Philanthropy in the next generation is alive and well in Marion, according to Dean Jacob, president and CEO of Marion Community Foundation. MCF’s youth council, Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP), is seeking charitable projects in need of their support and they want to be hands-on said chairperson Kim Cannane.
Cannane, a senior at Pleasant High School, helps to coordinate the 15-member youth council dedicated to grant making, volunteerism, and leadership in Marion County. It has been an affiliate organization of Marion Community Foundation since 2005.
At its February monthly meeting, members of YEP discussed potential service project ideas for the group and are actively seeking additional recommendations. According to Cannane, the group wishes to take an active role in its projects.
“Many organizations we have contacted want monetary donations,” she said, “but we are a group that likes to be involved and provide time, effort and needed supplies.” Some recent projects have included making and donating blankets to the Marion Homeless Shelter, cleaning the former Lincoln Center on Oak Street for the Boys & Girls Club, staffing games at Kids Fest at Marion Centre mall and supplying games and activities for youth organizations.
“Shopping for games for the Boys and Girls Club was both fun for our members and provided something needed and useful for the kids at the Club,” she said.
YEP is presently accepting recommendations for a spring project, with preference given to organizations and causes that are non-profit and benefit community- and school-based youth organizations and programs.
The purpose of this youth council, according to Jacob, is to develop philanthropic leaders for the future of Marion. Jacob explained that the well-rounded approach to this training includes not only the service project currently in progress, but a scholarship and grant program as well.
“Youth Engaged in Philanthropy will administer two funds at Marion Community Foundation this year,” he said. “One provides a $1,000 college scholarship as part of Marion Community Foundation’s annual Scholarship Program and, the other, a grant of $500 or more to a local nonprofit organization.” These projects, said Jacob, provide valuable lessons in stewardship and money management, promote an understanding of the needs within the Marion community to a new generation, and provide insight into the project selection process. “Youth Engaged in Philanthropy is a very concrete way for Marion residents to realize that youth are active, capable, and contributing members of our community,” said Jacob.
YEP includes three representatives from each high school in Marion County. The current membership includes: Win Adissem, Miranda Potts and Lauren Gruber of Marion Harding High School; Kacy Worley, Sarah Longo and Emma Christman of River Valley High School; Aaron Lust, Nicole Haines and Paige Merritt of Ridgedale High School; Missy Dean, Grant Wilson and Cannane of Pleasant High School; and, Allison Tumey, Ryan Bakies and KayLee Childers of Elgin High School. The group is coordinated by MCF’s new program manager Julie Prettyman.
“This program is designed to give students a real hands-on experience and broader perspective of philanthropy — beyond mere fund raising,” said Prettyman. “Youth Engaged in Philanthropy members will continue to serve on boards as adults and donate money to charity. It is a way for the students to build pride and ownership in the Marion community, earn the respect of community leaders, and become role models for other youth.”
Those wishing to support YEP may do so by contributing to the YEP scholarship and grant funds at Marion Community Foundation, as well as the service project effort. Inquiries about the grant request process are welcome at this time, as are recommendations for spring service projects. YEP may be contacted by calling Marion Community Foundation at 740-387-9704 during standard business hours.
Marion Community Foundation is located inside the historic Stengel-True Museum at 504 S. State Street, and on the web at marioncommunityfoundation.org.