Bellingham Youth Philanthropy Program

bypp-102515The Youth Philanthropy program is designed to help high school students develop personal and professional skills needed by the next generation of community leaders. With staff support, students form a leadership committee, volunteer, research, visit with local nonprofit organizations, solicit grant proposals and make funding decisions. They learn about local needs, fundraise and distribute grants to benefit the local environment. The program engages 10- 15 high school students from Bellingham.  

History:
Part of the funding for the youth grant making comes from an endowment started by two high school seniors who biked more than 1,200 miles around Washington State to raise funds intended to introduce youth in our community to the concept of charitable giving. Together the boys raised $14,324.31 and gifted it to the Whatcom Community Foundation to start an endowment for youth philanthropy focused on the environment. In 2016, youth philanthropy committee members helped grow the permanent endowment to over $43,000, and awarded grants totaling $10,330 to five organizations.  

The program runs from January – March. Members meet weekly during this time.
Grant applications will be accepted in January, 2017.
Funding decisions will be made by the youth philanthropy committee in March 2017.

Students learn:
• Leadership skills
• Public speaking
• Critical thinking and decision making
• Fundraising techniques
• Case-making
• Teamwork
• Building consensus
• Understanding budgets
• Asking quality questions
• How to read and analyze grant requests

Students gain:
• A broad thought process and understanding about their own lives
• Knowledge and insight about their role and “place in the world”
• A shift in attitude towards the meaning of philanthropy
• Confidence knowing they have the ability to make an impact
• Desire to be more involved in supporting nonprofits in the future

Give to the Bellingham Youth Philanthropy Project

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