In June 1991 the W. K. Kellogg Foundation announced a $35 million Community Foundation Youth Project Initiative to 170 representatives from the community foundations across the state. This was a challenge grant created to involve young people in the field of philanthropy while at the same time helping to add up to $70 million to the permanent assets of the state’s community foundations. Each member community foundation could apply for up to $1 million which had to be matched on a 1:2 basis. That is for each dollar received from Kellogg, two dollars had to be raised locally for unrestricted, broad field-of-interest, or scholarship funds. In addition, youth advisory councils had to be formed comprised, at least 50 percent, of youth under the age of 21 years. The Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan (CFNEM) was able to raise the money required and, in April 1997, payment was received from Kellogg bringing the total in CFNEM’s Kellogg Youth Fund to $1 million. CFNEM’s affiliates were also successful in raising money to create Kellogg Youth Funds in each of their counties.
Each community foundation receiving Kellogg funds had to permanently endow their Kellogg gift in a youth field-of-interest fund. All grants made from the income from these funds must be used for local youth-related programs. The Youth Advisory Councils (YAC’s) continually assess youth needs, help raise money for the fund and advise each local foundation’s Board of Trustees as to how these dollars should be allocated.
There is a YAC in each of the high schools in the nine-county area served by CFNEM and its affiliates. Each YAC has 8 to 16 youth members and one adult advisor. During the academic year, monthly meetings are held at each of the schools. These meetings are coordinated by the advisors and the students review grant applications, conduct training sessions, carry out community service, and any other business that arises.
Since 1992 our YACs have given out more than 1500 grants totaling nearly $1.1 million for youth related projects in our nine-county area. Non-profit organizations, schools, churches (for non-religious purposes), and government agencies may apply for funding.