we share them with others."

-Isabelle, 2023 Trailblazer Fellow

Listen to Isabelle's full story!

Bukunmi's Story: Making History

"In order to imagine a better world, making history means being there for someone when they feel down, working hard even when things get tough, helping one another, and continuously striving for greatness."

-Bukunmi, 2023 Trailblazer Fellow

Listen to Bukunmi's full story!

Ann's Story- Pushing the Envelope

"When you've had that sense of accomplishment, you want to share it with somebody. I guess that's why explorers come home. We want to tell the tales."

-Ann Bancroft, Polar Explorer, Educator, and Founder of the Ann Bancroft Foundation

In Case You Missed It: Trailblazer Fellows Share Their Stories [Video]

"I'm proud of myself for being passionate about something and acting on it. If something is pushing you outside your comfort zone, that's a good thing.That's the place where growth happens."

-Sierra, 2023 Trailblazer Fellow

As we commemorate International Day of the Girl, these stories remind us of the remarkable potential within each girl-identifying youth. They underscore our shared commitment to nurturing their dreams, providing opportunities, and, in doing so, contributing to a world where every girl can realize her full potential. Together, we can forge a more equitable, promising future for all.

Happy International Day of the Girl!

Additional Resources and Links

Powering Girls' Futures: A Call to Action

Today also coincides with Give to Women and Girls Day, an initiative from the Women’s and Girl’s Index to increase funding for women’s and girl’s organizations. According to research by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, less than 2% of total charitable giving in the United States is allocated to organizations dedicated to women and girls. This fact highlights a pressing need to channel more resources toward initiatives empowering and uplifting half of our population.

Exciting Partnership with the Ann Bancroft Foundation: The PowHER Partners

We are excited to share that we have joined forces with a dynamic collective of both long-standing and new supporters, the PowHER Partners, to help us raise $70,000 by October 31st. The ABF PowHER Partners are inspirational women leaders who believe that all girls in Minnesota deserve the tools and support essential for success. These generous women already committed over $50,000! Every dollar will help fund our next round of Trailblazer grants, the 2024 fellowship and additional programming.

The ABF PowHER Partners are inspirational women leaders who believe that all girls in Minnesota deserve the tools and support essential for success. 

Stay tuned as we introduce you to additional PowHER Partners later in October. We hope you are inspired by their stories of dedication, generosity, and unwavering commitment to gender equity. These women ask you to join them today, in honor of Give to Women and Girls Day, and jointly provide girls the tools for success. Together, with your support, we can continue to create opportunities and amplify the voices of girls and women in Minnesota. 

Join the Campaign Today

Meet our First Set of Inspiring PowHER Partners

Andy Steiner-Manning

Andy is an award-winning freelance writer, author, and editor.

Q: What should girls know about your story of success?

A: Sometimes good things come out of even the toughest situations. I once lost a job but found an amazing career opportunity. 

Q: Why should others join the ABF PowHER Partners this October and support this campaign?

A: When you join this campaign, you will have an opportunity to support a new generation of leaders, to give girls an opportunity to flex their muscles to try new things. Your financial support of ABF is a vote for the next generation of leaders.

Read the full profile
Read the full profile

Reham Habib

Reham is currently the Vice President of Brand Partnerships and Business Development at Target.

Q: What has been instrumental to your professional success?

A: So many things! Self-belief, determination, resilience, curiosity, strong work ethic and the ability to get along with people from all sorts of backgrounds, ability to adapt to any circumstance.  

Q: Why should others join the ABF PowHER Partners this October and support this campaign?

A: You have the power to impact and change lives through this foundation in a very direct, tangible way.  It’s incredibly important for me to know how my contribution is being used and ABF does an incredible job of supporting girls across MN.

Janet Stellpflug

Janet is a partner at Ropers Majeski, an international law firm.

Q: Why do you support the Ann Bancroft Foundation?  

A: Opportunities for girls and young women leads to a more balanced society which benefits the entire world.

Q: Why should others join the ABF PowHER Partners this October and support this campaign?

A: The work of ABF helping girls and young women feel respected and supported is invaluable to their later success. 

Read the full profile

Stay tuned for more PowHER Partners profiles through October!

Read more about the PowHER Partners Campaign
Support the PowHER Partners Campaign

Updates and Reminders

Apply for the Trailblazer Fellowship

The Ann Bancroft Foundation Trailblazer Fellowship is now open! Previous ABF grantees who are in 9th-12th grade can apply for second grant to further their possibilities. This grant, up to $2,500, can help girl-identifying youth have the tools to envision and pursue their post high-school goals.

Have questions about your application? Read advice from previous Trailblazer Fellows in their own words.

Ameyir Freeman

Ameyir used her Trailblazer Fellowship grant to tour Historically Black College or Universities (HBCU's) out of state. She is inspired by her sister, who studied journalism at an HBCU and is now in law school.

"My advice to a future Fellow is to put yourself out there, tell your story, be brave and be truthful."

Margaret Spray

Margaret’s dream is for her family band to play at music festivals. She used the Fellowship grant to produce music videos. Margaret plays the acoustic and electric guitar in her family band. 

"I think Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, 'the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.'"

Anuskha Kollengode

Using an ABF grant in 2021, Anushka published an app called Green3 that helps people dispose of litter responsibly. With the Trailblazer Fellowship, she purchased hardware and software to work towards her passion of harnessing the power of technology.

"If you have a positive mindset then you can do anything you believe."

Apply to the fellowship
Sign Up Here

Empowering Her Financial Future with Old National Bank- October 26th

Financial literacy is an essential life skill that empowers individuals to make informed and confident financial decisions. Through this workshop, girls will gain tools and knowledge they need to begin building habits for a strong financial foundation. Join Joannette Cintrón, Community Development & Outreach Officer at Old National Bank, for financial advice targeted toward teens and young adults.

Participants will set financial frameworks that align with their personal goals and learn how this knowledge can help them achieve their dreams.

Thank you for supporting ABF! With our Trailblazer Fellowship, girls in Minnesota can imagine better futures. Join our PowHER Partners campaign to expand what is possible for girls across the state.

Join the Campaign