Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) Fund

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Youth Advisory Committee Formed at The Luzerne Foundation Student Run Group to Research and Award Grants

Engaging today’s youth is important to The Luzerne Foundation and to our community. As a result, the Youth Advisory Committee, otherwise known as “YAC,” was formed. YAC’s mission is to empower high school youth to identify needs and fund them responsibly. YAC consists of thirty-two students from 11 Luzerne County High schools who are eager to help local nonprofit organizations.
YAC, now is in its eighth year, has awarded more than $147,000 in grants to area nonprofit organizations.
Last year we changed our format to a forum-style of grantmaking in lieu of a paper-process-only model. Because of the very successful outcome of this endeavor, we have chosen to adopt this model for our YAC grantmaking.

What happens when you put a group of twenty-eight 9th-12thgraders from seven different schools together in a room? Noise? Lots of clicking and texting? A bit of trepidation, perhaps some boredom? Probably all of the above. But when those students are part of YAC, you will also see excitement, determination, curiosity, and collaboration. These students are there for a purpose.

YAC members are learning the fundamentals of philanthropy. Many have probably participated in fundraisers – a bake sale, dance marathon, car wash, etc. Thus, it may not be out of their comfort zone to solicit potential donors to raise approximately $15,000 to give away.  It is the next step that provides a challenge.

How do you give that money away? Throughout the year-long program, “YACsters” survey community needs, solicit grant applications and review them. Site visits occur, and reports are presented to the entire group so that votes may be taken on who should receive the grants. The students quickly understand that the needs are many, and there is not always enough to go around.

Twenty nonprofits were invited to present at a YAC nonprofit forum where members asked direct questions. The group narrowed the field to 12 nonprofits, site visits occurred then discussions ensued regarding each request. Finally, the field was narrowed to three and a final vote was taken.  The grant recipients listed below were presented with checks at the YAC annual dinner.

The process is eye-opening for many of the students, but the satisfaction felt from knowing their efforts have made a difference in the community makes it all worthwhile.

This year YAC supported:

Parenting Autism United: $5,500
United Way of Wyoming Valley: $4,500
NEPA Philharmonic: $4,000
Volunteers of America: $3,500
Think Big Pediatric Cancer Fund: $2,500

Since the 2013/14 school year, YAC has supported 36 organizations with grants totaling $147,775.

2022/2023 YAC Sponsors

The Luzerne Foundation
The Luzerne Foundation
The Luzerne Foundation helps people create funds to do good things today and lasting good for tomorrow. Here for Good!™
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