Girls on the Run-Chicago Strategic Plan (2022-2027) News | GOTR Chicago


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Girls on the Run-Chicago Strategic Plan (2022-2027)

Like most organizations, we were deeply impacted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our programs operate predominantly in schools, and in 2021, we ended the year having served under 3,000 girls, when in a “normal” year we would have served just under 10,000. However, we are not interested in returning to business as usual, and are using this retraction in organizational size as an opportunity to focus on equity as we build back. 

Rather than maintain the traditional program population split of 50% girls living in low-income situations and 50% girls living in middle- to high-income households, our 2022-2027 Strategic Plan is focused on increasing our service to girls living in under-resourced communities by 5%-10% each year for the next 5 years. 

This plan is about more than just the number of girls served. It will also ensure equitable program quality and build our programs with girls living in under-resourced communities at the center. 

Historically, Girls on the Run-Chicago has taken a one-size-fits-all approach to programming. If you were a team on Chicago’s South Side or a school in Winnetka, you received the same program and resources, and as you might imagine, those teams have very different needs. Our commitment moving forward is to build our program and processes with girls from under-resourced communities at the center because we know that if our program is fully accessible to an under-resourced community, it will also be accessible to a community with more resources, while the reverse is not true. 

What Does This Look Like In Practice?

2022 was the first year of this strategic plan and it will wrap at the end of 2027. 

In 2023, we:

  • Launched the Community Advisory Council, which was developed as a place to center the voices of longstanding citizens and existing assets within our communities, uplifting individuals with deep ties and knowledge of what our youth need and desire for their development. 

  • Piloted distributing 222 brand-new, high-quality athletic shoes to girls in key communities and will continue to expand the program in 2024. Based on feedback we have received from coaches and families at our lowest income sites, we know that access to athletic shoes is a barrier to participation. We successfully pursued and received a four-year grant (totaling nearly $400,000) from the Cook County Department of Public Health that will support this initiative.

  • Piloted distributing coach stipends. Based on feedback from coaches, we are piloting distributing $250 stipends to 270 coaches over the next 3 years. 

  • Launched SustainHer, our recognition society that honors Coaches and donors who give at least $350 per year. 

  • Translated coach training in Spanish and provided two Spanish coach training options. 

  • Audited our vendors to move our organizational purchasing power to BIPOC- and women-led organizations.


In 2024, we will: 

  • Serve 5,050 girls—approximately 500 more than in 2023 

  • Increase service of program participants in under-resourced communities to 72% 

  • Provide free athletic shoes to 1,000 girls at under-resourced sites

  • Provide stipends to 68 coaches

  • Providing bus transportation to additional 5K events 

  • Roll out the new Coach Training in the Spring 2024 season

  • Roll out the new curriculum series Hello Superstar in the Fall 2024 season

  • Hold focus groups with Coaches to identify their needs and pain points


How Can You Get Involved?

We know that this work cannot be done in isolation and we also know that we don’t have all of the answers. We want community voices and perspectives at the table. 

  • Do you have ideas about how we can make our program more accessible and inclusive to girls? We would love to hear them! Fill out this form. 

  • Are you a BIPOC adult in the Chicagoland area with availability to volunteer on weekdays between 3PM and 5PM and are interested in coaching a team of girls through our program? We would welcome the opportunity to have you join our coach community! You can fill out our coach application here. 

  • Are you interested in joining our Governing Board or Associate Board? Reach out to our Director of Development and Communications Linda Tucker at

  • Do none of the above apply to you, but you are interested in supporting equity-based youth development for girls in the Chicagoland community? This work is only possible by pairing philanthropic support with volunteer time, so we encourage you to make an outright or monthly donation here.
  • Stay up-to-date on all things GOTRC by following us on social media and subscribing to our newsletter! 

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We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Non-profit girl empowerment after-school program for girls.

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