Our hope is that we will enable every youth in this country to experience the joy that comes from giving back. This program is not only benefiting the next generation, but the entire community.
Future Philanthropists will give the next generation an opportunity to confront issues in their communities directly. The overwhelming majority of youth philanthropists surveyed by the Youth Leadership Institute believed that they were better decision makers, team members, and leaders because they had formed positive relationships with peers and at least one adult. Furthermore, educators believe that many of the skills developed – from speaking in front of a group to allocating funds from a budget -are directly correlated to academic achievement. By participating in the Future Philanthropists program, students establish meaningful relationships and find a safe space for reflection and discussion with their teachers and one another. When combined with their increased connection with the community and the responsibility that comes with making grants to community-based nonprofit organizations, the result is increased self-esteem, self-efficacy, and self-awareness among youth.
The impact of Future Philanthropists surely reaches beyond the youth who participate. Because youth make careful and well thought out decisions regarding grant allocation, benefits are felt directly by the organizations that students choose to fund. Their thoughtful decisions have helped local food pantries serve more individuals, children recover from the death of a parent, and families learn about the importance of nutrition. Youth innately understand that the key to effective giving is to offer tools, hope, and resources to enable us, person by person and community by community, to provide comfort and direction to confused teens, coats and mittens to needy families, reassurance and connection to lonely seniors.