Girl Scouts, a nonprofit that has been building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place since 1912, while RPL (pronounced “ripple”), a for-profit mentorship platform, was created in 2019. With 107 years difference between them, they created the perfect pair.

The High Awards are the highest level of achievement that a Girl Scout can reach.; Bronze Award for the Juniors (4th-5th grade), Silver Award for the Cadettes (6th-8th grade), and the Gold Award (9th-12th grade). Regardless of the age level, these awards are a result of community-based projects that improve the community. Many girls who begin the process of earning their High Awards reach out repeatedly to experts asking them to serve as mentors through this process, but often receive a very low response rate. This becomes one of the primary barriers that girls encounter.

RPL works to solve this exact problem, connecting those looking for a mentor to those who are willing, even desire, to play that role. Without RPL, the scouts are left to either those that they or their family/friends already know, which is just another barrier for many. With RPL, they can scroll through the women who are willing and able to mentor any of the scouts looking for guidance. That’s what makes this the perfect pair.

While the partnership seems extremely logical at this point, the specialized platform couldn’t be built for free. This is what our Social Innovation Grants were created for. Providing a one-time influx of dollars to help get a new program up and running. Giving this partnership a chance to thrive. And what if it does thrive? Maybe we see an increase in community projects. Maybe we start to see more women in the workplace who are already well connected and experienced project leaders. Maybe we even see this RPL partnership expand outside of our local Girl Scouts, creating change across the nation. And it all started right here in our community.

Social innovation doesn’t have to come from within. It can come through partnerships that many wouldn’t expect, like a 110-year old nonprofit partnering with a 3-year old startup company. And it may even need a $10,000 grant from a newly created Social Innovation Fund. Innovation can be difficult when done alone, but if you can get the right people together then you can solve all kinds of problems.


About United Way of East TN Highlands
Serving Washington, Carter, Johnson and Southern Sullivan Counties, our goal is to break the cycle of poverty by uniting people and resources to strengthen the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community. Our vision is to be a community united to empower every person and organization to reach their full potential and achieve more.


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