What would you do with $5,000? Most teenagers would think of how many pizzas or video games that could be bought, but a group of our Grand River Academy students are putting a different spin on holiday spending. Through a partnership with the Ashtabula Foundation, GRA has created a Youth Philanthropy Club on campus.
The Ashtabula Foundation provides each school in Ashtabula County the opportunity to award $5,000 in local grants to area non-profits. Beyond this criteria, our club has the leeway to chart its own path, which is just what it has done. Our group of students, from all grade levels and academic interests, set several guidelines including a deadline of December 2nd for applications, and their desire to visit the locations of grant requests. They want to make a difference.
Kristen Kitchen, our Director of Advancement, and I as co-advisors of the club are encouraged by the students' interest and deep thoughts on the issues in our community. The questions they have asked, and discussions we have had on systemic concerns in Ashtabula and nation wide, show me the value of exploring a community. Not only will this new adventure for GRA help our students gain a greater appreciation for philanthropy and create a culture of giving back, but it will also instill the value of being a change agent no matter where in life they reside.
(Pictured is Ashtabula Foundation Board Member Tim Green visiting some of the GRA Philanthropy Club at its most recent meeting. Students include from left to right Micah '19, Tommy '18, Chris '18, Noah '18, Zak '18, and Alex '19)