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youth grantmaker low whiteFor Immediate Release May 29, 2013
Contact: Sharilyn Hunke, Communications Officer
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 951-241-7777
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Riverside---The Community Foundation program has area high schoolers fund grants for local nonprofits.

Kristine de Los Santos is more understanding of the needs of her community.

"I feel more involved in addressing the concerns of the community in a way that is impactful." This is evident in The Community Foundation's Youth Grantmakers Committee (YGC), now completing its fifth year.

De Los Santos will be graduating from Aquinas High School in San Bernardino and attending UC Los Angeles in the fall. She joined the committee this year and has since gained critical skills.

The committee's students mostly live in Riverside but a few are from San Bernardino County.

In a ceremony at Riverside City Hall, the committee celebrated with the nine nonprofits chosen to receive a total of $20,000. The Community Foundation's Board of Directors approved the choices. Since 2009, YGC has awarded $95,000 to nonprofit organizations for youth programs.

The 2013 grant recipients are: Cops 4 Kids, $2,500; Birth Choice of the Desert, $2,470; Riverside Recovery Services, $2,500; Latino Voter Registration, $2,000; CASA $2,000; Music Changing Lives, $2,250; Centro Medico Coachella, $2,250; Safe Alternatives for Everyone, $2,250; Smooth Transition, Inc. $2,000.

Earlier this year, 26 nonprofits submitted grant applications with detailed project proposals. They were reviewed by the youth grantmakers, who wanted to help teens dealing with the most important issues facing young people today.

"The Youth Grantmakers Committee has had a crucial impact on my life in that it has really allowed me to develop my ability to voice my opinions and be able to understand the process of grantmaking," said Veronica Sanchez, a junior attending Norte Vista high school. "It's so satisfying to know that you are doing something to work towards helping the rest of the youth in the community."
About three-fourths of the committee's 34 students attend La Sierra, Notre Dame, North, M.L. King, Ramona and Norte Vista high schools. Students from Arlington and Aquinas are in the group too.

The Community Foundation was founded in 1941 by a Riverside Businessman. Since then, it has expanded to serve both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties by managing donations, awarding grants and scholarships, being a catalyst to address community issues and strengthening the nonprofit sector. Last year, the foundation awarded over $7.1 million in grants and scholarships, raised over $8.3 million, and currently has over 310 funds that exceed $65 million in assets.

The Youth Grantmakers Committee formed after a foundation board member, Stan Grube, attended a national conference and saw how teenagers in Michigan were engaging in making decisions about grants that affected youth in their community. In late 2008, the foundation board approved the Youth Philanthropy Initiative, which launched the Youth Grantmakers Committee.

"The goal is to teach young people about the tradition of philanthropy," said Celia Cudiamat, the foundation's Executive Vice President. "We want to increase their awareness about youth issues within and outside the confines of their own neighborhood, improve their skills in conflict resolution and communications, increase their knowledge about grantmaking, nonprofits and foundations, and teach them leadership and civic skills. We hope the end result is an ethic of service and lifelong involvement in their community."

This year's co-chairs of the Youth Grantmakers Committee are Alexandria "Ali" Dominquez, from La Sierra high school and attending UC San Diego in the fall and Matthew Allen, from J.W. North and attending UC Los Angeles in the fall. "Youth Grantmakers Committee has made me the person I am today and will continue to affect my experiences and choices in the future," Allen said.

Amy Xu, a junior at King high school, believes the committee taught her many new skills. After one year, she is using those skills to improve her community.

"The Youth Grantmakers Committee has helped me to become a more efficient decision maker while making me aware of the struggles in our community," Xu said. "YGC has given me a chance to make a difference which was the best part of this opportunity."

Ikeoluwa Adeyemi-Idowy, who served her first year on the committee this year, summed it up like this. "Before joining YGC, I was well-aware of the issues facing youth today, but I did not think I had the power to do anything about it. I've learned that youth can directly make a change; we don't have to wait until we are older." Adeyemi-Idowy is a Sophomore at Norte Vista high school.

Each of the eight graduating Grantmakers selected a senior charity of choice. In appreciation of their service, The Community Foundation made a donation to each of the eight charities. Amounts varied from $100 to $1,000, depending on the number of years on the committee, attendance and other factors. Donations were made to: John W. North High School's Baseball Team, Aquinas High School's Campus Ministries, Ramona High School's Mecha and Lunch Buddies Club, Operation Safehouse, Norte Dame High School's Tuition Assistance Program, and the Center for Excellence in Education.

About The Community Foundation (

The Community Foundation is a nonprofit, public benefit corporation created by and for the residents of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Established in 1941, The Community Foundation has $65 million in assets and provides college scholarships and grants to nonprofit organizations across the two-county area. It serves as a regional convener to address issues regarding their Community Initiatives, which include Arts & Culture, Capacity Building, Environmental, Youth Philanthropy, and Education.