Cindy Monroe (center), CEO of Thirty-One Gifts, presented an endowed scholarship for the girls of Hamilton County. With her from left, Lara Ludwick, state representative Greg Martin, Wendy Bradshaw and Lisa Harvey.
Thirty-One Gifts is celebrating its tenth anniversary on Thursday by returning to Chattanooga to give back to the community where it was founded. The company Thursday announced at Hixson High School it will endow the Cindy Monroe Values and Vision Scholarship, and together with Girl Talk, announced a mentoring program and camp for middle-school girls.
The annual college scholarship is a $12,400 award, available to one girl each year in 11th or 12th grade who attends school in Hamilton County, either in private or public schools. It is allocated in $3,100 increments over the course of four years. The initial contribution to endow the fund is $31,000.
Thirty-One also is sponsoring a summer camp for middle-school girls called Project Inside Out, a program of Girl Talk, an international high school and middle school mentoring initiative. Girl Talk is bringing its program to Tennessee with the start of its first chapter in the state at Hixson High School.
Thirty-One Gifts is one of America’s largest direct-selling companies offering products that work with everyone’s lifestyle, from stylish and functional purses and totes to home organization solutions and much more, most of which can be personalized.
Cindy Monroe, CEO, a native of the Chattanooga area and graduate of Hixson High School and UTC, founded the company in Soddy Daisy in 2003. The company’s mission is to celebrate, encourage and reward women, providing an opportunity for them to achieve financial freedom, find personal fulfillment, and realize dreams through becoming successful business owners. In 2008, Thirty-One moved to Columbus, Ohio, where they are headquartered today.
“Our Chattanooga anniversary homecoming is our way of saying thank you to the community where many of our original founding employees grew up and went to school,” said Ms. Monroe. “This is where our success began, so we are sharing the many blessings we have received as a company in hopes of providing opportunities for girls here to reach their full potential.”
In 2012, the company founded Thirty-One Gives, a philanthropic initiative committed to supporting nonprofit organizations that strengthen families and empower women and girls. In their first year, Thirty-One Gives donated more than $17 million in monetary and product donations.
“We believe strong, confident girls will grow up to be strong, confident women, who are key to strong, healthy families and communities,” said Ms. Monroe. “We’ve identified Girl Talk as a national nonprofit partner dedicated to serving girls. They are a student-to-student program whose mission is to help young teen girls build self-esteem, develop leadership skills and recognize the value of community service.”
Founded in 2002 in Atlanta, Girl Talk is an international nonprofit student-to-student mentoring program led by high-school girls, with the assistance of adult volunteers, who serve as mentors to middle-school girls to help them through the challenges of middle-school life. The program includes fun and positive weekly meetings, community service projects, and friendship-building activities. The high-school girls, in turn, develop leadership skills they will carry with them throughout life.
Girl Talk has served more than 35,000 participants and currently has more than 130 active chapters in 46 states and in six countries including South Africa, Canada, England, and Marshall Islands. Thus far there have been no chapters in Tennessee.
“We are so pleased and blessed to be partners with Thirty-One,” said Girl Talk founder and Executive Director Haley Kilpatrick. “Through their help, we are able to bring this program to girls throughout the country, and now to Tennessee. We hope these first chapters are just the start of a trend that will grow throughout the state and will help empower girls to realize their abilities.”
About 450 girls attended the assembly at Hixson High School, where they learned they may apply for the first scholarship now through January 2014, and were encouraged to join the Girl Talk group at their school or start their own at a middle school, church or other location. The assembly also was attended by city and school officials and representatives from Thirty-One and Girl Talk.
Each girl attending received a thermal tote from Thirty-One’s U R U Collection, part of a product line that features personalized inspiring messages – U R Strong, U R Bold, U R True, U R U – that will deliver a boost of self-confidence every time it is used, officials said. With every purchase, 31 cents is donated to support nonprofits whose mission contributes to the empowerment of women and girls. More than $200,000 has been raised through the U R U Collection to-date.
Thirty-One Gifts was recently named the second-largest woman-owned company in central Ohio and the 18th largest direct-selling organization in the world. They have more than 1,800 employees and there are more than 135,000 independent sales consultants throughout the U.S. and in Ontario, Canada, who sell their products at home parties. The company was named for Proverbs 31, a chapter of the Bible that celebrates a woman’s strength and character.