Our Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Who We Are and What We Do

The Community Foundation's Youth Grant Committee (YGC) is comprised of public, private and home-schooled high school students from the greater Grand Rapids area. During the school year, members meet and assess youth issues, develop a request for proposals process to address those needs, follow up with previous grantees, conduct interviews and site visits and present grant recommendations to the Foundation's Board of Trustees.


Youth Grant Committee members benefit by:

  • Participating in a real-life leadership experience in which decisions are made that have a real impact.
  • Learning about the needs of youth in the community by conducting a survey every two years.
  • Understanding the role of nonprofit organizations in the community by reviewing grant requests.
  • Gaining decision-making skills and how to work as part of a diverse group.
  • Appreciating the value of service to the community.
  • Making many new friends who attend different schools and have backgrounds.

The community benefits by:

  • Receiving funding for programs that benefit youth and appeal to youth.
  • Observing young people working for positive change in the community.
  • Hearing a youth voice as YGC members share their insight at local conferences and on advisory committees.
  • Discovering youth opinions through the biannual survey conducted by the YGC.
  • Utilizing knowledgeable young volunteers who have an understanding of community issues and who are well-prepared to take on leadership positions as adults.

2015-16 Youth Grant Committee Members

Thank you to this year's Youth Grant Committee members for their dedication, time and hard work! 

  • Amani Allen, Forest Hills Central
  • Henry Atkins, City High
  • Payton Bidwell, Kent Innovation
  • Preston Boorsma, West Catholic
  • Madeira BooydeGraaff, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Imani Brigham, East Kentwood
  • Erin Brom, Catholic Central
  • Abigail Choffel , City High
  • Adriana Cross, Northview
  • Yvonne Danko, Catholic Central
  • Kate Dann, Forest Hills Eastern
  • Deunique Dorris, City High
  • Jaquawn Dorris, City High
  • Annelise Droste, City High
  • Aiden Hascall , Northpointe Christian
  • Cassie Herrington, West Catholic
  • Jake Kooyer, Northview
  • Mackenzie Kraus, West Catholic
  • John Lown , Catholic Central
  • Sarah Mackson, East Grand Rapids High
  • Bryan Marmol, West Michigan Aviation Academy
  • Jordan Mayweather, East Grand Rapids High
  • Emily Nelson, Grand Rapids Christian High
  • Harumi Patzy, Northview High School
  • Luis Quilantan, Grandville High School
  • Anna Rosloniec, Catholic Central High School
  • Emmy Ryder, Northview/ Kent Innovation
  • Katherina Sourine, City High
  • Ethan Wolter, East Grand Rapids
  • Macie Zack, East Grand Rapids

Interested in being a part of the Youth Grant Committee? Download an application here.

Awarded Grants - May 2016

Better Wiser Stronger Inc.

To provide an experiential, meaningful opportunity for successful life outcomes for teen males ages 13-18.

D.A. Blodgett-St. John's

To expand the Sisters In Support program meet the needs of 30 young moms currently on the waiting list for mentors.  

Girls Growing II Women, Inc.

To provide teens ages 14-18 with the resources to feel included and valued while equipping them for their future opportunities of success.

Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center

To teach writing skills to urban youth in a positive summer learning experience and publish their work.

Grand Rapids Track Club Summer Youth Program

To provide youth from the Grand Rapids area an opportunity to participate in a summer youth track and field program.

Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports 

To assist the Jr. Pacers wheelchair basketball team in their season costs

Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan

To provide comprehensive sexuality education programming to youth ages 12-19 who are housed in the Juvenile Detention Center in Grand Rapids 

Roosevelt Park Ministries

To provide environmental, intellectual, physical, emotional, occupational, and social experiences – five days per week, afterschool from 3:30-6:00pm.

SLD Read

To support at-risk 1st -3rd grade free or reduced lunch students who are significantly below grade level in reading and spelling but do not qualify for special education.

STEM Greenhouse, Inc. 

To support an after school Girls Math club designed to educate and inspire girls to excel in mathematics. 

Union High School

To provide college/university campus tours for students in 4th through 12th grades, along with their teachers and some parents. 

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts

To support a five-week summer mentorship, internship, and hands-on arts class for kids ages 14-18 that give teens real-life work experience in the creative arts.

Urban Roots GR

To support the development of our neighborhood urban farm site and experiential youth education programs at Urban Roots.

West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology (WMCAT)

To support teen artists from the WMCAT in completing a place making, public mural in Wilcox Park.

West Michigan Environmental Action Council

To establish of pipeline of experiences for  high school youth to learn and engage in environmental action in Grand Rapids.

Women's Awareness Club

To enable the club to host multiple events during the month of April in solidarity with Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Youth Grant Committee FAQ

Who is eligible to apply for grants?

Any 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, nonprofit organization with programs that benefit youth is eligible to apply. Proposals should address specific youth issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, stress, teen pregnancy and other issues. Call the Grand Rapids Community Foundation at 616.454.1751 if you have questions. Proposals should address one of the identified youth needs, be creative and well-defined, and demonstrate broad community impact. An evaluation component and a plan for on-going funding should be included as well. 

When is the proposal deadline?

The YGC considers grant requests annually. Typically, the Request for Proposals (RFP) is available in late December of each year and the proposals are due in mid-February. Grant awards are announced the following May.

Where does the grant funding come from?

The money available for grants comes from income generated by a $1.8 million Youth Fund, which is held in permanent endowment by the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. The Youth Fund was established in 1991 with $1 million in matching funds from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Approximately $45,000 in grants is available annually. 

Who receives the grant awards?

In the last two decades, we have awarded more than one million dollars to local nonprofits. We particularly like to support programs that are unique, exhibit a great deal of creativity and incorporate youth leadership. 

How can I join the Youth Grant Committee?

Membership in YGC is open to any Grand Rapids area high school student interested in serving their community and willing to volunteer their time. More than 200 area students have served on the Committee over the past 10 years, with many of them serving through all four years of high school. Membership applications are available each April and new members are selected in August. Applications can be downloaded here. You can also apply online here. For more information, please contact Cris Kutzli at 616.454.1751 or email her at ckutzli@grfoundation.org.

How can I learn more about youth giving in Michigan?

Youth across the state of Michigan are active serving their communities and addressing issues of concern. Learn more about Michigan's many Youth Advisory Committees by visiting the Michigan Community Foundation Youth Project's website