The Girl Scouts of America Cactus-Pine Council that serves Girl Scout troops throughout the Valley has been awarded a major grant for its Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program that benefits girls with mothers who are incarcerated.

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Foundation awarded a $114,000 grant to the Girl Scouts of America Cactus-Pine Council that will last two years and will allow the Cactus-Pine Council to increase the number of mentors for the program from 17 to 75 and double the number of girls served in the program from 75 to 150 by 2014, according to information from the Girl Scouts Cactus-Pine Council based in Phoenix.

Girl Scouts Beyond Bars works with girls whose mothers are incarcerated with the goal of breaking the intergenerational cycle of incarceration and poverty and has a holistic approach of strengthening the mother-daughter bond while building girls’ inner leadership abilities.

Girls in the program are able to see and spend time with their mothers twice a month, participate in troop activities and are supported by adult mentors.

Overall, the Pulliam Charitable Foundation awarded $1.7 million in grants to 24 nonprofit organizations throughout the state this year, according to information from the Girl Scouts of America.

“Leadership development and youth programming focused on girls and young women was of great interest to Nina Pulliam, she was a great believer in scouting and its impact on young lives,” said Nancy Russell, a trustee of the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Foundation and former Girl Scout leader.

A year after Pulliam’s death in 1997, the trust began awarding grants in the former journalist, newspaper publisher and business leader’s name and has awarded more than $93 million to 411 nonprofit organizations throughout Arizona, according to information from the Girl Scouts of Arizona’s Cactus-Pine Council.

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