Do You Have a Youth Philanthropy Initiative?
I am a pretty passionate person, especially when it comes to philanthropy. When you spend more than four decades, including nights, weekends and holidays, doing what you love to do, you pray that philanthropy continues to grow in a positive way after you leave the stage.
When I talk to others about time, talent and treasure, I ask them how they were affected by philanthropy. Most of the time they will mention a story about when they were young and the philanthropic seed was planted. We all know if you start early in life, roots may grow strong. Philanthropy training must begin with our youth.
According to Wikipedia:
“Youth philanthropy is the donation of time, energy or resources, including money, by children and youth towards philanthropic causes. According to one study, ‘Youth philanthropy is, at the broadest level, youth giving of their time, talent and treasure.’ It is seen as an effective means by which youth develop knowledge of and participate in philanthropic projects, such as volunteering, grant writing and community service.
Youth philanthropy educates young people about social change in order to identify community problems and design the most appropriate solutions in a systemic way. Philanthropy, in this case, is defined as anything young people do to make the world around them a better place.”
I recently had the opportunity to meet Jill Gordon, program director of Youth Philanthropy Initiative of Indiana (YPII). She explained to me that YPII is a signature, statewide program of the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance. Education and foundation leaders from around Indiana founded this program as a statewide initiative. The mission of YPII is to “grow lifelong philanthropists who give of their time, talent and treasure for the common good,” and the founding vision is that all of Indiana’s young people are aware and actively engaged in philanthropy.
The four pillars of this youth-philanthropy programming are: serving, giving, leading and engaging.
- Serving: Teach youth how to serve in their communities.
- Giving: Use time, talent and treasure to give to others.
- Leading: Young leaders can model philanthropic action.
- Engaging: Giving with peers will engage others to be philanthropic.
YPII is unique in that it is one of only three statewide initiatives dedicated to youth philanthropy. The Indiana model of 15 years is based upon Michigan’s program, which has lasted more than 25 years. The other involved state is North Carolina.
Key components of the Indiana model include:
- Philanthropy education and training
- Leadership development
- Grantmaking and/or annual giving of funds for community needs
- Community service
- Civic engagement
- Encouragement of personal giving
- Fundraising events and activities
- Development of youth and adult partnerships
In a July 7, 2015, guest blog on the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance website, Jill noted that YPII continues to study the impact and benefits of youth philanthropy programs. This is being done through a five-year alumni study that is following graduates from the Community Foundation Youth Philanthropy Committees through college and into their professional lives. Jill proudly notes in her blog that one of these alums is 21 years old, and has actively pursued and achieved his dream of a philanthropic career as program officer at The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County.
I am so very proud of Jill and the YPII. I challenge the 47 states without this program to use Indiana, Michigan or North Carolina as a model for their programs. If we can plant the proper philanthropic seeds with our youth, the state of philanthropy will be in good hands for many generations to come. Let’s promote National Philanthropy Day each November as a day in which everyone in the nonprofit industry mentors a young student of philanthropy for a day. Encouraging young people to understand, appreciate and promote philanthropy is truly paying it forward.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last nine years and has had the CFRE designation for the last 25 years. He has also been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for over 35 years. He received his doctorate from West Virginia University with an emphasis in philanthropy, masters from Marshall University with an emphasis on resource development and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with emphasis in marketing/management. Currently he is executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org.