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San Bernardino Youth Grantmakers learn lifelong philanthropic lessons

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

The Youth Grantmakers is a program to cultivate young philanthropists. It’s part of the Youth Philanthropy Initiative of the Inland Empire Community Foundation that started in 2009.

The program prepares youth to follow the traditions of giving and serving their community throughout their lives. This program is designed to build interest in philanthropy and provide youth the opportunity to practice philanthropy by teaching them about community engagement, grant making, the nonprofit sector and addressing youth issues through their participation in advocacy.

The Youth Grantmakers has five programs representing the two-county region of Riverside and San Bernardino counties — Riverside, San Bernardino, Coachella Valley, Temecula – Pechanga Tribal Youth, and Idyllwild – Middle School.

In 2014, the San Bernardino Youth Grantmakers program was launched with 15 members representing high schools within the San Bernardino Unified School District as well as private schools. Today, the program has 27 members with school representation from San Bernardino High, Cajon High, Pacific High, San Gorgonio High, Aquinas High, Webb Schools of California, and Mother of Divine Grace. Already this year, the San Bernardino Youth Grantmakers program has given out over $65,000 dollars to local nonprofits in San Bernardino County.

The program consists of a nine-month commitment, from September to June. The group meets for three hours on a Sunday, once a month. Session topics include nonprofit 101, leadership skills, dialogue vs. debate, and consensus building.

The students also participate in a grant-making session where they conduct a needs assessment survey with their peers and from the data collected as a group, they figure out which are the top five major issues teens are facing today. They then put out a referral for proposals to nonprofits to see who has youth-focused programs addressing the needs. Some of the past grantees included Big Brothers Big Sisters, Project Fighting Chance, Foothill Family Shelter, Young Visionaries, and Children’s Fund.

Along with the grant-making opportunity, the Youth Grantmakers also participate in community service activities and site visits where they have the opportunity to connect with past recipients to see how the program is doing and to see how and where the funding was used.

“We want to help nonprofits in the San Bernardino area for programs, projects and activities that support the well-being of youth and teens,” said Yahaira Angulo, a participant of San Bernardino Youth Grantmakers. This program gives the youth a voice and a sense of belonging in their community where they feel they are making a difference.

Congratulations to our Youth Grantmakers!

Margaret Hill is a member of the San Bernardino City Unified School District board.

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