Dear GRP Community,

I’ll get straight to the point: GRP is in the midst of a transition. But don’t worry, GRP is not disappearing. It’s simply time for us to transform, recalibrate. I’m sharing this message with you, filled with a lot of emotions especially considering the impact our programming has had on the lives of thousands of girls and women over the past ten (10) years. As the world moves into a new age, we are also entering a new phase where we’ll evaluate and adjust the essence of our mission for the next decade.

As many of you know, GRP started as my baby – after my first baby, Jalyn, showed me just how important it was to encourage girls to embrace and celebrate their own power. For ten years, I – along with countless volunteers, participants, stakeholders and cheerleaders – have given ourselves to the work of GRP. We have hosted multiple pop-up workshops, mother-daughter events, and conferences, adapted our work to a pandemic, and launched a Mentor Program. And I could not be more proud of what we’ve created. It is rare for a nonprofit to thrive with limited resources for as long as we have; our success is attributable to the passion and dedication of so many GRP volunteers, supporters, and participants.

GRP is also something that I have carried on my shoulders as a founder. While I could not dream of more rewarding work, it has also taken its toll. I know that as a Black woman I am expected to be a superhero. Black women do more work to earn a fraction of the recognition and compensation afforded to our white male counterparts. We work to fill the gaps in income, education, housing, employment, and personal safety that systemic oppression actively imposes upon the lives of our family members. We are on the receiving end of bias, microaggressions, and hostility. We can’t mess up. When we ask for what we need, we’re likely to be offered what others believe we need. We’re expected to educate our colleagues about our own oppression and to speak out still most often results in personal targeting and further disadvantage. For Black women leaders, these burdens are amplified.

My truth as a Black woman and a founder is that these inequalities are my reality. They were the reasons why I showed up for girls and women and why I founded GRP. I know deep in my heart that it is my personal mission to ensure that this cycle of disparities for all girls and women ends one day.

Over the course of the pandemic, I felt led to reflect deeply on what the GRP years have taught me. The global pandemic has been a catalyst launching both my world and the world around us into an experience of sustained trauma amidst a frenzied state of constant transitioning. I have always responded to trauma by pressing through and I so attempted to keep pressing onward and discovered that the main word encapsulating the emotions I have been experiencing was “burnout”. Knowing that my heart’s desire was still fully awake I recognized that this feeling of burnout was not an end of my strength but a call to recognize that a pause was required to intentionally carve out time to be still and listen. Over the last six months, I reduced our programming footprint to honor the process of transformation. 

As we enter the second half of this year, we will embark on strategic planning, preparing ourselves for the next decade with renewed focus and purpose. If you’re wondering how you can remain engaged and support our evolution, there are several ways you can contribute:

  🌸 Join us in commemorating a decade of GRP at our “In Full Bloom, Mother-Daughter Brunch” on Sunday, August 13, 2023. Register Today!

  🌸 Become a volunteer at the In Full Bloom event, lending your time and skills to make a difference.

  🌸 Discover more about how you can participate in our 2023-24 Strategic Planning, contributing your insights and expertise. Sign up!

  🌸 Engage in fundraising efforts, partnering with us to generate support and resources for our cause. Donate Today!

In the meantime, thank you for being a part of creating something truly powerful. The power of what we’ve created will live on,
and I can’t wait to dream of what GRP will look like next. 

With heartfelt appreciation,

Shawntan Howell, Founder, and CEO of Girls Are Powerful

If you have any questions about this open letter, please email us at

Join us in commemorating a decade of GRP at our “In Full Bloom, Mother-Daughter Brunch” on Sunday, August 13, 2023. The theme of “In Full Bloom” celebrates the vibrant and transformative nature of the mother-daughter relationship. Just as flowers bloom and flourish, so does the bond between a mother/caregiver and her daughter. This relationship holds immense significance in a young girl’s life, shaping her sense of self, resilience, and emotional well-being.

SAVE THE DATE • Registration is Opening Soon!