MOUNT VERNON — The 66-year-old Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County is adding a youthful twist to philanthropy with the rollout of a grant-making organization for high school students.
Applications are now being accepted from current Knox County freshmen, sophomore and junior students for appointment to its new Youth Philanthropy Initiative, which is being modeled on successful programs around the nation.
Community Foundation Chairman Mark R. Ramser said Knox County students enrolled in public and private high schools, as well as those in home-school settings, will have the opportunity to recommend grants for “projects with a youth flavor.” The Community Foundation board of directors will provide the Youth Philanthropy Initiative an initial grant-making pool of $5,000, and will make an additional $5,000 available on a dollar-for-dollar match basis, should YPI members choose to undertake fundraising projects of their own, Ramser said.
“A program like this, which seeks to engage area youths in community philanthropy, has been an objective of The Community Foundation board the past few years,” Ramser said. “We have been fortunate to secure the volunteer services of Kenyon College junior Ellen Blanchard, of Petoskey, Mich., who has several years of experience with youth philanthropy at the local and state level.”
Blanchard, who is returning to the Kenyon College campus following a semester studying in India, will guide the launch of the Youth Philanthropy Initiative along with Foundation Executive Director Sam Barone. “Ellen brings a wealth of best practices to the initiative,” Barone said, “however, we expect to rely heavily on our founding members to set both the agenda and the tone for this new organization.”
In addition to conceiving their own charitable projects, and inviting youth-oriented grant applications from high school organizations and other youth services providers, YPI members will have the opportunity to make site visits to area nonprofit organizations.
“The Community Foundation board of directors considers it an important aspect of its mission to educate the next generation of philanthropists about the critical role played by nonprofit organizations in the Knox County community,” added Ramser. “Through this youth initiative Community Foundation board members likewise hope to become better informed about community needs as seen through the eyes of younger Knox County citizens.”
High school students interested in learning more about participation in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative should visit The Community Foundation’s website at www.mvkcfoundation.org where a link to Frequently Asked Questions and a downloadable membership application in PDF format are readily available.
Additional information may be obtained by contacting Barone by e-mail at email@example.com, or by phone at 392-3270. Applications for membership are due Feb. 4, and the founding members of the Youth Philanthropy Initiative will be announced by March 7.