The Community Foundation of Howard County, which raises, manages and distributes funds to support Howard County nonprofits, has established the Youth in Philanthropy (YIP) grant program. The program will empower high school students to solicit and evaluate grant applications and award funds to nonprofit organizations in Howard County.
Through their experience in the Youth in Philanthropy program, “student members of the YIP committee will actively engage with community nonprofits and learn firsthand about the wide range of issues facing Howard County residents, including homelessness, hunger, domestic violence and the educational and legal needs of struggling families,” said Jeffrey Boutwell, a foundation volunteer and donor who established the program.
The Community Foundation of Howard County will solicit applications from students to join the committee of 10 to 15 high school sophomores and juniors who will begin meeting in 2020. The program will request grant proposals, and the students will evaluate them based on need and effectiveness and award $10,000 in grants ranging in size from $500 to $5,000.
“Student committee members take direct responsibility and oversight for soliciting and evaluating grant proposals,” Boutwell said. “They will have to make the hard decisions on who to fund. That’s the most difficult part of the job, deciding who gets funded and who doesn’t, so it’s a great learning experience for the students.”
In addition, each student on the Youth in Philanthropy committee will partner with one of the community organizations seeking a grant, meeting with representatives, witnessing operations firsthand and learning more about the organization and the needs it addresses.
“Youth in Philanthropy students learn more about the community they live in, work with their peers throughout the grant cycle process and become exposed to the value and traditions of philanthropy long before they themselves are able to become philanthropists,” Boutwell said.
Boutwell, a Columbia resident, established a similar philanthropy program at The Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region when he lived in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Professionally, Boutwell retired in 2010 after a 30-year career in science and defense policy.
“The Youth in Philanthropy program exemplifies our mission,” said Beverly White-Seals, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Howard County. “We’re engaging today’s youth and teaching them about philanthropy to prepare them for the needs of the future.”