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Where Does The Money From Girl Scout Cookies Go?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Since she was in second grade, 17-year-old Girl Scout Mikayla Bode has sold cookies. Some years, it was 500 boxes and other years it was 200. She's heartbroken this year will be her last year of selling.

"It teaches me that girls can do anything," she says. "Girls can be leaders and make a difference through cookies."

In 2017, Mikayla's council, Girls Scouts River Valleys -- the largest in Minnesota, sold almost 4.5 million boxes and brought in over $17 million. The average Girl sold 217 boxes. This year, the season runs from Feb. 3 through March 18 and the council expects similar numbers.

Though some Girl Scout councils across the country have raised the price of a box of cookies to $5, the councils in Minnesota are selling boxes for $4 apiece.

Of that $4 box, $1.17 (29 percent) goes to a baker. Girls Scouts River Valleys uses ABC Bakers and its cookies are baked in North Sioux City, South Dakota.

"We have to pay the baker, that has to be done," says Jolene Ross, Director of Product Sales for Girl Scouts River Valleys. "But after that every penny stays here."

Another $.84 (21 percent) goes directly back to the troop. Some troops have used those funds for field trips, uniforms, badges, books and donations. Some of that money is given to individual girls as rewards for selling cookies. Mikayla plans to use her "Cookie Money" to buy a lifetime membership to the Girl Scouts.

The rest of the revenue goes to the local council – $.79 (20 percent) for promoting leadership for the girls, $.58 (15 percent) for volunteer resources, $.48 (12 percent) for camps (financial aid and maintenance) and $.14 (3 percent) for administrative services and customer support.

"Unglamorous things too, camps require toilet paper," says Ross. "We have to keep the lights on, all of that as well."

According to Ross, cookie sales pay for 60 percent to 65 percent of the Girl Scouts River Valleys yearly budget. Right now, there is no plan to raise the price of boxes in Minnesota.

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