: Youth Grantmakers

A New Year, New Members and a New Focus

The Idyllwild Community Fund Advisory Board begins 2014 with five new members, new officers and an energized commitment to serve the needs of the community by making grants to local non-profits – assisting those local organizations in accomplishing their missions. In newsletters to come, we’ll profile last year’s grantees, their roles in the community and how they plan to use their grants. In awarding grants, the board strives to engage with the community, understand its needs, and review and respond to grant requests as the original Idyllwild donors intended.

Established in 1996 by a local couple whose mission it was to provide, in perpetuity, a fund and legacy to be used in the wider Idyllwild community for general charitable purposes, the fund or endowment is administered by the ICF Advisory Board operating under the umbrella of The Community Foundation, headquartered in Riverside.

Both the ICF and The Community Foundation are charged with increasing their founding endowments through marketing and fundraising so that those endowments grow. Grants are then made from interest on the principal. From 1999 through 2013, ICF grants to Idyllwild non profits totaled $171,000.

The 2014 ICF board is already planning new fundraising programs to engage, entertain and enroll the community in joining hands to bring a better quality of life to our neighbors and friends.

Current board members are Summer Brown, Mary Collier, Jeri Sue Haney, Gigi Kramer, Ron Krull, Marshall Smith, Bill Sperling Trish Tulley and Adele Voell. Our five new members are:

Jayne-DavisJayne Davis, native New Englander, retired teacher and current Idyllwild Master Chorale librarian and vocalist, brings a strong history of volunteering, deep knowledge of the community and excellent organizational skills to the board;

SteveTaylor-BioLocal realtor Steve Taylor has lived in Idyllwild for nearly 19 years and both through his work and volunteer activities – with the Help Center Board and the Art Alliance of Idyllwild – has developed a nuanced understanding of what he calls, “this very special little town.” Steve has also served as president of the local Board of Realtors;

Mary-MorseMary Morse, current Director of Resource Development for EXCEED, a Hemet based non profit providing vocational training to adults with disabilities, is a Pine Cove resident who brings her experience in non profit administration, teaching, counseling and marketing to the board;

KathyHarmonLuberKathy Harmon-Luber, 11 year Idyllwild resident and previous Director of Development for the Idyllwild Arts Foundation, is an experienced fundraiser, having raised over $100 million for organizations advocating the arts, education, children, health and social services and political change in both Southern California and Washington D.C. Kathy also currently serves on the boards of the Art Alliance of Idyllwild and the Associates of Idyllwild Arts;

Jim-NutterJim Nutter, current Vice President of the Idyllwild Master Chorale, 24 year member and five time president of the Idyllwild Lions Club, current adjutant of the Sons of the American Legion, post 800 and Post Honor Guard member, brings dedication and discipline and a reputation for hard work to the board. Jim is currently employed with the Fern Valley Water District.

New ICF Advisory Board officers are Marshall Smith, President, Ron Krull, Vice President, and Summer Brown, Corresponding Secretary. Unfortunately for us, Dianne Suechika, a most vibrant and engaged board member and current Recording Secretary, had to resign because of family issues. Her board seat and officer position are now open.

Our year will be exciting and we will keep you informed. Thanks for making this journey with us.

Grant applications open on March 10th and remain open through May 5. We conduct our site visits to potential grantees from June 2nd through 6th, make our decisions in August and have our annual reception, awards ceremony and gala on September 25.

Keep an eye out for our new fundraising events which, given the character of this board, should be fun and entertaining.

Developing Youth Philanthropists: The Idyllwild Youth Grantmakers

Photo Credit: Barbara Reese

Idyllwild Youth Grantmakers. Photo by Barbara Reese

The Idyllwild Youth Grantmakers Committee is the newest project to which the Idyllwild Community Fund is devoting time and resources. It is an exciting initiative designed to develop young philanthropists, seeking to cultivate in them a lifelong commitment to giving and community service.

Current board member Trish Tuley, who along with Dianne Suechika, spearheaded the drive to implement the Idyllwild Youth Grantmakers Committee at Idyllwild Middle School, commented on why it is important to her:

“I was reviewing the annual report for the Community Foundation a couple years ago and saw the Youth Grantmakers and thought, ‘Wow, this is just what Idyllwild needs!’ It just seemed to me that the youth of Idyllwild were underserved with really not much happening for the middle and high school kids. Now with the program in place 6th through 8th grade students get to decide which local non-profit applicants should receive funding. They get to decide which programs best meet the needs of their own age group rather than adults making those decisions for them. Also, introducing them to the idea of philanthropy at a young age may affect their entire lives.”

Launched in 2009 by The Community Foundation for high school students in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, the Youth Grantmaker program was offered to ICF in 2012 in a first of its kind pilot program for middle school students, 6th through 8th grade. By working with Idyllwild School administration and faculty, ICF board members Diane Suechika and Trish Tuley laid the groundwork to successfully implement the program locally.

Karen Lampert, Community Foundation Program Associate, coordinates the IYGC six month sessions and teaches the Idyllwild School volunteers about philanthropy and grant making with the invaluable support and assistance of IS teacher/sponsors George Companiott and Donna Mercer. This is the second year of the program and this year there are 18 highly committed students who spend 16 to 20 after school hours training in grant evaluation and grant making as well as an additional 10 hours of community service.

Karen describes the project:

“The Idyllwild Youth Grantmakers Committee (IYGC) was formed in February 2012 as a collaborative partnership between the Idyllwild Community Fund and The Community Foundation.  The IYGC is a unique philanthropic program that actively engages Idyllwild Middle School 6 through 8th grade students in a series of 8-10 rigorous hands-on learning sessions.  The sessions enable students who have volunteered for this project to develop leadership skills by learning about philanthropy;  expanding knowledge of their community through needs assessments and service-learning activities; as well as teaching them to meet community challenges by evaluating and making grants to local non-profits with core projects that address the concerns of youth.”

IYGC is part of The Community Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Initiative.   ‘The goal of our Youth Philanthropy Initiative is to teach young people about the tradition of philanthropy,” said Celia Cudiamat, the foundation’s Executive Vice President. “We want to increase their awareness about youth issueswithinandoutside the confines of their own neighborhood, improve their skills in conflict resolution and communications, increase their knowledge about grant making, local nonprofits and foundations, and teach them leadership and civic skills.  We hope the end result isthatstudentsdevelopanethicofserviceandlifelonginvolvement in their community.’

The mission of the Idyllwild Youth Grantmakers Committee is to cultivate and develop the spirit of philanthropy in young people, and to inspire a lifelong interest and commitment to serving others and addressing youth issues.

IYGC members are students who are able to exhibit tenacity, service and personal growth. Each individual Youth Grantmaker brings with them  unique backgrounds and perspectives that when combined with other members, create an atmosphere that welcomes diversity, ethical debates, and in the end forms true bonds of solidarity and friendship.

The Idyllwild Youth Grantmakers Committee meets after school once a month. IYGC members undergo training and education in the nonprofit sector, social change model of leadership development, skills building workshops on diversity, asset building of proactive skills and team building.  Members are taught how to review and analyze grant proposals. By reviewing grant proposals and allocating money from various donors, youth are able to experience the behind-the-scenes processes that help nonprofit organizations function. As part of their training, members interact with nonprofit agencies through engagement in site visits, presentations, and service.   IYGC members are exposed to many nonprofit agencies and learn from leaders in the Idyllwild community.  IYGC members learn how to lead, show empathy, and prioritize.

In 2012 IYGC awarded $3,713 in grant funding to five Idyllwild nonprofits to help meet the needs of youth in the community.

Wow! Our Kids Are Learning How to Give Back!

Can a group of sixth and seventh grade students acquire the skills necessary to organize and run a philanthropic program? You bet they can! Funded by ICF and The Community Foundation, the Youth Grantmaker Program is officially underway.

Beginning on February 28 and continuing through April 25, Karen Lampert of The Community Foundation will hold a series of workshops helping students understand the concept of philanthropy and the needs of the nonprofit community. Through guided instruction, she will help students acquire the requisite skills to write and review grant applications and ultimately to award qualifying grant applications with a check at a ceremony on May 23.

This program is funded for three grant cycles through 2015 and will be coordinated by volunteer teachers Donna Mercer and George Companiott.