Teaching Our Future Community Leaders About Philanthropy
This is a busy time of year for students in our Youth Advisory Council
(YAC). Now in its 20th year, the program’s membership continues to grow, from just 12 students the first year to nearly 190 participants in 2019.
We are forever grateful to Henri Goettel, the YAC volunteer Adult Facilitator, who has led this program since its inception. Henri is the “secret sauce” that makes this program a success.
The council is our “school of philanthropy” and one of the only opportunities for high school students from across the region to come together to work as a team to benefit the community. Any other time students from different high schools come together it’s about competition not community building.
Students see the value in this program, and we are very proud of the members of our YAC program. From organizing a successful food drive
to benefit local food pantries, to hosting a fundraising event
to support grants from their self-funded endowment, YAC students are making a difference in our region.
Very soon we will be celebrating with our graduating YAC students, as they prepare for high school graduation and the future. At our annual Senior Recognition Dinner, attended by our Board and the parents of YAC students, these graduating students share their experiences in YAC. It is always inspiring to hear what they have learned about philanthropy and life as a result of their participation in YAC and the impact it has made on them.
At the same time, we are welcoming new students to the YAC program. More than 100 prospective students and their parents recently attended orientation to learn more about the “school of philanthropy” at Truman Heartland. And in this school, there is no summer break. In fact, YAC students will be very busy this summer assisting our grants committee. YAC students review grant proposals from nonprofits seeking support through our competitive grants process, make on-site visits and then share their experience with our grants committee. We appreciate their perspective and contribution to our annual grants program.
At your Community Foundation, we are honored to have the opportunity to educate and engage our students in fundraising, grantmaking and volunteering through our YAC program, helping these future community leaders see the value of coming together for a purpose greater than themselves and helping build community.