Seattle Foundation Blog

The Power of Youth: Seattle Foundation kicks off its 11th year of the Youth Grantmaking Board

Built on the concept of youth powered change, YGB’ers have contributed over $200,000 into Seattle’s public sector to fund organizations or projects that provide direct services to system change programming.


October 27, 2016

By Ruel Olanday

Seattle Foundation kicked off its 11th year of the Youth Grantmaking Board (YGB). Built on the concept of youth powered change, YGB’ers have contributed over $200,000 into Seattle’s public sector to fund organizations or projects that provide direct services to system change programming – all to support the success of children, youth, and families.

Joined by eight returning members from last year’s board, this year's board welcomes 18 new students from across King County’s public and private schools with diverse backgrounds and a lens on Social Justice. Katie Donnelly, co-facilitator to the Youth Grantmaking Board pointed out that this group is already “dialed in”.

“These students have incredible knowledge, energy and passion to create a positive change in their community,” Donnelly said.

As part of the YGB, the yearlong process to establish a request for proposals for nonprofits organizations to apply a $20,000 grant is long.

“We are thoughtful to teach, engage, empower, and uplift our student’s voices in this process,” said Ruel Olanday, co-facilitator to the Youth Grantmaking Board. “To help build the community, we invite not only youth that represent that community, but leaders from within communities to help inform and teach current needs and issues. From this first meeting, we can truly feel a collective wave of leadership and voice in each student."

Students were asked to bring an item that represented why they wanted to be a part of YGB, why they were compelled to do this work. We heard stories of war-torn nations and immigration, how Black Lives Matter was a call to action, and how, and most importantly, that the change that students wanted to see needed to be a reflection of their hopes, aspirations, and dreams.

“I’ll keep telling folks time and time again that one of the most critical voices to change are youth,” Olanday added. They are by far the reflection of what our society has been successful to foster, but also a voice to share where we’ve failed them. This group, I believe, will be stewards for change not just in YGB or Seattle Foundation, but I am confident as they move through this program and beyond, that their greatness will continue to shine.”

We are excited to partner and work alongside again with these youth – be sure to be on the lookout about their progress with YGB in the coming months. If you have any questions about YGB or would like to participate in the future, please email ygb@seattlefoundation.org.

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