Our Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Who We Are and What We Do

*Want to be a Youth Grant Committee member? Applications for new members are available April-August. Learn more and download application in the FAQ's below!

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.

2014 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
  • Nathan Baker, City High
  • Kate Blumenstein, City High
  • Preston Boorsma, West Catholic
  • Madeira BooydeGraaff, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Imani Brigham, East Kentwood
  • Erin Brom, Catholic Central
  • Malikah Brown, Wellspring Preparatory
  • Abigail Choffel , City High
  • Hannah Creasey, City High
  • Adriana Cross, Northview
  • Yvonne Danko, Catholic Central
  • Kate Dann, Forest Hills Eastern
  • Annelise Droste, City High
  • Jude Eyamba, Innovation Central
  • Aiden Hascall , Northpointe Christian
  • Quinn Hascall, Northpointe Christian
  • Cassie Herrington, West Catholic
  • Jake Kooyer, Northview
  • Mackenzie Kraus, West Catholic
  • John Lown , Catholic Central
  • Raqhelle Millbrooks, City High
  • Ebony Pratt, Innovation Central
  • Emmy Ryder, Northview/ Kent Innovation
  • Chris Santana , Union
  • Desmond Smith, Forest Hills Northern
  • Katherina Sourine, City High
  • Kaela Theut, East Grand Rapids
  • Austin Young, East Kentwood
  • Macie Zack, East Grand Rapids

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

Awarded Grants - May 2015

Artists Creating Together (ACT)

To underwrite 12 special education classrooms participating in ACT's residency and scholarship program.  

Baxter Community Center

To fund two international summer trips through the 3.0 Gets to Go travel initiative.

D.A. Blodgett-St. John's

To fund an additional caseworker so Sisters in Support can serve another 15 young moms.

Gays In Faith Together (GIFT)

To foster safe, affirming, and empowering spaces for LGBTQ youth across West Michigan.

Girls Growing II Women, Inc. 

To run workshops that will help teenage girls from ages 13 to 19 feel valued and equipped for success. 

Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center

To publish students' creative writing in an anthology, The Book of Explosions, and support summer adventure programming.

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.

Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities: GAAH Teen Leaders in the Arts (TLA)

To fund Teen Leaders in the Arts, a program that blends artistic expression with leadership and job training. 

Harrison Park School

To provide bus transportation for college campus tours for Challenge Scholars students. 

Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports Programs

To be put towards season costs for the Junior Pacers wheelchair basketball team.

United Methodist Community House

To send kids from inner-city neighborhoods on educational field trips during summer.  

West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology (WMCAT)

To support an eight-week summer arts engagement and employment experience for Grand Rapids Public School students. 

West Michigan Environmental Action Council

To expand Teach for the Watershed into Cesar E. Chavez Elementary School.

Westwood Middle School

To support eighth grade students who have academic or behavioral challenges through summer retreat activities and an "on-track" program accountability program.

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 (this year's youth grant application deadline is 11:59 p.m. on February 9, 2015). 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. 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