Unleashing the Potential of Youth in Philanthropy and Nonprofits

April 16, 2013

By Annie Hernandez

In recent research  on next generation donors, 90 percent of respondents cited their parents as their model of philanthropy.  The more—and earlier—parents engage their children in philanthropy, the more their legacy of giving will be passed along.  I have had the opportunity to work with over a hundred youth ages 8-21 involved in the philanthropic efforts of their family or community.  I have been continually impressed by their eagerness to learn to give back in a way that makes a difference.  They have smart ideas and want to work with their peers—siblings, cousins, friends, or schoolmates—to produce measurable change.  Since we know Millennials like to work with peers on tangible actions that make impact, the more families can find unique ways to make this happen, the better.  A tactic of many families is to support a Junior board or grantmaking experience for their youth.  Many of the youth involved in these types of efforts, don’t realize there are other youth engaging in similar activities.

At last year’s Youth Philanthropy Connect conference, we brought together these youth ages 8-21 involved in their family philanthropy and listened in awe as they talked about their definitions of youth philanthropy and why they are passionate about making a difference.  As a past 17 year old attendee described, “The conference was a fabulous experience.  I met many lovely people, made wonderful memories, and most importantly, I learned that my junior board is not working in a bubble—there are most youth-led boards out there!  Youth Philanthropy connect created a space for all of us to come together and brainstorm—it’s a next-gen think tank!” Check out this short video that captures the essence of last year’s conference.

This year we will continue to unleash the potential of youth philanthropy at the 3rd Annual Youth Philanthropy Connect conference June 20-22 at Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel in Anaheim, CA.  We will feature two keynote speakers including Jen Bokoff, from the Illumination Fund, and Rosetta Thurman, co-author of How to Become A Nonprofit Rockstar.  There will also be five sets of concurrent sessions where attendees will learn more about foundations, philanthropy, nonprofits and grantmaking.  The conference will culminate in a giving circle where attendees will work together to make mini grants of up to $1,000 to nonprofits that are engaging youth in their organization in meaningful ways.

If you have a junior board or youth philanthropy effort…or are interested in finding ways to engage youth ages 8-21 in the work of your foundation, this conference is for you!  Visit our website for more information and to register.

If you are a nonprofit who is engaging alumni, interns or advisors ages 8-21 in your board or program leadership, please apply for the mini-grant opportunity (more info by clicking here).  Application deadline is April 22.

Annie Hernandez is the director of Youth Philanthropy Connect


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