Kirkpatrick donates $50k to help Girls Inc. start new experience program

Girls Inc. received a surprise donation of $50,000 from the Kirkpatrick family at the annual Athena Awards, and Executive Director Tish Osborne is excited about where the funds will go for the non-profit.

Kirk Kirkpatrick said that he and his wife Dianne have seen a great amount work and efforts put in by the organization over the years. So, they wanted to help fund the “Experience Your Dream” program at Girls Inc. 

“Experience Your Dream” is a program the Kirkpatricks approached Osborne with to help the girls at the organization learn about their future careers or hobbies and give them a first-hand opportunity to see where it could take them.

Kirk said that it could range from taking a student interested in theatre to her first Broadway musical or a future veterinarian to the St. Louis Zoo.

“Dianne and I want to make the ‘Experience Your Dream’ program happen. It may be pricey, but we feel the experiences will be priceless,” Kirk said.

Osborne said it still brings tears to her eyes to even think about it the donation.

She said the Kirkpatricks’ donation is the largest single gift by a living donor that has come to the organization, and knowing the continuous dedication the family has put in adds to the joy that she feels.

“There are no real words to describe how I or we felt when hearing the news. Overwhelmed with gratitude and shock, is just a start,” Osborne said. “Something like this takes you to your knees in gratitude. I don’t know if I have really ever stopped crying thinking about their gift.”

Osborne said that the Kirkpatricks have had 20 years of witnessing the development of several girls along with giving over the years.

Through the program, girls will be able to see where their programs and desires could lead them whether it be through education, work or creative outlets.

“We need to provide the opportunities, to open the doors to the world and experiences that can be theirs,” Osborne said.

Those could be individualized opportunities or can be done in group settings. Ultimately, she wants one thing to shine through the program.

“Girls working and learning and doing side by side, to connect and inspire one another long after the “experience” is over,” Osborne said.

While plans are still being ironed out for the program, Osborne said that Girls Inc. — along with the Kirkpatricks — are ready to kick off the first dream experience soon.

Josh Kelly, Owensboro Times