In 2012, in partnership with one of the Foundation’s donors, Barry Tobias, a grant writing seminar was created to teach 8th grade students the importance and value of “giving back.”
Mr. Tobias, himself a philanthropist, thought it would be worthwhile to educate students at a young age about non-profit organizations, charitable contributions, and community involvement. During the months-long seminar, students who volunteer for the seminar conduct research and select a charity (usually local) they feel a personal connection. They are also provided with information during several sessions about grants and grant-writing. They call and visit their organizations to learn more about them. Then, they develop a written grant proposal (based on a template) to submit to our Foundation requesting a contribution for their charity. The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation as well as the Foreside Foundation, have provided contributions to specifically underwrite these re-grants.
The students then present their requests to all participating students, Mr. Tobias, Foundation members, their principal, and our superintendent. In the past, our Foundation has provided the requested contributions to each of the students’ charities. A letter explaining the process and citing the students accompanies a check.
“I am so proud of their willingness to learn about the art of giving back and community service. For the most part, the charities they selected had a very personal appeal to them, because of their own life experiences from homelessness, to cancer, to child abuse and LGBTQ issues,” Foundation chairperson Jean Holtz said. “To listen to 13 and 14 year olds talk about these issues, and how through this grant-writing program they are able to make a difference, was so inspiring. Remember, the majority of our students come from what can best be considered humble and compromised backgrounds. These are not affluent kids. In fact, most of them have very little, but still so easily grasp the importance of charity and service to others.”
Click here to watch a video and read about the 2017 grant writers!