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 $45,000 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.

For more information on how to join, scroll down to the Youth Grant Committee FAQ section.

Join the YGC

Become a Member of the Youth Grant Committee

Applications are currently being accepted for YGC membership. Apply now using this online application!

Apply Now

Meet the Committee Members

YGC 2019–2020

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
  • Ava BooydeGraaff, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Stella BooydeGraaff, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Zoe Braun, Forest Hills Northern
  • Khya Carter, East Kentwood
  • Carole Chee, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Hope Chun, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Noah Chun, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Livia Dietrichson, Northview
  • Pablo Eliseo Villalvazo, Union High
  • Ryleigh Fischer, Forest Hills Northern
  • Caleeb Fisher, Grand River Preparatory Academy
  • Cody Garrison, Union High
  • Dallas Hopson, Forest Hills Central
  • Roman Jeffries, Forest Hills Eastern
  • Midian Johnson, City High
  • Clara Kilburn, West Michigan Aviation Academy
  • Kyle Korte, Forest Hills Eastern
  • Brenda Lopez-Arreaga, West Michigan Aviation Academy
  • Skylar Meyer, Innovation Central
  • Jack Nelson, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Antony Pena, Union High
  • Kaylanna Ross, West Michigan Aviation Academy
  • Natalee Ryder, Northview/Kent Innovation
  • Kynade Sparks, East Kentwood
  • Kyndle Sparks, East Kentwood
  • Drew Theut, East Grand Rapids
  • Christina Vann, West Michigan Aviation Academy
  • Alex Vaughn-Earvin, Forest Hills Central 
  • Lily Walker, Grand River Preparatory Academy

Awarded Grants

Youth Grant Committee Awards, May 2019





  • Artists Creating Together

    Amount Awarded: $2,350

    Date Awarded: May. 2019

    In support of the Art of Gardening program, which explores the arts to promote confidence, wellness, community engagement, and self-expression for youth with disabilities.

  • Better Wiser Stronger

    Amount Awarded: $3,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2019

    Investing in the Teach Me 2 Tie program, which provides young males ages 14-18 the skills, self confidence and learning for a successful future socially and academically.

  • Bridge Street House of Prayer

    Amount Awarded: $2,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2019

    Supporting extracurricular Resurgence Labs for Westwood Middle School students.

  • Children's Healing Center

    Amount Awarded: $5,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2019

    To positively impact and encourage Children's Healing Center members through education, socialization, and provide them with a support system lasting through their teen years.

  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services

    Amount Awarded: $3,500

    Date Awarded: May. 2019

    Strengthen Sign language, increase self-esteem, social skills, and awareness of post high school educational and career opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing children.

  • Ebony Road Players

    Amount Awarded: $3,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2019

    Supporting the "Story to Stage" program, which creates opportunities to record the stories of our Black/Brown young community members, capturing their stories for posterity.

  • Girls Growing II Women

    Amount Awarded: $3,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2019

    Supporting the Fit 2 Mirror program, which trains participants to mirror their leadership, mentors, career path, healthy relationship skills and positive attitudes for their peers with good communication skills.

  • Grand Rapids HQ

    Amount Awarded: $2,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2019

    To invest in HQ Members' work to recover their vital documents so that they can further their education, obtain and advance their employment, and pursue housing.

  • Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities

    Amount Awarded: $2,500

    Date Awarded: May. 2019

    Provide STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) exploration for students in grades 5-8 in the Roosevelt Park/Black Hills neighborhoods of Grand Rapids.

  • Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes

    Amount Awarded: $2,500

    Date Awarded: May. 2019

    To bring high impact financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship programming to students in order to inspire and prepare them for the 21st century economy.

  • Kingdom Minded Ministries

    Amount Awarded: $6,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2019

    For the purchase of class materials and the Servsafe Certification test for participants of the KMM Young Chef's program.

  • No Surrender Running Club

    Amount Awarded: $3,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2019

    To continue expansion of No Surrender Running Club's 2019 youth development programming by increasing organizational capacity to serve Grand Rapids youth from underserved neighborhoods.

  • Planned Parenthood of Michigan

    Amount Awarded: $4,500

    Date Awarded: May. 2019

    Supporting the Streetwise to Sexwise program in which systems-involved youth learn how to be sexually safe, healthy, and responsible through lessons on consent, healthy relationships, self-esteem, and healthy sexual decision-making.

  • SLD Read

    Amount Awarded: $3,650

    Date Awarded: May. 2019

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

  • The Edge Urban Church

    Amount Awarded: $4,000

    Date Awarded: May. 2019

    To enhance the Student Worker Initiative, to fund group projects, job site visits and job shadowing.

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. Past applicants will receive an email notification when future grant application timelines have been established.

    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 March and new members are selected in May. For more information, click here, or contact Erika VanDyke, YGC Advisor, at

    Membership applications for 2020-2021 must be submitted online by Thursday, April 23, 2020. To access the application, click here.

  • 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.