The Youth in Philanthropy Recipe

by Beth Farley, Board of Directors, January 23, 2013

Into each decision, put equal parts investigation, commitment, conviction and patience.  Add one cup of discussion, a dash of fun and a sprinkle of satisfaction on a job well done...

And that’s what the Youth in Philanthropy (YIP) group cooks up on a yearly basis. This ActonBoxborough Regional High School group, comprised of 20 students and 2 faculty advisors, handles all aspects of the philanthropic process from raising funds, soliciting requests for grants,evaluating the applications and finally distributing money to the selected local non-profits. While fund raising is a year round activity, it culminates in the fall.  Whether it’s selling baked goods at school events or balloon animals at West Acton’s Octoberfest, these kids are
determined to raise enough money to have an impact on the needs of the non-profits. Even spending hours at the local dump asking for donations contributes to the final sum with which the group will work.

This year, YIP received seven Grant Requests.  From there, the team began the evaluation process with due diligence.  While all requests are valid and desrving, YIP strives to match their values of community impact, lasting effects and the worth of the grant to the non-profit in reaching their final decision. Grants were given to the Acton Food Pantry ($500), the Doli Atamian Campership Program ($4000), the Discovery Museums/Indian Hill Music ($2000) and the Restoration Project ($1400). 

The grant to the Acton Food Pantry was for Holiday Dinners, a grant YIP hoped would make the holidays better for local residents in need.  The Doli Atamian Campership Program provides summer camp opportunities for local residents as well as driver’s education for teens.  YIP members who had spent time at summer camps were particularly touched by this request. 

The Discovery Museums in collaboration with Indian Hill Music requested funds for a specific program, “Especially for Me’, which will provide music and movement nights for autistic children.The Music Therapist from Indian Hill Music will will offer activities and demonstartions to introduce attendees to Musical Therapy and to provide additional calming and health benefits during these events. The Restoration Project provides vocational rehabilitation with the objective of future employment to veterans with PTSD and others with brain injuries by teaching them furniture restoration.  YIP’s grant will go a long way toward helping them reach those goals.

But even at the end of the day, the Youth in Philanthropy Group was not finished.  After all the grants were made, they discussed what else they could do for the non-profits beyond allocating money.  The lesson of philanthropy, charity, compassion and humanity, has certainly become part of this group’s recipe for life.

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