Highland Youth Philanthropy Council Seeks Applicants

Earlier this fall, Allegheny Mountain Radio spoke with Josh Omar, Youth and Community Outreach Coordinator for The Highland Center about the Youth Philanthropy Council. We talked with Mr. Umar recently for an update on its activities.

“The Youth Philanthropy Council, for those that don’t know, is a group of 17 students from Highland High School, from ninth through twelfth grade. And our partners at Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, have given us a pool of funds to distribute to worthy projects and worthy organizations in the community that serve Highland’s needs. They are announcing the availability of that money, and the opportunity to apply to get some of it.

“Toapply, you have to be a registered 501c(3), so you must be a non-profit. You need to be either a Highland based non-profit, or a non-profit that is looking to expand its’ services into Highland. We want this money to be earmarked for services for Highland residents – that’s part of the point of it, and Community Foundation supports that, and is enthusiastic about that. Applications for projects of all sizes are encouraged, but the maximum award is going to be $5,000”

Mr. Umar spoke about the application process.

“The deadline is going to be Monday, January25th at midnight, and unfortunately, we will not be able to accept late applications. It is an online application, and I would suggest to anybody who’s interested to contact me to get the link for that. They can reach me here at The Highland Center – by phone is usually the best, 468-1922 is the number. And, of course, I am on e-mail joshuaumar@htcnet.org, and you can find me on Facebook too.

“We’ll start reviewing applications as soon as they come in, get those in early if it’s possible. The students are going to get together to review applications, and invite a certain subset of those applicants to come in for in-person interviews. They will do the interiews, and they are going to ask some tough questions of the applicants, and really suss out the details of each project, and they’re going to pick the winners to attend an award ceremony in Staunton in April.

“The students themselves, in consultation with non=profits and community leaders, have come up with a set of priorities that they are looking to address – essentially, they’re looking for projects that are going to do one or more of the following four things – help ensure equal and expanded access to educational opportunities, both inside and outside of the classroom, that allow residents of Highland County to excel in the careers of their choice; remove barriers to youth retention, resident attraction and broader economic development; increase access to vital services, like health care, including mental health  services; and increase opportunities for Highland residents to develop their commitment to the community.

“Their ultimate goal is, they want to support projects that are going to make Highland County a more attractive and resilient community for current and potential residents.”

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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