Youth Fund Passes $1 Million Milestone
“The Charlevoix County Community Foundation is all about building for future generations, so it’s only natural that we actively seek ideas and input from young people who will be tomorrow’s leaders.” - from the Community Foundation’s 1994 Annual Report
For 25 years, the Youth Fund at the Community Foundation has made a difference for young people in Charlevoix County through grant-making. The Youth Fund was established in 1993 thanks to generous local donors, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Frey Foundation. This spring, the Youth Fund passed $1 million dollars in grants! Because of the power of endowment, more than $1 million dollars remains in the Youth Fund to continue making grants. Dollars are awarded every year by the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC), which includes young people from across Charlevoix County.
“The Youth Advisory Committee seeks to improve the quality of life for all youth throughout Charlevoix County,” explains Mishelle Shooks, advisor to the YAC. Many grants have provided opportunities for young people, such as MSU Extension 4-H recreation programs, water safety and learn-to-swim classes through the Charlevoix Area Community Pool, and mats that allow those with physical disabilities to enjoy ski slopes and the beach with Challenge Mountain. Friends and neighbors in need have also benefitted from the Youth Fund through grants to Good Samaritan Family Services for cribs and car seats as well as weekend food bags through Manna Food Project. Some grants aimed to improve school culture, eliminate bullying, and motivate students. Others, like pickle ball and gaga ball at Camp Daggett, are just plain fun.
More than 100 young people have served as “YACers” at the Community Foundation, where they learn about grant-making to address needs and advance opportunities close to home. “In the bigger scope of things, these kids learn how to be great philanthropists, leaders, and community members as they continue throughout their careers and lives,” says Shooks. Now that’s a great investment!