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.