YAC (Youth Advisory Council)

What is YAC (Youth Advisory Council)?

The Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is the Community Foundation's youth philanthropy program. The group consists of individuals (ages 12-21) from Branch County and Colon, Michigan. YAC is dedicated to effective grantmaking, endowment building, leadership, and improving the viability of our communities by involving youth in the visioning and decision-making process.

For more information about other youth committees visit www.YouthGrantmakers.org.

How It All Began

In 1988, the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) and community foundation members developed a proposal to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for the Michigan Community Foundations' Youth Project (MCFYP). Their efforts meant to do the following:

  1. expand the areas served by community foundations in Michigan so that every citizen would have access to a philanthropic vehicle,
  2. strengthen existing community foundations, and
  3. involve youth in community foundations through the creation of Youth Advisory Committees (or Councils).

To spearhead the effort, CMF received the help of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation--formidable advocates for community self-reliance and community foundations, and champions of youth. The Kellogg Foundation agreed to help seed the development of community foundations and, in the process, create a philanthropic training ground for youth. A challenge was made: for every two dollars raised locally and placed within a community foundation in permanent unrestricted or field of interest endowment, the Kellogg Foundation pledged one dollar to build a youth fund--up to one million dollars for every participating community foundation. The Mott Foundation also issued a companion grant to provide startup support and technical assistance to emerging community foundations. As part of the challenge, each community foundation was required to form a Youth Advisory Committee (YAC--made up of young people and adult mentors--to address local youth needs, assist in fund development activities and direct grantmaking toward youth programs. In just a few short years, scores of Michigan communities responded to the challenge. They have received more than $47.6 million to create 86 permanently endowed youth funds, matched by more than $100 million raised locally. Community foundations blanketed the state and over 2,000 teens got involved. The Michigan Community Foundations' Youth Project is a great success!

You, your generation, has the power to make change happen...

to make our world a better place...and not just in the future...right NOW!

Youth Grantmakers Summer Leadership Conference
The conference was based on former Kellogg Foundation's CEO Russ Mawby's original idea for youth philanthropy in Michigan. His idea was a three-pronged model focusing on

  • Grantmaking:  Increasing effectiveness as a grantmaking organization through a diverse board, more efficient project planning, and better leadership.
  • Fund Development:  Going beyond bake sales and car washes in order to build the youth endowment.
  • Youth Empowerment:  New ways to increase the youth voice in the community.