The Thomas Sill Foundation initiated a ‘Youth in Philanthropy” program in rural Manitoba and Portage was fortunate to be selected as one of the first four test sites. The Community Foundation of Portage and District is partnering with The Thomas Sill Foundation in this six-year program (2002 to 2007). The total value of the project is $42,000.
This is a pilot project that will be conducted in partnership with Arthur Meighen High School and Portage Collegiate Institute and is subject to School Board approval. Each school is responsible for designing the structure of its “Youth Advisory Council” (YAC), assigning a teacher advisor and providing feedback to the Community Foundation of Portage and District (CFPD) as part of an annual review process. The Thomas Sill Foundation will fund the first three years and CFPD will continue this program for another three years. The idea is to engage young people from our two high schools, Arthur Meighen High School and Portage Collegiate Institute, in philanthropy. Each school will be responsible for designing the structure for its Youth Advisory Council using the guidelines provided. The intention is to provide leadership development opportunities for participants to gain a deeper understanding of -community-, volunteerism and public service.The Thomas Sill Foundation granted $7,000 per year for the first three years and the Community Foundation of Portage and District will sponsor another $7,000 per year for the last three years.
Each school involved will receive $3,500 per year, $2,500 will be for direct grants to qualified charitable organizations and $1,000 will be for expenses incurred by the “Youth Advisory Council.” Any balance of the $1,000 may go to a ‘school endowment fund’ at the Community Foundation of Portage and District.
What do we do?
The year begins with an orientation session at each high school. This session is important for explaining the Youth in Philanthropy program and community foundations concept to new members. During this time, each Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) developed a list of values to focus on for the year.
Using those values, the YAC members researched charitable organizations in the Portage area and selected the charities they wished to consider for grants. The YAC members contacted their chosen charity and proceed to interview the candidates to find out how they could be of assistance. Following their meeting, the YAC members write reports on their site visits and presented them to their respective YAC groups with a recommendation.
The YAC groups selected the charitable causes they wished to support and made their presentation to the Community Foundation Board in April. The CFPD Board has been delighted with the work that they had done, their recommendations and so far have unanimously approved their selections.
At the Annual Report Presentation held in June, the YAC members award their grants to the selected charities.