Girls Inc. was founded in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War. Across the decades, the organization adapted to meet the specific environmental challenges facing girls and young women, always working in partnership with schools and communities, and guided by our founders’ fundamental belief in the inherent potential of each girl. Woven into those early girls’ clubs are the same core values of Girls Inc. today: the importance of creating a safe gathering place for girls to learn and to share in a sisterhood and a strong premise that each girl can develop her own capacities, self-confidence, and grow up healthy, educated and independent.


In 1973, Girls Clubs of Sarasota County was formed through the initiative of community leaders and backed by the creation of Coquille, an auxiliary, volunteer-based fundraising branch that attracted significant attention and participation from the community. This support allowed us to create a multi-use facility on Tuttle Avenue complete with a swimming pool, gymnasium, tennis courts, classrooms, library and computer lab, and it served as a safe place for girls to receive after-school enrichment programs. In 1989, following the lead of our national organization, Girls Clubs of Sarasota County became Girls Incorporated of Sarasota County. During this time, the agency began to implement the new research-based programs that had been created by the Girls Incorporated National Research Center.

I credit my self-assurance and determination to the steadfast confidence these adults had in me at such an early age. Girls Inc. has shown me that any obstacle is an opportunity to take hold of my future.

Rachel, age 18