CREATING COMMUNITY IMPACT
One of the hallmarks of our American democracy is the privilege bestowed upon the citizenry to participate in the life of their community and make positive change. Few organizational entities exist that demonstrate this privilege and commitment to community betterment than community foundations.
They act as catalysts for change, conveners of diverse stakeholder groups, connectors of people and collaborators with other community organizations including local government.
They bring together the financial resources of individuals, families and business in order to provide monetary grants to nonprofit organizations which in turn provide resources for those in need. The importance of these interrelated activities in making our communities vibrant and strong cannot be overstated.
This program provides teens with an opportunity make an impact in the community both by learning how community philanthropy works and by making the critical and often difficult decisions on resource allocation for the purpose of doing good. They learn, in fact, that there is an art, science and business to community philanthropy.
VITALIZING DONOR ENGAGEMENT
According to the publication Giving USA, more than $410 billion was contributed to charities in 2017 with about 70% of those contributions made by individuals. In addition, there are 86,000 family, independent and corporate foundations in the United States and they hold assets in excess of $1 trillion.
Historically, the total impact of philanthropy has equaled about 2% of U.S. gross domestic product. The importance of philanthropy in improving the human condition in America cannot be overstated.
This program provides teens and young adults with opportunities and experiences to hone their skills in development, communication and stewardship at the individual, foundation and corporate levels. Through learning and then applying basic and mid-level fundraising strategies and techniques, beginning with the development of a compelling case for support, they plan and launch an annual campaign in the community which attracts new donors. Proceeds from the campaign are placed in a permanent endowment fund which eventually assures the program’s financial sustainability.
BUILDING STRATEGIC VOLUNTEERISM
More than 63 million Americans, one in every four adults, volunteer a total of nearly 8 billion hours of service to nonprofit organizations every year, saving public charities over $58 billion annually. The importance of volunteerism to the vitality of the nonprofit sector cannot be overstated.
The earlier teens and young adults get involved in volunteer activities, the greater the likelihood that they will continue volunteering as adults, and more often in leadership roles. Strategic Volunteerism represents a further dimension of volunteer service. It is based on the ability to develop more acute observational and listening skills in order to identify felt needs in the community that are not readily evident.
This program provides training and experience in recognizing and seizing opportunities to proactively address these felt needs where they exist. This is particularly the case in which those needs are hidden or are simply ignored or overlooked in the busyness and distractions of our everyday lives. Fulfilling those needs generally require creativity, resourcefulness and critical thinking skills, important leadership attributes for the next generation to master.