Highland County Youth Philanthropy Council Grants $20,000 to Local Nonprofits


In a press release, The Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge is pleased to announce their Highland County Youth Philanthropy Council’s (HC YPC) decision to award $20,000 in competitive grants to six nonprofit organizations serving residents in Highland County.

The Community Foundation established its HC YPC in 2008 in an effort to provide opportunities for Highland youth to gain leadership, consensus building, philanthropic, and decision-making skills, while supporting their unique community.

On May 9th, the HC YPC held its Award Ceremony at The Highland Center in Monterey. The Awards were given to those organizations that support the following funding priorities for 2019:

  1. Access to Healthy Foods
  2. Transportation for All Residents of Highland County
  3. Access to Mental Health Services
  4. Assistance for Victims of Domestic Violence
  5. Childcare Located within Highland County

Thanks to a generous donor, this year the Council (HC YPC) had an additional $10,000 to distribute among those selected organizations. According to the HC YPC Coordinator, Jessica Durovy, Program Manager and Youth Advocate at The Highland Center, the students were excited about the increased funding and felt an even deeper sense of responsibility to award grants that will have an impact in their community. In determining their recipients, they focused on those who met their funding priorities and unanimously agreed to fund the following recipients for 2019:

Allegheny Mountain Institute:

Increase access to healthy foods for at-risk Highland County residents by streamlining and expanding fresh produce donations.

Dare to Dream Therapeutic Horsemanship Center:

Provide scholarships for Highland County residents who are in need of their services.

Elegius Mini Horse Sanctuary:

Offer employment opportunities for young people in Highland County, especially those with disabilities.

Highland County Humane Society:

Provide assistance, including subsidized vet and grooming services, pet food, and transportation to vet appointments.

Safehome Systems:

Improve technological equipment to collect data from interviews with survivors and victims.

Valley Program for Aging Services:

Provide transportation to medical appointments and events for seniors (60+) in Highland County.

During the ceremony, Ms. Carolyn Pohowsky, former Executive Director for the Highland County Chamber of Commerce, congratulated the students in their efforts and reminded them of the value of giving back to their community. She highlighted the importance of grassroots initiatives in a community such as theirs and how their generous contributions will have an impact on current and future residents. She encouraged the students to continue giving, in whichever way they can, to build their own communities. Since 2015, the HC YPC has granted a total of $50,000 to local nonprofit organizations serving the residents of Highland County.

Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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