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.

Meet the Committee Members

YGC 2020-2021

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

  • Sparsh Aiyar, City High Middle School
  • Alani Arnold, Grandville High School
  • Caebre Baty, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Christian Baty, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Stella BooydeGraaff, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Zoe Braun, Forest Hills Northern
  • Jazpe Cano, Southwest Community Campus
  • Noah Chun, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Jack DeVries, West Michigan Aviation Academy
  • Pablo Eliseo Villalvazo, Union High School
  • Ryleigh Fischer, Forest Hills Northern
  • Britney Garcia, City High Middle School
  • Camille Gerville-Reache, Forest Hills Northern
  • Emmalene Grace Hardouin, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Claire Hart, East Grand Rapids
  • Torin Hodgman, GRPS Museum High
  • Dallas Hopson, Forest Hills Central
  • Helen Lee, Forest Hills Northern
  • John Lee, Forest Hills Northern
  • Jack Nelson, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Lily Nykamp, Grand Rapids Christian
  • Sydney Ozinga, South Christian High School
  • Samantha Rivera, Grandville High School
  • Natalie Rodriguez, City High Middle School
  • Kaylanna Ross, West Michigan Aviation Academy
  • Madeline Uren, City High Middle School

Awarded Grants

Youth Grant Committee Awards, May 2020





  • Arbor Circle

    Amount Awarded: $2,000

    Date Awarded:

    Expansion of Total Trek Quest (TTQ), an after school prevention program for 3rd-5th grade boys, in Kent County.

  • Artists Creating Together

    Amount Awarded: $4,000

    Date Awarded:

    Supporting experiential art workshops and residencies for students with disabilities to build confidence, celebrate ability, and encourage creative expression in local schools.

  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth

    Amount Awarded: $2,500

    Date Awarded:

    To launch SMART Girls to support girls as they navigate adolescence and emerge as strong, healthy young adults.

  • Children's Healing Center

    Amount Awarded: $2,000

    Date Awarded:

    To foster friendship and engagement to strengthen the teen/tween program.

  • Comprehensive Therapy Center

    Amount Awarded: $3,000

    Date Awarded:

    To reduce the barriers faced by marginalized students who are interested in pursuing health care careers.

  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services

    Amount Awarded: $3,000

    Date Awarded:

    Increase children's access to language and communication while strengthening social skills and self-esteem and introducing students to new skills, education and career opportunities.

  • Diatribe

    Amount Awarded: $4,700

    Date Awarded:

    Through poetry and spoken word workshops and assemblies, empower youth to tell their stories and work through struggles in a productive and healing way.

  • Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center

    Amount Awarded: $2,500

    Date Awarded:

    Partnering with young people in Grand Rapids to create published authors who inspire audiences across the city.

  • Grand Rapids HQ

    Amount Awarded: $3,000

    Date Awarded:

    Resources and support around education goals to youth facing housing instability in order to increase access to higher education and college retention.

  • Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities

    Amount Awarded: $1,500

    Date Awarded:

    Summer 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: $3,000

    Date Awarded:

    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: $3,000

    Date Awarded:

    Supporting the Young Chefs Program.

  • Oakdale Neighbors

    Amount Awarded: $3,300

    Date Awarded:

    Provide college bound elementary students the opportunity to learn robotics, build team, and demonstrate their knowledge through competitions and workshops for younger students.

  • Planned Parenthood of Michigan

    Amount Awarded: $4,500

    Date Awarded:

    To provide systems-involved youth ages 12-19 with the comprehensive sexuality education and resources they need to make healthy choices that support their future goals.

  • Treetops Collective

    Amount Awarded: $3,000

    Date Awarded:

    Catalyze teen girls who have experienced the refugee resettlement process and are making a home in West Michigan.

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.

  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, government entities (including schools), or community groups willing to obtain a fiscal sponsor (with help from the Community Foundation) may apply for grants for programs that benefit youth in the greater Grand Rapids area. Proposals should address one of the youth needs identified in the fund guidelines, be creative and well-defined, and demonstrate equitable community impact. A project budget and plans for program evaluation should be included as well. Call the Grand Rapids Community Foundation at 616.454.1751 if you have questions.

    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. Please contact Erika VanDyke, YGC Advisor, at if you wish to be notified when the application opens.

    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, address racial, social and economic justice, 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. Hundreds of area students have served on the Committee since YGC began, 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 are now closed. 

  • 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.