In 1989, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation conceived an idea to help seed community foundations throughout Michigan if the local foundation agreed to establish a permanent youth fund and a Youth Advisory Council (YAC). They wanted to help create a strong philanthropic training ground for youth and, in a few short years, over 86 YACs were formed across Michigan. The goal was to help young people learn generosity and leadership and, at the same time, build stronger and more caring communities.
The Youth Advisory Council is a special “youth as grantmakers” project of the Community Foundation for Mason County. The YAC is made up of student representatives from Mason County schools and supported by adult advisors. The YAC engages young people in solving real problems affecting their communities and peers. This group of young people is Mason County’s own local panel of experts regarding youth issues who provide recommendations to the Community Foundation’s board of directors about grants to be awarded from the fund each year. The YAC meets monthly during the school year to carry out their work.
Grantmaking: YAC members help guide distribution of grants to promising youth-related projects in Mason County. Every fall, they review teacher mini-grant applications to support local educators with classroom projects. Each spring, they review applications and award funding to organizations that support youth in the following priority areas: mental health and stress management, college and career readiness, and building relationships in schools. Since its inception, our YAC has made over 350 grants to local youth projects, totaling over $365,000.
Needs Assessment:Every three years, the YAC conducts a needs assessment to identify the community issues most important to young people living in Mason County. The findings from the needs assessment help to drive the YAC’s grantmaking. Current funding priorities include college and career readiness, mental health and stress management, and strengthening relationships in schools. The YAC will implement the next round of the youth needs assessment in the fall of 2021.
Service: Each year, the YAC selects a local service project in which to participate. In the 2019-20 program year, the YAC participated in the virtual Ludington Lake Jump to support Lakeshore Food for Kids.
Interested in joining the Youth Advisory Council? Current 8th – 11th grade students who live in Mason County are welcome to apply. Click here to complete a brief application. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, April 6, 2022.
Teacher Mini-Grants: Public and private school teachers and counselors in Mason County are eligible to apply. You may only submit one application, and grants are limited to one per classroom and one per teacher per school year. Grants may be up to $500 for specific projects or programs, including program enhancement that meets curriculum guidelines, expanding an already existing unit, student awards, special events, professional development, artists in residence, or parent involvement programs. Grants are not awarded for basic supplies. Applications can be accessed annually starting in September through our online application system, Submittable.
Teacher Mini-Grant Applications due: October 7, 2022.
Youth Advisory Council Competitive Grant Round: The Youth Advisory Council funds programs that support youth in Mason County. Funding priorities are based on the YAC’s needs assessment results and will be released in February of 2022. All 501(c)(3) organizations, churches, schools, agencies, and governmental units serving youth in Mason County are eligible to apply. Applications can be accessed annually starting in March through our online application system, Submittable.
YAC Competitive Grants Applications Due: April 6, 2022
Youth Advisory Council Members
Alana Calhoun President Ludington Area Schools
Nicole Bowen Vice President Mason County Central Schools
Olivia Klevorn Secretary Ludington Area Schools
Annie Kline Treasurer Ludington Area Schools
Abi Bandstra Representative to the Community Foundation Board Ludington Area Schools
Avery Reed Ludington Area Schools
Emma Jancek Mason County Central Schools
Holly Bowen Mason County Central Schools
Jacob Johnston Ludington Area Schools
Julia Wagner Mason County Central Schools
Kaitlin Carlson Ludington Area Schools
Karli Mesyar Ludington Area Schools
Kathleen Wang Ludington Area Schools
Kennady Tyler Mason County Eastern Schools
Levi Laman Ludington Area Schools
Maggie Autry Ludington Area Schools
Malakai Honyoust Home School
Mariella Korendyke Ludington Area Schools
Sydney Horacek Mason County Central Schools
For more information on the Community Foundation for Mason County’s Youth Advisory Council, contact: Monique Selimos, Youth Advisory Council advisor, (231) 335-3356.
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