The Community Foundation of Howard County (CFHoCo) has established the Youth in Philanthropy (YIP) grant program to empower high school students to solicit and evaluate grant applications and award funds to local nonprofits.

The program will facilitate “student members of the YIP committee [to] actively engage with community nonprofits and learn first-hand about the wide range of issues facing Howard County residents, including homelessness, hunger, domestic violence, and the educational and legal needs of struggling families,” said Jeffrey Boutwell, a foundation volunteer and the donor who established the program.

CFHoCo will solicit applications from students to join the committee of 10 to 15 high school sophomores and juniors who will begin meeting in 2020. The program will request grant proposals, and the students will evaluate them based on need and effectiveness, then award $10,000 in grants ranging in size from $500 to $5,000.

“Student committee members take direct responsibility and oversight for soliciting and evaluating grant proposals,” Boutwell said. “They will have to make the hard decisions on who to fund. That’s the most difficult part of the job, deciding who gets funded and who doesn’t, so it’s a great learning experience for the students.”

In addition, each student on the YIP committee will partner with a community organization that is seeking a grant, meeting with representatives, witnessing operations first-hand, and learning more about the organization and the needs it addresses.