The calendar has begun again and with it, fresh hopes and dreams for the new year. Our resolutions for the year ahead reflect the future we envision for both ourselves and our community. The Community Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Program rounded out in December but continues to inspire us on both of these fronts into the new year.
Now in its 8thseason, Youth Philanthropy gives back in a number of ways. During this year’s program, 32 high school seniors were introduced to the concept of philanthropy, immersed with a sense of responsibility for their community, and exposed to a wide variety of nonprofit organizations and their critical missions. Students were charged with reviewing 22 grant applications with a total ask of $19,262. Through thoughtful class discussions over the course of three periods, students chose 6 local nonprofits to award their allotted $5,000 in grant funding – courtesy of our generous Tin Cup Challengers.
This live exercise in philanthropy meant asking hard questions and THS seniors did just that. After taking time to review their grant packets, students reconvened to work through the requests and determine the impact, breadth, and depth of each ask. They assigned student-led facilitators to keep them to a tight timeline and capture their decisions as they discussed them. According to one student facilitator, it was “eye-opening to see how much need we have in our community and that we can have an impact.”
Students were honored to be charged with the responsibility and wherewithal to help their community by funding these projects. The many benefits of this program were reiterated repeatedly from participants who valued “getting to know organizations that help in [their] community,” learning more about “how decisions are made in groups,” “working with [their] peers,” and “being able to give money to organizations that [they] felt very strongly about – knowing that it will be put to great use in helping members of [our] community.”
During their last class period, students were encouraged to invite up to 5 nonprofit leaders whose grants they had questions about. Seniors really appreciated hearing these leaders’ passions and the problems they’re addressing first-hand. They recognized and were grateful “that there are hardworking, caring people in our community that stand up for what they believe in and are willing to help others in need.” While simultaneously raising awareness for our local nonprofit landscape, introducing nonprofit leaders also taught them “quite a lot about how nonprofits operate.” For participants, this program “put the troubles in our valley into perspective,” and they “loved being able to help make decisions that would positively impact the community.”
In December, students and nonprofits gathered to celebrate at the Youth Philanthropy Awards Party. Student representatives graciously handed out checks to the winning nonprofits. Everyone was struck by the power of this program, which will undoubtedly have lasting effects for its participants and give back to our community in a multitude of ways over time, as assured by participating seniors who “will definitely be more likely to donate resources to nonprofit causes in the future because [they] are more aware of the need and how donating is such a great way to lessen that need.”
Youth Philanthropy Grant Awards:
- Family Safety Network – $960 – Counseling for Clients in Need
- Immigrant Hope–Wyoming/Idaho – $960 – Dreamer Scholarship
- PAWS of Jackson Hole – $730 – Helping Community Cats
- Teton County Idaho Search and Rescue – $620 – Hasty Team Winter Equipment
- Teton Valley Community Animal Shelter – $730 – Animal Shelter Enrichment
- Valley of the Tetons Library – $1,000 – Permanent Makerspace Furniture
Additionally, students “learned that there are many organizations that help make our community great. Also, so many of them are in need, and although [Youth Philanthropy] could not fund all of them, there are many different ways to help organizations. Philanthropy does not just mean to give money, it is also to volunteer your time, effort, and skills to the community. [Seniors] are pleased to know that our community cares enough to start nonprofits in order to build a healthy environment.”
Our Challengers help chart the course for Teton Valley’s future. Their gracious annual contributions allow for this continuous investment in our youth. Through their commitment and resolve to enhance our community, they are leaving a legacy of generosity for the next generation – and that’s a resolution we can all stand behind.
Thank you for your support.
Happy New Year!
Maria Hernandez awards Lori McCune, of Immigrant Hope, a $960 Grant Award to cover application fees for two potential Dreamers.
Learn more about the specifics of each of these grant projects in more detail, follow us: