The Michigan Community Foundation’s Youth Project committee plans and facilitates an annual summer conference geared towards providing youth grantmakers with tools to more effectively lead their respective councils as well as develop their individual leadership skills. This year more than 300 youth and their adult advisors came together June 24th through June 26th at Michigan State University for our 2011 Youth Grantmakers Summer Leadership Conference. Participants attended from all over the state along with out of state groups from Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Arkansas, and Kansas.
This year the Michigan Community Foundation’s Youth Project Committee decided to take a look at the social side of being a youth grantmaker, adopting the theme of, “Philanthropy for Social Change: Observe. Act. Impact.” Participants had the opportunity to attend sessions on social issues that affect many communities across Michigan. The social issue sessions were about education, the environment, gender awareness, and immigration. These sessions highlighted the problems within each of these topics and allowed participants to gain a greater understanding of the subject matter. Students left these sessions inspired to make a difference within their communities, hoping to make a positive impact through their grantmaking and community service on these social issues.
Plenary sessions are always a highlight of the weekend and this year was no different. Participants heard from Kinetic Affect, Eric Thomas, and Sam Davidson who all had a story to tell about being a leader and the impact an individual can have on a community. Throughout the weekend youth also had the opportunity to participate in a grant review which was new to conference this year.
At the end of the weekend participants left with a greater understanding of youth grantmaking, how to be better leaders in their community, and new friends across the state and country that are working toward the same goal, empowering youth to be the leaders of today.
-Hannah Watson, 2011 Mawby Intern
Check out this year’s edition of the YACety YAC for more conference highlights!
Michigan Community Foundations’ Youth Project Grant
A major piece of the YAC experience is centered around empowering young people as grantmakers to make a difference in the lives of young people within their community. Since this is such an important aspect of what a YACer does, attendees of this years conference had the opportunity to participate in a live grant review session, where they had to decide which of the three organizations presenting would receive a $5,000 dollar grant.
Participants voted and awarded the $5,000 grant to the Catholic Charities of Lenawee County for their “Roadmap to Graduation program”. This program helps homeless youth get to graduation by placing them with a family in the Lenawee community that gives them a place to live during the year. These “mentor families” help to provide a safe and secure living condition for these young people, which greatly increases their chance of graduating. These homeless youth are expected to maintain their grades and stay on track for graduation while the families they live with help them to create a plan for their future. “This money is the difference between kids graduating or not”, says Beth McCollough. “Last year we had kids on the waiting list for the program and now we can help even more kids get to graduation”.
YAC Advisor of the Year- Amber Yoder, Hillsdale Community Foundation
YACer of the Year- Kelsey Maxwell, Community Foundation of Greater Flint
Outstanding Community Outreach Award- Jackson Community Foundation
Outstanding Fund Development Campaign- Lapeer Community Foundation
YAC Grant of the Year- Petoskey- Harbor Springs Community Foundation