Youth Committee distributing $54,000 to benefit teen programs

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - It’s that time of year again. Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s Youth Grant Committee (YGC) is requesting proposals from local non-profit organizations and government agencies in need of funding for programs that address issues facing youth. The YGC, which includes 33 students from 13 area high schools, awards grant money on an annual basis to organizations that help young people deal with issues ranging from alcohol abuse to those dealing with an underprivileged youth. This year the Committee has $54,000 to grant. The deadline for applications is February 7, 2005. The Committee is seeking proposals for programs that address specific social issues affecting today’s youth. These social issues were identified through a survey that members of the committee conducted with nearly 900 students from area middle and high schools last fall. Alcohol/drug use, drunk driving, stress and teen pregnancy were highlighted as the top issues affecting teens today. The survey revealed the types of programs young people identified as most helpful in addressing those problems. Competitive sports, arts and music programs, experiential learning activities, camps and mentor relationships were identified as most beneficial. “The Youth Grant Committee has been a great instrument for actively involving young people in the grantmaking process,” said Diana Sieger, president of the Community Foundation. “Involving high school students in the Committee deepens their ties to the community and instills a sense of philanthropy and responsibility that we hope they will foster the rest of their lives.” The grant funds are from income generated by a $1.6 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. The deadline to submit grant applications is February 7, 2005. Applications are currently available at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation website ( or by calling Cris Kooyer at 616.454.1751. Proposals should address one of the identified 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. Grant awards are announced in May. The Grand Rapids Community Foundation, the oldest community foundation in Michigan, was founded in 1922. It continues to fund, initiate and lead programs that benefit the Grand Rapids area in the arts, community development, education, environment, health, and human services.