Highland Youth Philanthropy Council Enters Its Second Year

The Highland Youth Philanthropy Council is ramping up operations for its second year of activity. Josh Umar, Youth and Business Resource Coordinator for The Highland Center explained more.

“The Youth Philanthropy Council is entering its second year, and the focus of the group is, essentially, we support all the great charities and non-profits in the county, who are already doing good work to make Highland a better place. We have a pool of funds, and get a group of young people together. And what they do is sort of set priorities, based on what they see the needs in the community being, and invite those charities and non-profits to submit grant applications. And in the end, they give away all the money that we’ve raised for them. Last year they gave away $5,000 to Highland County non-profits.”

Last year’s awards included $3,000 to Valley Program For Aging Services for their Senior Transportation Program; $1,500 to the Highland Humane for assurance that vulnerable home-bound citizens have adequate care for their companion animals; and $500 to the Allegheny Mountain String Project for the purchase of new multi-instrument music books.

Mr. Umar talked about eligibility and the application process.

“You have to be a 501c(3) non-profit, and if you are, you can apply. We have limited our funds to Highland County. So you either have to be a non-profit that is based in Highland County and does its work in Highland County, or you can be an outside group who is looking to extend services into Highland County. But we want to make sure that all the money we award goes to serve citizens of Highland.”

“The process is actually pretty in-depth. We are giving the young people real money and real power to make decisions, and so as a result of that, the process is a real one.

“So we will start meeting in October, usually by the end of January, we have put out a call for the applications, and the applications have come in. The application deadline for non-profits who would want to apply is usually at the end of January.

“And then we spend February and the early part of March reviewing those applications, reading through them – every member of the Youth Philanthropy Council reads every application. And they submit online evaluations of every project. We get together after that and talk about them, and then sometime in the spring, we invite the organizations who submitted the most promising applications in for interviews. And each one of those groups will go through a pretty in-depth interview where the kids will grill them on their plans, and the budgets they’ve submitted and what they’re going to do with the money. And then from there we make our award decisions, and the YPC members will organize and put on an awards ceremony, which is usually early to mid-May.”

The Council is not only looking for worthy non-profits to support, but also new members to add to its ranks.

“We recruit mostly from the high school, but not limited to the high school. Anybody who is in home school, school co-op, and Highland County young person who may go to school over in Augusta County – they will all be welcome. We’re looking for 9th through 12th graders, or the equivalent. And you don’t have to have a long resume, you don’t have to have a 4.0 grade point average – all you have to have is a heart for service, and a desire to do the work that is needed to make the county better and support these non-profits. The deadline for students to apply to be part of the Youth Philanthropy group is October 3rd.

“I would love to hear from parents, young people or non-profits – also, anybody who’s interested in being a guest speaker. We bring in local philanthropists, local non-profit workers, local leaders, to talk to the young people during the course of every meeting. And if you’re interested, contact me – 540-468-1922, or you can reach me by e-mail – joshuaumar@htcnet.org.”


Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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