Reese Witherspoon, 40, discusses her passion for the girls' empowerment organization, Girls Inc.

By Sharon Kanter
December 21, 2016 04:15 PM

Movie star, mogul and mom Reese Witherspoon discusses how she balances it all and how she’ll be spending the holidays. Subscribe now to get an inside look at how she does it, only in PEOPLE!

In the spirit of giving this holiday season, Reese Witherspoon is taking some time to give back to one of her favorite charities, Girls Inc. And she’s making sure her whole family — including Ava, 17, son Deacon, 13 (from her first marriage to actor Ryan Phillippe), and son Tennessee, 4 (with her husband of five years, agent Jim Toth) — is involved, too.

“Every year we pick a charity that we really love, to invest in a project all year long,” the star, 40, tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story, on newsstands Friday.

“This year we’re doing Girls Inc. I’m so moved by their after-school programs,” she says, noting she loves the programs about self-esteem, social media and financial education.

Courtesy Draper James

The national non-profit, which started in Connecticut in the 1860s as a response to the new working class of young women in the Industrial Revolution, is dedicated to helping provide girls between the ages of 6 and 18 feel empowered through opportunities like after-school programs, research and advocacy.

“It really gives young women a leg up during critical years,” says Witherspoon, wearing the Winter Deer Skirt ($195) from her clothing line Draper James in the photo above.

Girls Inc

Therefore, she’s been getting involved by visiting a lot of different Girls Inc. sites across the country.

“I’ve been visiting a lot of the locations,” she says. “I think it’s just such an incredible program and it’s been going for over 150 years in this country. They just help kids a lot.”

And she’s not at it alone — her kids join her in this philanthropic endeavor. They just joined her to host a charity screening of her new animated film, Sing, last weekend to benefit the organization. And they’re not stopping there: “We’re going on a site visit in January, and then we go on site visits in Nashville and Dallas.”

If you want to learn more or get involved with Reese’s favorite charity, check out

For more of our exclusive interview with Reese and to find out all about her holiday plans, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.