Over ten years ago, W.K. Kellogg Foundation conceived a fruitful idea to help seed community foundations throughout Michigan if the local Foundation agreed to establish a permanent youth fund and a Youth Advisory Council (YAC). They wanted to help create a strong philanthropic training ground for youth and in a few short years over 86 YACs were formed across Michigan. The goal was to help young people learn generosity and leadership and at the same time build stronger and more caring communities.
What is the Youth Advisory Council (YAC)?
The Youth Advisory Council is a special "youth as grantmakers" project of the Community Foundation for Oceana County. The Council, made up of adult advisors and student representatives from Oceana County's area schools, involves young people in solving real problems affecting their communities and peers. YAC Members help set policy and guide distribution of over $25,000 a year in grants to promising youth-related projects in Oceana County. This special group of young people is Oceana County’s own local panel of experts regarding youth issues who provide recommendations to the Community Foundation for Oceana County's board of directors about grants to be awarded from the fund each year.
When and why did YAC get started?
The Trustees of the Community Foundation for Oceana County created the Youth Advisory Council in response to the statewide challenge issued by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In order to meet the requirements of the challenge, a new fund was created to address youth issues, and the YAC board was established to make grant recommendations to the Foundation Board of Trustees. Since its inception, YAC has made over 100 grants to local youth projects totaling over $150,000.
What do Members do?
Members of YAC attend one meeting a month to make grantmaking decisions or to learn more about Youth issues in Oceana County. Three times a year the Council reviews grant proposals for youth projects and determines which projects will receive funding by evaluating the proposals and occasionally making site visits to the agency requesting funding.
Past grants funded by YAC
Support for area teachers to assist with classroom projects
Support for free school programs by Music with a Message
Support for early literacy pilot program at Hart Public Schools
Support for mobile food trucks and staple products at area food pantries
Annual support for food pantries during the holidays and winter clothing & toys to needy children