Girl Power Grant awards CKG $10,000

Morgan Rhudy had a dream.
Inspired by her mother’s charity work, the 14-year old Midlothian Middle School student founded her own nonprofit community group last spring.
Nearly one year later, Morgan’s Girl Power Grants organization has donated its first $10,000 — to the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation to honor Gallagher, a 16-year-old who died of an undiagnosed heart condition shortly after crossing the finish line at the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach two years ago.
“We are all about girl empowerment and grant-making. We are run by teenage girls, we are led by teenage girls, and we are all teenage girls,” Morgan said in a brief interview during the grant ceremony at Sabot at Stony Point on Wednesday.
For her nonprofit group, Morgan has recruited 75 girls ages 11 to 17 from Midlothian, Mechanicsville, Henrico and Hanover counties, and Richmond. Each girl gave $100 to join.
“Recruiting teenage girls is very, very difficult; we were not expecting that,” Morgan said. “To finish the $10,000 grant, we had a fundraiser where we raised $4,000 in 48 hours in November.”
Once they had formed their charity, the girls reached out to dozens of nonprofits in central Virginia; 16 of them responded, submitting their grant applications.
The girls reviewed all of them and selected three finalists — the Connor’s Heroes Foundation, Friendship Circle RVA and the winner, the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation, which received the most votes Wednesday.
Morgan said her goal is to teach girls “all about philanthropy, which is not a topic popular among teenage girls.”
And she wants to use Girl Power Grants as an outlet to “follow my own dreams, pursue my passions and make a difference.”
For next year, Morgan wants to recruit at least 25 additional girls.
“Our model is 100 girls, 100 dollars, $10,000 grant,” she said.

Julie Basinski