Tuesday 26 August 2014

Youth in Philanthropy

The Youth in Philanthropy program is an opportunity for students to learn about and be involved in philanthropy. The program was established in 2002 and is a part of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation. The role of the foundation is to apply a combination of grants, research, community education and partnerships with donors and other funders to increase life opportunities and promote social inclusion.

The aim of the Youth in Philanthropy program is to inspire young people to use their enthusiasm, creativity and energy to begin a life-long commitment to giving through activities that have a positive impact on the community. Schools are invited to be a part of the program and then students are given support and training through a number of initiatives. A mentor is appointed to assist students in their decision making and a coordinator within the school assists with the organisation of activities.

The program this year started with the students completing a survey to establish their knowledge, awareness and interest of charities in their local area. Ivanhoe Grammar School was then allocated three charities; these include Eastern Emergency Relief Network, St Mary’s House of Welcome and Opening the Doors Foundation. The students were invited to a Youth Grantmakers Forum at the Melbourne Convention Centre which gave them the opportunity to learn about the principles of the foundation, meet their mentor and discuss the grant applications from their allocated charities. This proved to be an exciting day as students were now the decision makers.

A number of meetings at lunch time and after school gave the team an opportunity to discuss the three charities and to do some initial research. Charity visits were organised in July to meet and learn more about each charity. The students travelled to Eastern Emergency Relief Network, a network of welfare agencies that provide furniture, household goods and food parcels to people who are trying to get themselves back on their feet. They then went to visit St Mary’s House of Welcome, an organisation that provides a place for homeless men and women to shower and have a meal. And lastly the students visited Diamond Valley Foodshare, a small volunteer group providing meals and groceries to members of the local community who cannot afford to fill their pantry or to put enough meals on the table.

After further discussion with the team mentor on the merits of each application and deliberation over the amounts to grant, working within the limits of the $15,000 we reached a conclusion on the amounts.

Eastern Emergency Relief Network – $5,500

St Mary’s House of Welcome – $3,340

Opening the Doors -$6,160

The team officially presented the decisions to the Foundation’s Board of Directors in the Council Chambers at the Melbourne Town Hall on Tuesday 19 August. It is hoped that each charity will then be presented with the grant after approval from the Foundation. The program has been very rewarding for everyone involved, in particular meeting and talking to organisations that are trying to help those disadvantaged groups in society was very inspiring.