280 students and advisors representing over 40 community foundations across the state came together June 23 to June 25 at Central Michigan University with one goal in mind; to learn how to be more effective grantmakers in their own communities. These youth serve on advisory councils at local community foundations and are responsible for funding projects that positively impact youth in their communities. Participants came from over 40 different organizations whose locations ranged from small towns to big cities across Michigan, along with participants that traveled from out of state. This year the Youth Grantmakers Summer Leadership Conference celebrated its 25th Year Anniversary, with participants engaging in exciting programming commemorating this historic year.

Members of the local youth advisory council at Michigan Gateway Community Foundation, attended the conference held at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Michigan Gateway Community Foundations YAC is guided and directed by Jayne Lamb. This was her fifth year attending the Youth Grantmakers Summer Leadership Conference.

Attending the 2017 Youth Grantmakers Summer Leadership
Conference from Michigan Gateway Community Foundation were Taylor Derscha (Brandywine High School), Janki Devdhara (Brandywine High School) & Kevin Frost (Buchanan High School). Each of these members have served on the council for at least two years and will be entering their senior year in the fall.

“MOMENTUM: Reflect, Capture, Grow”, the theme for this year’s conference, helped guide the participants to reflect on lessons from the 25 year history of Youth Advisory Councils (YAC), capture the incredible work they are doing today, and grow the ability of their YAC to best serve their community. Throughout the weekend students participated in activities and sessions that helped them increase their philanthropic knowledge and learn about communities different from their own.  Participants left feeling inspired to take what they had learned and share it with their local YAC to further impact their community.

The agenda for the weekend was packed with breakout sessions on topics such as Grantmaking, Advocacy & Youth Empowerment, Needs Assessment, Effective Communication, Leadership vs. Facilitation, and Diversity. The youth also attended different conference segments that featured a poetry performance from Flint’s Raise It Up!, YAC Alumni speakers, a celebration of YAC’s collective impact on Michigan, a Survival Game Simulation, and Open Space Sessions where the youth were able to choose and discuss topics that are most important to them.

The 2017 Youth Grantmakers Summer Leadership Conference was entirely planned and facilitated by a group of young people; the Michigan Community Foundations’ Youth Project (MCFYP) Committee is the statewide governing board of youth grantmaking bodies comprised of 12 youth and 3 advisors who represent the diversity in philanthropy across the state. They chose speakers and performers, planned the conference schedule, facilitated sessions, and hosted the three-day event.

MCFYP was created 25 years ago because of a challenge grant offered by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation through the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) to communities across Michigan with goals to ensure every community in Michigan’s 83 counties had access to a community foundation, and to create endowed youth funds overseen by high school age youth through the establishment of Youth Advisory Councils.

Michigan Gateway Community Foundation serves south Berrien and Cass Counties in Michigan.  The organization accepts grant applications and looks for community projects that allow them to further their mission.  For more information about Michigan Gateway Community Foundation, contact Robert Habicht at 269-695-3521.