Girl's Best Friend Foundation (GBF) closed November 2007.
GBF’s records are archived with Special Collections of the University
of Illinois, Chicago. In fall 2008, they will be made public: www.uic.edu/depts/lib/specialcoll.
Risk-taking. Approachable. Informed by girls. Emphatic about girls' strengths. Feminist. Passionate about social change and justice. Very, very cool.
These are some of the words Cynthia K. McLachlan (1940-2005) used about her vision for Girl's Best Friend Foundation. Cyndie and her young adult children created GBF in 1994 with an expansive vision for fueling the power, well-being, and self-determination of girls and young women.
The following observations from Cyndie offer insight into the woman she was and how her generous spirit shaped GBF:
"I was furious that I'd allowed myself to be so ignorant of our family finances. I was adamant that I would use a big chunk of what I had inherited to help make sure that other women weren't in the same position.
My son, Jason, pointed out that true change starts much earlier -- so, girls and young women became the focus. Kate, my daughter, lent her considerable insight into social change work and girls to help us define our goals. Devin, my third child, encouraged us to think big -- and different.
I knew perfectly well what I did and didn't know. We had to turn to and embrace community activists who knew what was happening, knew where girls were getting together.
While I have a unique role as GBF's founder and donor, my greatest pleasure is working with the cool, cool women on the board who make GBF vital.
GBF continues to reach for the wild dreams I've had for us from the beginning."
Cyndie’s death in November 2005 has affected so many. We grieve for Cyndie and her family.
Read more memorial tributes:
Gem of a leader
will be missed
Cindy Richards, Chicago Sun-Times, Nov. 30, 2005
was girls' best friend
Tracy Dell'Angela, Chicago Tribune, Nov. 30, 2005
Read more about Cyndie and GBF:
Heir to Independence: The Girl's
Best Friend Foundation
Women & Philanthropy
Cyndie made it possible for GBF to support feminist social change organizations with millions of dollars in grants, and many supplemental training and peer education opportunities. As a result of Cyndie’s generosity, girls, young women, and youth have had extraordinary encouragement to make their voices heard and activism respected.
In addition to contributing money, Cyndie was vitally involved in every aspect of GBF’s work and development. As a guiding force, she regularly urged her sister board members and staff to think big, be bold, and take risks with and for girls. She cherished girls’ curiosity, imagination, and insights. She admired the adults who help youth move toward individual development and changing their communities for the better. We offer our comfort to her family. We will miss Cyndie greatly.