Youth Philanthropy Fund for the Environment
We believe that if you teach young people to give, you empower them to change the world. That’s why in September 2015, we launched our Youth Philanthropy Project. This project engages up to 15 high school students from high schools in Whatcom County for an intensive learning experience.
The Youth Philanthropy Project helps high school students develop personal and professional skills needed by the next generation of community leaders. Students form a leadership committee, volunteer, research, visit with local nonprofit organizations, solicit grant proposals and make funding decisions. They learn about local needs and distribute grants from the Community Foundation to benefit the environment.
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. Since then, the youth philanthropy committee members and community foundation staff have grown the endowment to over $50,000.
In addition to the payout from the endowment, youth work with community foundation staff to grow resources for the program. The goal is to have at least $10,000/year for grant making. The grants are up to $2,500 each. So far 28 local organizations have received over $60,000 in funding!