Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Power of Youth Philanthropy Efforts

A new website aims to highlight the grant-making prowess of a surprising set of philanthropists: children and teenagers., a project of the Foundation Center, compiles data on young people who directly oversee the distribution of money to nonprofits. So far the project has documented more than $14.7 million in grant funding since 2001 — and that is likely a low estimate, says Jen Bokoff, director of knowledge services for Foundation Center.

The site defines youths as people ages 8 to 30, but most of the data comes from people 8- to 21-year-olds, according to the center.

Only a small fraction of these young people are privileged children giving away family money. Rather, they are mostly youths who participate in institutional grant-making programs that give money for a variety of causes, often related to serving their peers.

"My observation of young people deliberating grants is that adults have a lot to learn from them," Ms. Bokoff says. "They’re doing site visits so much smarter, listening to each other in the boardroom, and talking about how a budget is structured."

The new site, which has case studies, a program directory, and an interactive funding map, is designed to underscore the substantive nature of youth-driven grant making and inspire both kids and adults to learn more about the burgeoning movement.

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