Education, Health Equity

New Profit invests in wellbeing in education through Girls Leadership

March 27, 2023

New Profit is thrilled to announce an investment of $1M in Girls Leadership as part of our Wellbeing in Education initiative. Girls Leadership is advancing changes in education through social emotional learning (SEL)-focused work, particularly for girls of color and gender-expansive youth. Unrestricted funding from New Profit is paired with tailored capacity-building support over a four-year term to help Girls Leadership deepen their impact, broaden their scale, and drive systems-level change.

Girls Leadership Logo with tagline

Girls Leadership teaches girls to exercise the power of their voice through programs grounded in social emotional learning. They provide programs for girls, workshops for families, and professional development training for teachers, guidance counselors, and non-profit staff. Girls Leadership centers gender and racial equity in their work to address the internal and external barriers to leadership development.

Girls face a myriad of social, emotional, and mental health-related challenges as they start adolescence. This is particularly true for girls of color, who also face systemic bias and are more likely to be criminalized instead of given compassion and community-based support compared to their white counterparts. A recently released report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that nearly three in five teenage girls felt persistent sadness in 2021—double the rate of boys. Nearly one in five girls included in the study also reported being cyber-bullied. The report calls on connection in school as the primary tactic to address this crisis, and that is at exactly at the center of Girls Leadership’s programmatic focus. 

Founded 14 years ago, at the start of the current mental health crisis, Girls Leadership designed belonging and wellbeing to be at the foundation of their work with girls and gender-expansive youth. Their approach takes those most impacted by this crisis, BIPOC girls and gender-expansive youth, and puts them in the driver’s seat of the solution by centering them as co-designers of the K-12 leadership curriculum. Girls Leadership then brings the learnings from this co-design process directly to teachers and staff through in-depth trainings, addressing the systems that surround the girls. Schools and districts who partner with Girls Leadership find that when the most marginalized students feel connected to peers and adults, and have the support to develop healthy and rewarding relationships, every other student in the community benefits. Girls Leadership is finding a way to bring the solution to the girls where they already are, in school and sports activities. 

Girls Leadership operates with a co-leadership model and is helmed by Simone Marean and Takai Tyler. Marean co-founded Girls Leadership in 2009 after a career in teaching. Tyler joined Girls Leadership as COO in July 2018 and became Co-CEO in July 2020. Prior to joining Girls Leadership, Takai dedicated over 25 years of her life to working with children and families in the Bayview Hunters Point community of San Francisco. As Co-CEOs, Marean and Tyler leverage the different skills, advantages, and social capital that they have to make concrete changes that strengthen the organization, such as pivoting to focus on girls of color.

To date, Girls Leadership has reached upwards of 461,000 girls (98,000 directly and 363,000 indirectly) and is on track to reach a cumulative 575,000 girls total by the end of 2023.

Stay up-to-date on and by following Girls Leadership on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, and subscribing to New Profit’s monthly newsletter

About New Profit

New Profit is a venture philanthropy organization that backs social entrepreneurs who are advancing equity and opportunity in America. New Profit exists to build a bridge between these leaders and a community of philanthropists who are committed to catalyzing their impact. New Profit provides unrestricted grants and strategic support to a portfolio of organizations led by visionary social entrepreneurs to increase their impact, scale, and sustainability. It also partners with social entrepreneurs and other cross-sector leaders to shift how government and philanthropy pursue social change to ensure that all people can thrive. Since its founding in 1998, New Profit has invested over $350M in 200+ organizations and, through the America Forward Coalition’s collective advocacy efforts, has unlocked over $1.9B in government funding for social innovation. Learn more at


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Nikhil Gehani

Partner, Communications