Funny Girls

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Using improv to strengthen girls’ leadership skills, our Funny Girls program is boosting and bolstering the power and potential of girls and maximizing their moxie!

Funny Girls is growing! We are proud to announce our partnerships with five rockstar organizations as part of the program expansion. Learn more about our partners below and consider investing in them (and girls’ leadership), too.

For nearly 20 years (we don’t feel that old) we’ve been investing in the leadership of so many stellar women. Each woman’s path is different. Yet, so many women wished they’d developed their leadership skills earlier in life. After hearing this SO many times, we decided to do something about it. We developed a girls' leadership curriculum, and being who we are, we added a creative twist: improv.

Our interest in improv as a teaching methodology started in 2013. After conversations with a multitude of girl leadership experts and improv instructors, corroborated by research from Harvard, we knew the time was ripe for a formal leadership-taught-through-improv curriculum aimed to help tween girls develop as leaders.

In 2015, the creation of Funny Girls began! In partnership with the Magnet Theater and Pilobolus, the Funny Girls curriculum matched developmentally-appropriate improv exercises with corresponding leadership skills such as self-awareness, learning agility, collaboration, empathy, and resiliency. In 2016, we ran an NYC-based pilot with the Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria, HYPOTHEkids at Teachers College Community School, and Riverdale Country School, giving us the opportunity to test and modify the program based on the girls’ input (learn more about them in our Facebook photo album).

We’re now officially launching the program with partner organizations that pack a punch for girls’ leadership while advancing social justice values to boot. Partners include Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education, DreamYard, Girls For A Change, Global Kids, and South Asian Youth Action. The foundation provides partners with Funny Girls curriculum training in addition to giving a financial boost to their other stellar programming through general support grants.

The hoped-for outcome? Girls will self-identify as leaders in their schools and communities. Another outcome? Philanthropy plays a role in supporting the next generation of leaders.

1 How can I become a Funny Girls partner?

We work with organizations that advance social justice values and share an interest in developing girls’ leadership. We are not accepting proposals at this time. If you know a girl-serving social justice organization that we should partner with in the future, we’d love to hear! Email us at info@thehf.org. Also, be the first to receive news and updates by signing up for our Funny Girls newsletter.


2 How can I get my Funny Girl involved?

We partner with social justice organizations to implement the Funny Girls curriculum, and we currently do not offer individual sign-ups. Check out our partners’ programs to find out more about their offering. Also, be the first to receive news and updates by signing up for our Funny Girls newsletter


3 Why did you choose improv to teach leadership skills?

In improv there is no right or wrong, every contribution is valued (Yes, AND...), and collaboration is key. With perfection and failure held at bay, a safe space is created, allowing the girls to tap into their inherent abilities as leaders and “try on” leadership skills.


4 I love the comedy angle! Tell me more.

Funny Girls isn’t actually teaching girls to be funny or grooming the next stand-up comedian star. We are boosting girls’ leadership skills using improv as the methodology, and yes, a little humor. Also, when learning is made fun with a bit of humor, students are more engaged and have a higher retention of learning concepts.


5 Why did you choose girls in grades 3-8?

We chose to focus on girls grades 3-8 because this is a pivotal time in their social and emotional development. It’s also a critical time in a girl’s life to boost self-esteem and influence self-perception -- an identity that she may carry with her into her later adolescence and adulthood. Funny Girls is reaching girls at a key moment with the hopes of bolstering their belief in themselves as leaders.