The Northern New York Community Foundation’s 2021-2022 Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge is now OPEN. Winning entries will be announced in early January 2022. Contact Mary Perrine, Community Foundation coordinator of partnerships, 315-782-7110, or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
About the challenge
The Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge began in October 2017 as an effort to engage middle school-aged children in the principles of community and philanthropy. That year, the Community Foundation selected 23 winning entries from more than 60 submissions by 7th- and 8th-grade students in Jefferson and Lewis counties, awarding grants to 19 nonprofit organizations totaling $10,000 in support. The Watertown-based nonprofit Stage Notes was a 2017-2018 Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge partner. The 2018-2019 Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge was expanded to also include 7th- and 8th-grade students in St. Lawrence County. Community Bank N.A., joined the effort as a program partner, providing a corporate gift to help underwrite grant awards.
The initiative strives to help participants explore their concept of community and provide funding to eligible 501(c)(3) charitable organizations that embody and support what students feel makes their community a great place to live. Through a written essay contest, the Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge asks students to explain what community means to them and to choose a nonprofit organization that best embodies their definition of community and makes it a great place to live, work and play. Students compete for a chance to award a $500 grant from a total of $10,000 available that the students themselves recommend. Twenty students are selected and each will personally present a $500 grant to the nonprofit organization they have chosen while spending time with the nonprofits’ leadership, learning about the organization’s mission and how it serves tri-county residents.
Watch a video here about the Youth Giving Challenge and hear from past challenge winners and nonprofit leaders about how they used a $500 grant to help their organizations.
Click to view a list of nonprofit organizations that presently partner with the Community Foundation.
We are pleased to continue this initiative with support from a private donor, a corporate gift from Community Bank N.A., as well as all who give to the Friends of the Foundation Annual Community Betterment Fund.
Click to view a list of 7th- and 8th-grade students whose essays were selected as 2019-2020 Youth Giving Challenge winners and the nonprofit organizations they chose to receive a grant. Check back to view a photo gallery of past Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge winners!
Download a 2021-2022 Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge application here or