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July 12, 2012

Girl Guides, Girl Scouts and Alcoa Foundation Partner to Create a Global Environmental Initiative

Girls Across the Globe Unite to Impact the Environment

NEW YORK--In celebration of the Girl Scouts 100th anniversary, Girl Scouts USA (GSUSA) and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) in partnership with Alcoa Foundation announces the launch of Together Greening. This program “twins” 20 Girl Scouts councils in the U.S. and 20 Girl Guide or Girl Scout groups in 11 countries around the world to work together on projects focused on making a significant impact on the environment.

Over the course of two years, the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts will identify, lead and take action on environmental projects including reducing waste, creating rain gardens, reducing CO2 emissions, combating climate change and countering the loss of biodiversity.

"Twinning enhances mutual understanding and sharing of ideas and learnings across the globe," said Nadine el Achy, Chair, WAGGGS World Board. "WAGGGS, its Member Organizations and Girl Scouts USA are harnessing its members' passion and experience in creating environmentally sustainable communities to deliver an ambitious global project that will positively impact the lives of tens of thousands of girls and young women around the world."

The girls will be connected through a “digital diary” to which they will post entries about what is going on in their city. This “diary” will not only provide a way for each of the girls to share their impacts on the environment, but also learn about what their partners across the globe are doing. In addition, it will allow friends, family and the global community to take part in this program and witness all of the amazing work the girls are doing. The Together Greening “diary” can be found at http://togethergreening.tumblr.com.

The Together Greening Program is funded by a US$1.5 million Alcoa Foundation grant, which will support GSUSA’s 100th Year Anniversary program, Girl Scouts Forever Green, and WAGGGS’ global “Girls can save our planet” initiative. It is estimated that more than 25,000 people worldwide will be involved in the program including more than 600 Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, 7,500 of their friends and 24,000 members of the communities in which they live.

“This program provides a tremendous opportunity for Alcoa employees around the world, including Girl Scouts and Guides alumnae and current troop leaders, to help advance our commitment to protecting the environment with the support of these committed and passionate girls who are the next generation of environmental ambassadors,” said Paula Davis, President, Alcoa Foundation. “This program provides Girl Guides and Girl Scouts the tools and resources to create positive change in their communities, and we are excited to be a part of that.”

The Girl Scouts Forever Green 100th Anniversary ‘Take Action’ Project was created when Girl Scout research found an overwhelming number of girls said protecting the environment is a priority. This was proven during the project’s pilot years, when the national effort saved more than 1.8 million kWh of energy, eliminated more than 2.8 million pounds of CO2, eliminated more than 700,000 pounds of waste and saved nearly 200,000 gallons of water.

Globally, environmental issues and sustainability have consistently been identified by Girl Guides and Girl Scouts as one of the most important issues girls want to make a difference on. In a recent WAGGGS survey conducted in over 100 countries, 95 per cent of respondents worry about the environment and more than a third worry about it ALL the time. Three quarters of respondents thought children and young people were the group that should most decide what happens to our environment, more so than teachers, politicians and scientists.

“Although our girls might be famous for wearing the color green, it’s clear that they are enthusiastic about 'going green' and working to preserve our natural resources,” said Anna Maria Chávez, Chief Executive Officer, Girl Scouts of the USA. “As an organization committed to helping girls become leaders who make a difference in the world, we couldn’t ignore their passion for the environment and the generous contribution from Alcoa Foundation provides an outlet for girls to funnel their ecological energies.”

The 11 countries that will participate in the program are: Australia, Brazil, China, Guinea, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Suriname, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The 20 participating Girl Scouts councils in the U.S. are located in: Ariz., Calif., D.C., Ga., Ind., N.Y., Mich., Ohio, Pa., S.C., Texas, and Wash.

About Girl Scouts of the USA

Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls with 3.2 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouts is the leading authority on girls' healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. The organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girl Scouts of the USA also serves American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect, or donate to Girl Scouts, call (800) GSUSA 4 U or visit www.girlscouts.org.

About World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts

With ten million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from 145 countries across the world, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world. The World Association supports girls and young women to develop their full potential as responsible citizens of the world. WAGGGS focuses on leadership development and active citizenship. These are delivered through an innovative global education,community action and advocacy programs. For more information about WAGGGS, visit www.wagggs.org.

About Alcoa Foundation

Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately US$446 million. Founded more than 50 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than US$550 million since 1952. In 2011, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than US$20 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships, engaging its people to improve the environment and educating tomorrow’s leaders. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa’s (NYSE:AA) thousands of employee volunteers who share their energy, passion and purpose to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the company’s signature Month of Service program, in 2011, a record 56 percent of Alcoa employees took part in more than 1,200 events across 24 countries, reaching 81,000 children, serving 9,000 meals, planting 34,000 trees and supporting 1,800 nonprofit organizations. More information can be found at www.alcoafoundation.com.