Youth Advisory Council

  • 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.

    Annual Retreat: YAC members attend an annual weekend retreat to build relationships as a team and cultivate their leadership skills.

  • 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 Friday, April 23, 2021. 

  • 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 can 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 are accepted annually in September. Click here to apply.

    YAC Spring Grant Round: The Youth Advisory Council funds programs that seek to meet the needs of Mason County youth in the following priority areas: college and career readiness, mental health and stress management, and strengthening relationships in schools. 501(c)(3) organizations, churches, schools, agencies and governmental units serving youth in Mason County are eligible to apply. Applications are accepted annually in March. Click here to apply.

Youth Advisory Council Members

Jackson Kimes
YAC President
Mason County Central Schools

Neal Stewart
YAC Vice President
Mason County Eastern Schools

Molly Shay
YAC Treasurer
Ludington Area Schools

Annie Kline
YAC Secretary
Ludington Area Schools

Kendall Biggs
YAC Representative to Community Foundation Board
Ludington Area Schools

Abi Bandstra
Ludington Area Schools

Holly Bowen
Mason County Central Schools

Nicole Bowen
Mason County Central Schools

Sydney Horacek
Mason County Central Schools

Levi Laman
Ludington Area Schools

Olivia Klevorn
Ludington Area Schools

Miriam Manier
Mason County Eastern Schools

Karli Mesyar
Ludington Area Schools

Julia Wagner
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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