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





  • Affinity Mentoring

    Amount Awarded: $5,000

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    To implement lessons learned from the past year’s virtual mentoring into the 2021-2022 programming, including recruiting, training and matching new mentors. 

  • Arbor Circle

    Amount Awarded: $3,000

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    Prevention Day Program support. 

  • AYA Youth Collective

    Amount Awarded: $4,300

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    To center youth voices, by co-creating opportunities that give youth with lived homeless experience the tools and training to effect system change, through the Kent Count Youth Action Board. 

  • Better Wiser Stronger, Inc.

    Amount Awarded: $1,300

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    Support for the Blue Collar Program, which provides training for young men of color seeking skilled trades careers. 

  • Camp Blodgett

    Amount Awarded: $2,475

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    Expansion of the Adulting for Young Leaders program to include practical skills and post-high school career and learning opportunities. 

  • D.A. Blodgett-St. John's

    Amount Awarded: $3,135

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    Supporting Community Based Group mentoring, which works to develop life and work skills by matching children (ages 12-15) on probation with a mentor familiar with the probation system. 

  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services

    Amount Awarded: $4,000

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    Providing language access, learning opportunities, and Deaf role models to Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing children and families in an accepting and accessible environment. 

  • Diatribe

    Amount Awarded: $4,000

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    Supporting Poetry Empowered, which utilizes poetry and spoken word workshops to empower youth to tell their stories and work through struggles in a productive and healing way. 

  • Grand Rapids Pride Center

    Amount Awarded: $3,500

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    To transform GRPC’s youth programming by broadening mental health services and improving support to the BIPOC youth in the Grand Rapids community. 

  • Grand Valley State University

    Amount Awarded: $2,500

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    Supporting the Rhoer Club Symposium’s SupporTEEN GR Youth program, which encourages community organizing and demonstrates how youth develop their talents in activism against social injustice. 

  • Health Net of West Michigan

    Amount Awarded: $3,000

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    Increase food autonomy for families, gain knowledge of how food nourishes young adults, and empower youth to become changers and disruptors in the food system, through the FitKids360 Youth Mentor Garden. 

  • Helping Important People Succeed

    Amount Awarded: $2,280

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    Supporting the Serving Knowledge Learn and Lunch meetings, which work to enhance health and wellness, financial literacy, community leadership development and self-advocacy skills. 

  • Oakdale Neighbors

    Amount Awarded: $6,460

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    Equity in Education: Coding to Career program support. 

  • Planned Parenthood of Michigan

    Amount Awarded: $3,000

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    Peer educator training to provide trauma-informed mental health training to youth and adult experts in sexual health, through the wE-Care Project. 

  • Positive Impact For Life

    Amount Awarded: $2,950

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    Mentoring and tutoring program focused on academic and life enhancement skills. 

  • SLD Read

    Amount Awarded: $1,300

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    Language Links Literacy Tutoring support for students who are significantly below grade level in reading and spelling but do not qualify for Special Education services. 

  • Treetops Collective

    Amount Awarded: $4,800

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    Supporting the Concentric Teen Program, which connects refugee teens with local resources through mentoring relationships with New American women and friendships with Cross-Cultural Partners. 

  • United Methodist Community House

    Amount Awarded: $3,000

    Date Awarded: Mar. 2021

    The Dunyon Experience provides urban youth the opportunity to gain agriculture and farming skills. 

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 2021-2022 are 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.