Seattle Foundation Blog

Youth Grantmaking Board Recommends $20,000 in Grants to Local Nonprofits

Seattle Foundation's Youth Grantmaking Board is a civic leadership opportunity that is completely youth-focused and youth-led from start to finish.

July 12, 2016

By Katie Donnelly, Philanthropic Advisor

This summer, Seattle Foundation celebrated the conclusion of the 10th Youth Grantmaking Board (YGB) with $10,000 grants to both Puentes and Ryther for their work in providing accessible programs for addressing issues of mental health for low-income families in the Greater Seattle area.

A nine-month long philanthropic journey for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors across King County, YGB is a civic leadership opportunity that is completely youth-focused and youth-led from start to finish. As 2016 YGB participant Grant Hugh noted, “The Youth Grantmaking Board was a unique experience and it presented many challenges, or more precisely, opportunities for us to grow. Not many other youth are given the opportunity to participate on a board in which you gain so many collaborative skills and benefit the community around you.”

The program teaches board members best practices in grantmaking, so they can create positive change together in our community with Seattle Foundation discretionary grant dollars. Throughout the program the board works with Seattle Foundation staff and local nonprofit leaders to discuss and learn more about our community’s issues and needs. The youth then must come to consensus on an issue area, request proposals from nonprofits, evaluate grant applications, conduct site visits and make funding recommendations to Seattle Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

This year’s board decided to focus their funding on direct service programs that provided accessible programs for addressing issues of mental health for low-income families in the Greater Seattle area. During the application review, the board gave priority to programs that;

– Work with populations experiencing chemical dependency, child abuse, or homelessness
– Have expertise in providing direct mental health counseling to individuals or families
– Have a proven track record and tools to providing services to non-native English speaking communities

 After several site visits and board deliberations, YGB recommended funding of $10,000 each to the following two organizations:

Puentes – to pilot a 10-week mental health, intergenerational program at five different King County sites for families affected by immigration policies.

Ryther – to support the Group Care Enhancement program for transient and at-risk youth in King County.

The grants were approved and processed by Seattle Foundation at the end of June.

In addition to the grants made, the truly special thing about YGB is the collaboration, community engagement and leadership development among members during the process. Ultimately, the goal of YGB is that the youth make new connections with their community, exercise their power to lead and continue to engage and take action beyond serving on the board.

We are honored to have worked and learned from this year’s board, including Sophie Egrari of the 2016 board who summed up her YGB experience by saying, “An important take-away for me was that to be a leader, it does not at all mean that you need to be constantly talking and giving your opinion; you can lead by simply making the choice to listen to others and see things from their point of view. Each member of the board undoubtedly grew as a leader this year.”

Interested in participating or nominating youth for next year’s YGB? Email us at and check our website in September for the 2016-2017 board application.



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