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Community Foundation of Howard County’s Youth in Philanthropy awards grants

Student-led group awards nine Howard County nonprofits with $25,000 total

A student panel from the Community Foundation of Howard County’s Youth in Philanthropy (YIP) program selected nine nonprofit organizations for its community grant awards. The grants total $25,000 and were funded from the Youth in Philanthropy fund and the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County, both with the Community Foundation of Howard County.

Youth in Philanthropy was established in 2019 to provide opportunities for high school students to learn about philanthropy. The Youth in Philanthropy class consists of 26 students representing 13 Howard County high schools. The students learn about community nonprofits, explore the fundraising and grant process and tackle local issues such as homelessness, hunger, domestic violence, environmental issues, arts and culture.

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“Our YIP students did a tremendous job throughout this process learning about the needs of our community and awarding grants that can make a real impact,” said Dee Athey, director of grants and community engagement with the Community Foundation of Howard County. “I was so impressed and proud of their thoughtfulness, focus and competence during the review and interview processes.”

Youth in Philanthropy students solicit and evaluate grant applications and award funds based on need and effectiveness to nonprofit organizations in Howard County. The group met virtually to discuss the nominations, evaluate the merits of each application and interview finalists. This year the group prioritized programs that enable access to basic needs, address mental health and help young girls and women.

“YIP participants were able to actively learn about the entire lifecycle of the grant process from the grant submission, review, interview and award phases,” said Lee Draminski, secretary of the Women’s Giving Circle advisory board. “In the end, they were able to gain consensus as a collective group to make decisions about contributing financially to causes they felt address basic needs in their own community. They were able to gain insight into the reasons why these nonprofits were requesting the money, and how the grants would be used if selected, while becoming more aware and learning more about the various struggles these organizations and the populations they serve encounter.”

Camp Attaway received $5,000 supporting a therapeutic recreation program for children ages 7 to 13 with complex emotional and behavioral disorders and support programs for their families.

“We are very grateful to the young people involved in the Community Foundation of Howard County’s Youth in Philanthropy program for investing in Attaway programs that support the mental health of children with special needs and their families. This grant will provide scholarships so children with complex emotional and behavioral challenges who need Attaway’s specialized therapeutic summer camp services can access them irrespective of their family’s financial situation, and have a summer filled with fun activities, friendship and personal growth,” said Sue Ann Shafley, executive director of Camp Attaway.

Center for Creative Life and Learning Inc. received $1,000 supporting the mental health education and support programs of the Girls on Fire Mentoring and Enrichment Program.

“Because COVID has left many teens feeling isolated, we decided to make mental health one of our priorities this year. As we learned from the interview, isolation has greatly affected the mental health of teenage girls in our community. With the promise of creating mental health webinars available to the public aimed toward teen girls, we feel very honored to help this effort with our grant,” said Lexi Nguyen, a student in the 2021 graduating class at Atholton High School.

Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center received $5,000 supporting Grassroots shelter residents moving from shelter to permanent housing with beds and basic household supplies.

“On behalf of the people served by the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, we thank the Youth in Philanthropy team for its generous encouragement and support. The YIP grant is being used to buy new beds for people who have struggled and succeeded in making the move from the Grassroots shelter to homes of their own. Your gift adds to the celebration,” said Mariana Izraelson, executive director of the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center.

HopeWorks of Howard County received $4,000 supporting The Our Voice Project: Survivor Wellness & Leadership programs for adults and teens affected by sexual and intimate partner violence.

“HopeWorks is an amazing organization run by amazing people, and I was so grateful to be able to fund something that would impact the lives of many women and children in the local area. It is necessary that these people are provided a safe space in times of crisis, especially after COVID and the stress that our community felt as a result. That is why it was so vital to me that we supported the cause,” said Cassidy Bahel, a student in the class of 2022 at Mount Hebron High School.

Indian Cultural Association of Howard County received $1,000 supporting the Feed Children in Howard County effort to address emergency family hunger needs.

Luminus received $2,500 supporting the volunteer and internship programs of the Luminus Network for New Americans (formerly FIRN).

Supplying Allergy Friendly and Emergency (S.A.F.E.) Food Pantry Inc. received $3,000 supporting food pantry and education and outreach efforts to distribute gluten-free and allergy-friendly food through partnerships in the Howard County food security network.

“The S.A.F.E. Food Pantry is one I personally think is very important. An area of interest for the group was hunger, and this particular organization addresses this issue in a way that is inclusive of those with food allergies, a demographic that others may overlook,” said Kyle Marshall, a student in the class of 2022 at Wilde Lake High School.

United Way of Central Maryland received $2,500 supporting the 211 Maryland United Way Helpline to provide information and referrals to callers in over 150 languages 24/7.

“Access to resources is critical, and the 211 Helpline helps people in our community learn and access resources such as food banks and job assistance. During the pandemic, their service has been widely successful, and we wanted to reward and help to continue their success so that this service could continue to be used in Howard County,” said Lexi Nguyen, a student in the class of 2021 at Atholton High School.

VolunTeens Co. received $1,000 supporting activities and volunteer service project opportunities for Howard County high school students.

“VolunTeens was an important investment because their organization really connects to Youth in Philanthropy on a personal level. VolunTeens was created by teenagers and Youth in Philanthropy is made up of teenagers. Our goals for supporting the community align perfectly,” said Mia Swaby-Rowe, a student in the class of 2022 at Wilde Lake High School.

The Community Foundation of Howard County serves as a knowledgeable, trusted partner that forges connections between donors and nonprofit organizations to provide impactful investments in Howard County. The foundation awarded more than $3.6 million through 457 grants to organizations delivering human service, arts and cultural, educational and civic programs in 2020. Money for the grant programs comes primarily from income generated by the foundation’s endowment supported by more than 300 funds established by Howard County businesses, families and individuals. For more information, visit CFHoCo.org or call 410-730-7840.

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Scott E