BALTIMORE — When Dr. Marlene Mahipat was growing up in Trinidad, joining the Girl Scouts was an unattainable dream because her family barely had enough money for food and shelter. Now, the successful chiropractor who also runs an air filtration business has committed to sponsoring 1,000 girls in low-income central Maryland communities over the next 10 years. The assistance will come via financial aid, which is available to Girl Scout members who cannot afford the cost of membership and uniforms. In addition, Dr. Mahipat will offer memberships to girls who are part of Grand Families, an organization that supports grandparents raising school-aged children and to girls who will comprise the first Hispanic troop formed in the central Maryland region.
As part of the Mahipat’s H.O.P.E. (Helping Orphans Prosper Everywhere) Foundation, 100 girls each year will participate free of charge in Girl Scout programming throughout the school year including receiving a sash, an official uniform piece for the patches they earn. “As a board member of Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, I have a front-row seat observing how Girl Scouts can change the lives of young women,” she said. “The leadership skills they gain are a gateway to prosperity. It’s a natural partnership for our two non-profits.”
Mahipat also intends to go beyond a financial contribution by actively leading volunteers in outreach into the community and assisting with transportation needs for the girls. This combination of financial support and action is one of the hallmarks of her philanthropic efforts which provide food, clothing, vitamins and educational supplies to disadvantaged and at-risk children; distribute food to the homeless; and aid elderly, disabled, and low income people to help them keep their pets healthy.
She started H.O.P.E in 2006 and funds it through her businesses and donations from patients. She has received numerous awards for her efforts. In 2013 alone, Mahipat received the Grand Families PTSA Community Partner of the Year, the Martin Luther King Jr. Content of Character Award, and the Maryland Top 100 Women Award.
“Girl Scouts of Central Maryland is so fortunate to have Dr. Marlene Mahipat on our board of directors,” said Traci A. Barnett, Chief Executive Officer of the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. “Through the generosity of Dr. Mahipat and her foundation, girls will have the opportunity to join Girl Scouts where they will learn leadership skills
and develop self-esteem. In a safe and nurturing environment these girls will develop courage, confidence, and character to make the world a better place. Although Dr. Mahipat did not have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout, she embodies the values of the organization and is a wonderful role model for today’s girls.”