Youth Philanthropy Contest now accepting 2019 applications

January 26, 2019 GMT

It doesn’t take a grown-up to change the world, which is the fundamental idea behind the Youth Philanthropy Contest.

Grant applications are now being accepted for this year’s program. Columbus area service projects designed by youth ages 5 to 21 can apply to receive funding worth up to $1,000. Previously funded projects include the purchasing of hair products for cancer patients, the creation of a community garden to increase the bee population, gift packages to those in need and local park improvements.

The program was created in 2013 by the Columbus Area Philanthropy Council through a $7,000 gift from The Connie Fund of Norfolk. Today, it is supported by proceeds from the Columbus Area Future Fund through its annual Taste of Columbus event.

John Schueth is the director of development at Scotus Central Catholic High School and a member of the Philanthropy Council. He said the program provides a great opportunity to instill community service ideals in today’s youth.

“It’s to show kids that they can make a difference in their community,” Schueth said. “Hopefully that leads them to do the same thing in their adult life.”

Each year, anywhere from five to 25 groups apply, with about five to 10 being approved. CAFF Coordinator Eve Ortmeier said she hopes at least 10 groups apply this year.

“It’s a cool thing to see the kids so proud of what they can accomplish,” Ortmeier said.

It is suggested that approved projects be completed by May 7, if not, Ortmeier asks for a timeline be presented with the application outlining when the project will be finished.

On May 7, the awardees will present their project with a tri-fold board at a community event. Those whose grant applications are not approved will have the opportunity to present their projects, as well. Event guests will be able to donate to help make these projects a reality, should they choose so.

“It’s pretty exciting just to see what the kids are doing,” Schueth said. “It’s just amazing to hear what these kids are doing to make our community a better place.”

The Philanthropy Council was founded in 2008 and is comprised of local business leaders with the goal of promoting philanthropy throughout the local community. While it has hosted the community event in the past, this will be the first year the CAFF organizes it, instead.

“We’re excited to take it on,” Ortmeier said. “We want to encourage these kinds of things happening.”

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Feb. 15. Approved projects will be notified on Feb. 20. Those interested in applying can contact Ortmeier at director@columbusareafuturefund.org to receive an application.

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at eric.schcuht@lee.net.