This past Sunday, a group of 20 teens involved in ACCESS ACTS (Active Community Teen Service), a youth community service project sponsored by ACCESS, gathered to launch the Center for Arab American Philanthropy’s own Teen Grantmaking Initiative (TGI). Together, they formed TGI’s mission statement  “to make a difference in our community through grantmaking and community service.” The group also decided that they will raise money for the initiative to make their own contribution to the funds they will grant to nonprofit organizations.

Jamie Kim, a program consultant for the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP), taught the students about the importance of philanthropy, helping them understand that a philanthropist is anyone who gives their time, money and resources to help others. Kim stated,

You are all already philanthropists. Now, it’s up to you to decide what is important to you and use your power to change the world.

The teens also learned about the meaning of terms like “nonprofit organization,” “foundation,” and “endowment” to help them visualize how TGI fits into the greater philanthropic system.

The teens will meet once a month over the course of the school year. They will perform a needs assessment of youth in the community, which will help inform which issue areas they will choose as their focus. Once they have chosen their focus areas, they will ask nonprofit organizations in the community to submit grant proposals. The teens will then review these proposals and decide how they want to allocate their funds.

The Center for Arab American Philanthropy’s Teen Grantmaking Initiative is a project of ACCESS.

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