This article was published as part of #GivingTuesday's #WomenWhoGive series, which celebrates women who give back in their communities.
Linda Rowan has been a resident of Bucks County, Pennsylvania for 40 years, where she has been involved with Girl Scouting for almost as long. After working in early-childhood education and elementary teaching, she spent 15 years as a school librarian. But after the school day ended, Linda always had a Girl Scout troop to serve as a volunteer. Her daughters were 12 years apart, but for both she chaperoned camping trips, drove them to meetings, and worked as troop “cookie mom,” managing each year’s biggest fundraiser.
Along the way, Linda met Peg Potterton and Katherine MacDonald, who had started the first Girl Scout troops in Croydon and Bristol, Pennsylvania before World War II. Peg and Katherine were highly regarded in the Bucks County scouting community until they both passed away in 1997.
Peg didn’t have any children of her own, but she left $700 to the Girl Scouts. The Bristol Service Unit decided to use that money to benefit girls of Bristol and Croydon who wanted to attend summer Girl Scout camp. Linda took the role of chair and has been the driving force since Founders Campership Fund was established in 1999.
Since that time, more than 100 Girl Scouts from these economically-stressed areas of lower Bucks County have received camperships. By focusing on fundraising through local sources — including the Scouting families themselves — the Founders’ Campership Fund has raised more than $10,000 to defray the fees for camp programs, which can cost more than $400 for a single week.
As an entirely volunteer-run operation, the Founders’ Campership Fund has only recently been able to focus on obtaining 501(c)3 status to support its efforts. That status has come with many benefits, like enabling the collection of donations via PayPal and through events like #GivingTuesday, and making it easier for donors to deduct their contributions from their taxes.
But the Fund still insists in every donation request and call to action: No donation is too small. Linda knows the power of modest individual contributions toward a larger goal — a lesson she likely learned in part from the guidance of the two leaders who set the stage for Girl Scouting in her area.