Youth Grant Committee

Engaging Students in Philanthropy

Students from public, private and home-school high schools throughout greater Grand Rapids make up Grand Rapids Community Foundation's Youth Grant Committee (YGC). During the school year, Youth Grant Committee 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 Community Foundation's Board of Trustees.

So many reasons to be part of YGC

The Youth Grant Committee presents an awesome opportunity for local high school students to gain leadership experience while working as part of a diverse team to make decisions that make a real impact. Students learn about the nonprofits in our community working to meet the needs of youth. They also conduct a grant process—ultimately awarding around $50,000 to programs that they deem right for support.

Just as important are the friendships that students make with kids from different schools and backgrounds. In addition to monthly meetings, students take part in team-building activities and service projects.

Membership applications for the 2019-20 YGC are currently available. For more information, click here.

To apply, submit the 2019 YGC Application by May 31st!

Meet the Committee Members

YGC 2018–2019

We are thrilled to have this great group of teens as part of our Community Foundation!

  • Kyle Austin, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Christian Baty, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Payton Bidwell, Kent Innovation
  • Ava BooydeGraaff, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Khya Carter, East Kentwood
  • Carole Chee, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Hope Chun, Grand Rapids Christian
  • QiQi Clark, City High
  • Livia Dietrichson, Northview
  • DeUnique Dorris, City High
  • Trey Droste, City High
  • Pablo Eliseo Villalvazo, Union High
  • Ryleigh Fischer, Forest Hills Northern
  • Cody Garrison, Union High
  • Torin Hodgman, Grand Rapids Public Museum School
  • Dallas Hopson, Forest Hills Central
  • Victor Jauregui-Tapia, Grand River Prep
  • Midian Johnson, City High
  • Clara Kilburn, West Michigan Aviation Academy
  • Kyle Korte, Forest Hills Eastern
  • Brenda Lopez-Arreaga, West Michigan Aviation Academy
  • Denali Mayweather, East Grand Rapids
  • Emily Nelson, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Rukundo Nshimiyyimana, Innovation Central
  • Antony Pena, Union High
  • Natalee Ryder, Northview/Kent Innovation
  • Kyndle Sparks, East Kentwood
  • Drew Theut, East Grand Rapids
  • Christina Vann, West Michigan Aviation Academy
  • Alexandria Vaughn-Earvin, Forest Hills Central
  • Riley Wilson, City High
  • Ethan Wolter, East Grand Rapids

Awarded Grants

Youth Grant Committee Awards, May 2018





  • Artists Creating Together

    Amount Awarded: $2,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2018

    To explore the arts to promote wellness, community engagement, and self-expression for youth with disabilities.

  • Autism Family Network

    Amount Awarded: $500

    Date Awarded: May. 2018

    To give children with autism and their families the opportunity to experience a live baseball game in a safe and judgement free atmosphere.

  • D. A. Blodgett-St. John’s

    Amount Awarded: $6,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2018

    To enlist high school students as mentors for elementary school students who are struggling academically and behaviorally.

  • Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services

    Amount Awarded: $2,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2018

    To support the learning of American Sign Language, build social skills, enhance communication, reduce isolation and vulnerability for deaf and hard of hearing children.

  • Girls Growing II Women

    Amount Awarded: $2,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2018

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

  • Heart of West Michigan United Way

    Amount Awarded: $1,500

    Date Awarded: May. 2018

    To engage Grand Rapids high school students in meaningful community service activities to increase self-esteem and build resumes for college applications.

  • Kent County Girls on the Run

    Amount Awarded: $1,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2018

    To be able to offer Camp GOTR to 40 girls, Summer 2018, at the Salvation Army Kroc Center regardless of ability to pay fees.

  • No Surrender Running Club

    Amount Awarded: $3,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2018

    To expand No Surrender Running Club's 2018 running and mentorship program by increasing organizational capacity to serve Grand Rapids youth from underserved neighborhoods.

  • Oakdale Neighbors

    Amount Awarded: $1,500

    Date Awarded: May. 2018

    To help 50 elementary-age students develop healthy habits with contemporary hip-hop, reading practice, and community gardening preparing them for the coming school year.

  • Planned Parenthood of Michigan

    Amount Awarded: $3,750

    Date Awarded: May. 2018

    To teach high-risk youth how to be sexually safe, healthy, and responsible through lessons on consent, healthy relationships, self-esteem, and healthy sexual decision-making.

  • San Juan Diego Academy

    Amount Awarded: $1,115

    Date Awarded: May. 2018

    To enhance our music program with a full-size, portable keyboard that can be brought to other classrooms/venues and providing recorders for fourth-graders for five years.

  • SLD Read

    Amount Awarded: $5,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2018

    Reading and spelling support for at-risk 1st-3rd grade students who are significantly below grade level but do not qualify for special education.

  • Step Up Youth Productions

    Amount Awarded: $3,210

    Date Awarded: May. 2018

    To identify, intercept and benefit at-risk children and teens by giving them the opportunity to step up through the components of production, performance, dance and music.

  • Treetops Collective

    Amount Awarded: $5,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2018

    To invest in young refugee women's leadership development in Grand Rapids.

  • Union High School

    Amount Awarded: $4,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2018

    To increase the number of Union High School students attending college through supports and incentives, specifically targeting the last senior class before the Challenge Scholars graduate.

Youth Grant Committee FAQ

Thinking About a YGC Grant for Your Organization?

Here's everything you need to know about youth grants from Grand Rapids Community Foundation and how to apply for funds.

  • 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.

    Download a pdf of the fund guidelines.

  • Grant applications are available online each year beginning in early December and are due by the second Friday in February.

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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 June. For more information, click here.

    To apply, submit the 2019 YGC Application by May 31st!

  • 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.