Brittany JenkinsThe Impact of Youth Philanthropy

By: Brittany Jenkins In: Community Foundations| Next Generation| Nonprofits| Philanthropy

3 Aug 2011

As I approach my senior year in college, I often find myself reflecting on my life, amazed at how fast the time has passed. When I tell people I am a rising senior, I am constantly asked, “What are your plans after graduation?” I am still uncertain about my future, but what I do know is that I plan on working in the philanthropic sector, preferably for a community foundation.

I am a summer associate for the Council on Foundations’ Community Foundation Services department, where I am learning more than I ever expected about community foundations and their impact on society. I owe this learning experience to Youth Grantmakers in Actions (YGA), a youth philanthropy group out of The Winston-Salem Foundation in North Carolina that introduced me to philanthropy.

YGA assesses the needs of youth in Forsyth County and encourages them to develop projects that would effect change among young people in the community. Being a part of YGA sparked in me a passion for philanthropy. As I look at community foundation websites and read about the work of youth philanthropy groups, I realize youth philanthropy is important not only for assessing the needs of youth in the community but for fostering the next generation of philanthropy.

In YGA, I also found another charity I could support financially. We grow up learning about nonprofits such as the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity that do great work daily. However, as youth we rarely, if ever, hear about community foundations. Youth philanthropy groups give communities the opportunity to introduce me and my peers to the philanthropic sector and influence their involvement in the community.

What is your foundation doing to encourage the future generation of philanthropists?

Brittany Jenkins is summer associate, Community Foundation Services for the Council on Foundations.

9 Responses to The Impact of Youth Philanthropy

Janelle Harris

August 4th, 2011 at 8:30 am

Great post, Brittany! You’re going to make the field proud.

Kevin Murphy

August 4th, 2011 at 8:54 am


Thanks for highlighting the great work being done in youth philanthropy. This is really the great untold story of community foundation impact.

And thanks for your service to the Council this summer!

Shareka R. Brown

August 4th, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Awesome! You have developed into an inspiring young lady! You are going to do wonderful in whatever career God has ordered for your life. Continue to serve him and allow him to Lead you. He will always give you your answer! You make your St. Paul United Methodist Church Family PROUD!


August 4th, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Hi Brittany,

Congratulations on all of Your endeavors. May God continue to keep and Bless You. I’m certain Your Mother & Father are as proud of You as the rest of your family (St.Paul’s finest).
Keep up the “Graet” work!

God’s Blessings to You,
Wanda Westberry

Brittany Gaspari

August 5th, 2011 at 8:14 am

It’s been such a gift to know you over the last six years during your journey into the field of philanthropy. We are all so proud of everything you have achieved and are excited to see what is next for you. (Hopefully a job in the community foundation field!!)

Eric Rowles

August 5th, 2011 at 10:40 am

Brittany -

You embody all of what YGA has been about - paying it forward and creating a legacy of giving. It’s been a pleasure seeing you grow into the role that you are in - from all of our day long RFP Selection dates at YGA to the crazy Youth Giving Summits… I LOVE that you are continuing your learning and work in philanthropy. Can’t wait to see what happens next for you!


Leah @ the Victoria Foundation

August 5th, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Thanks for this post. We have a program, Youth in Philanthropy, modeled by Community Foundations of Canada. It’s an opportunity for local high school students to become involved in the grantmaking decisions - rather than focusing on more fundraisers. The insight and thought the students put into their work over the course of the year is inspiring.

It sounds like you have a great position with the Council on Foundations - keep up the great work!

Donald Jenkins

August 7th, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Great article Brittany. Keep up your interest in helping others. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Pastor Jenkins

Carolynn L. Sween

August 9th, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Hi Brittany!

LOVED reading your post! My boss likes to say that “we grow our own” at the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, because I was a member of our youth philanthropy program (called Teen Trust) during my teen years, and I just celebrated my 10th anniversary on staff as the Director of Programs here, and I’m about to complete my M.A. in Philanthropy & Development at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Teen Trust is where it all started for me. In fact, our Teen Trustees have quite a habit of returning to the philanthropic sector after (and even during) college. It’s one of the reasons we remain dedicated to youth philanthropy: we are literally able to see the impact of early philanthropic involvement in our community.

Best wishes as you look toward your next steps- it sounds like you’re well on your way to a fulfilling philanthropic career.

My very best,
Carolynn L. Sween

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