The Annual Girls Inc. Gala is going virtual this year, due to COVID-19. Go to to participate.

GREENSBURG – In lieu of the yearly Decatur County Woman Leader of the Year Award and the November Gala, Girls Inc. will be hosting the Annual Gala at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28.

“Because of COVID-19, we aren’t doing ‘Women Leader of the Year’ this year, but we’re combining it into one event and it will be our first ‘Virtual Gala,’” Girls Inc. Director of Development Mandy Lohrum said. “Supporters can participate this year online.”

The fundraiser, even though it’s online, is still important for an organization that is growing by leaps and bounds. Originally founded in 1864 in Shelbyville, the organization has gone through many growing spurts, changing names several times to mark their burgeoning membership. And then extending their reach to Decatur County Schools in 2017, Girls Inc. is growing.

After the planning, cooperation, and hard work from many diverse groups and service clubs, the Shelbyville Girls Club opened its doors in October 1972 with full national Girls Club membership granted in June of 1973. In 1991, the national organization of “Girls Club” initiated a major reorganization and formal name change to Girls Incorporated.

In 1992, board members of Girls Inc. attended a long range planning retreat where members discussed the feasibility of raising money to build a permanent home for Girls Inc., and, in 1995, ground broke on the existing facility. In 1996, the Barbara J. Anderson Center opened, and the organization has been thriving from this location since.

“The most rewarding thing about my job is that the girls we serve come from all walks of life,” Lohrum said. “We’re able to help guide them and teach them to be the best person they can be.”

Helping them to strive toward being a good individual in the future is Lohrums’ motivation daily. In 2019, Girls Inc. served 504 girls and 385 boys in the Shelby/Decatur County area. That number exploded to 4,000 girls and 1,700 boys yearly.

“We are working closely with the schools in Decatur County and Shelby this year to create some virtual content for them to use in their daily curriculum,” she said.

That is something every modern-day educator also appreciates.

There are five main paths to follow to donate to Girls Inc. Watch the “Virtual Gala” at 5 p.m. on Aug. 28 on the Girls Inc. Facebook page or on YouTube.

Go to To become a sponsor, visit the “Support Us” tab at the top of the page and choose to be a Strong, Smart, or Bold partner. Strong and Smart partners are eligible and welcome to host an in-person reception on Friday, Aug. 28, where they may invite employees, friends, and colleagues to support Girls Inc. together.

Participate in the online auction is open to everyone via computer, cell phone or tablet. The Online Auction opens Friday, Aug. 21, and closes Sunday, Aug. 30.

To participate or donate or to get more information relating to the Gala, call at 317-392-1190 or email">.org.

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-663-3111, ext 217011 or email