Teen philanthropists help strengthen our community with $17,500 in grants

Celebrating its 75th year in our community, the Victoria Foundation is working with local youth to promote philanthropy and community development. Through the Youth in Philanthropy (YiP) program, approximately 100 students in seven high schools have allocated grants totaling $17,500 to charitable organizations in our community.

A celebration event was held for students and grant recipients at the Union Club of British Columbia on May 31st.  Grants this year will go to 16 different South Vancouver Island charities to help fund initiatives including: a new walk-in freezer for the Sidney Lions Food Bank; Project Respect at the Greater Victoria Women’s Sexual Assault Centre; and tuition costs at theVictoria READ Society. Other grants will help several local charities continue their work within our community.

“This program is an opportunity to understand the priorities young people have in our community,” says Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation. “It is an honour to work with tomorrow’s philanthropists and to facilitate their growth and understanding of the charitable sector.”

The Foundation’s YiP program is completing its 7th year. Each of the seven schools is allocated $2,500 to grant, with an additional $500 being contributed to an endowment fund that will enable the program to continue in perpetuity.

Participating schools include: Oak Bay High, St. Michaels University School, Frances Kelsey Secondary, Reynolds High, Victoria High,  Belmont High and, in partnership with the Saanich Peninsula Foundation, Stelly’s Secondary School.

Each YiP student committee determines an area of interest and, throughout the school year will research charities working in those areas. After conducting site visits each committee must determine how they will allocate their funds among those organizations.

Participants of the program are encouraged to question their values and learn skills to become more active community members as they develop into adults.

Speakers at the celebration event on Tuesday included Victoria Foundation Board Chair Steve McKerrell, Board Director, Mark Litwin as emcee, and Golda Lewin, a YiP alumni who chaired her school’s committee from 2005-2007 at Frances Kelsey Secondary School.

Attendees also enjoyed a special performance by a string quartet from the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s Collegium Program.