Seattle Foundation Blog

Youth Grantmaking Board Invests $20,000 in Reducing Youth Homelessness

Grants to Seattle Veterinary Outreach and Samaritan will increase outreach and connections to youth in need

May 20, 2019

By Shannon Kopelva, Philanthropic Associate Advisor


Seattle Foundation’s Youth Grantmaking Board announces its 2019 grants. The board, comprised of 21 students representing 17 high schools in the Greater Seattle region has selected two grantees that are working to reduce youth homelessness in the community.

Seattle Veterinary Outreach is receiving $9200 for its program to provide support and services to homeless individuals and their pets through their mobile veterinary clinics.

Samaritan has been awarded $10,800 to provide general support to give more unsheltered individuals access to a smart wallet called a beacon that connects them to goods and services through nonprofit organizations. The Samaritan app allows interested people to learn the stories of beacon holders they pass by daily and invest directly in assisting them.

After a lot of deliberation and conversation, the youth board members decided to focus their grantmaking on reducing homelessness for youth of color and other marginalized communities. They also wanted to emphasize smaller organizations that reflect the community they serve and invest in a specific program or project.

Seattle Veterinary Outreach's mobile vet clinic  Seattle Veterinary Outreach's mobile vet clinic

“I’m honestly so grateful to be given the opportunity to be on YGB. Learning about homelessness in-depth through our meetings, guest speakers, and site visits has truly opened my eyes to how community issues should be solved. Personally, my view on homelessness has changed thanks to YGB and I’ve learned new ways to look at both ends of an issue,” said Karun Mokha, a student at Mercer Island High School. “Overall it just really blows my mind that I got to be part of a group of kids managing $20,000.

Dr. Hanna Ekstrom, head of Seattle Veterinary Outreach, said her nonprofit provides care in a mobile vet clinic for companion animals of people experiencing homelessness. That includes rabies shots, microchipping the pets and connecting individuals with services. The YGB is the first grant she has ever applied for or received.

“I’m thankful for the grant and I’m grateful to Seattle Foundation for trying to interest young people in philanthropy,” she said. “There’s so many ways that pets help people and particularly people who are currently without a home.”

Since the start of YGB in the fall of 2006, young people have been using philanthropy to create positive change in our community, granting over $250,000 to 30 organizations. YGB connects youth with the community and teaches them about grantmaking, exercising power, building relationships and taking action beyond their board service.

I enjoyed leading this year’s program along with Aileen Balahadia, Seattle Foundation’s Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) Consultant. The program teaches the students tools and best practices in grantmaking, so that they can create positive change in our community with Seattle Foundation discretionary grant dollars. That includes five rigorous sessions in which the board:

  • Learned about Seattle Foundation, philanthropy and race and equity
  • Met with nonprofit leaders from Mockingbird Society and New Horizons to assess needs of youth experiencing homelessness
  • Explored the grantmaking process and chose a grantmaking focus
  • Developed a Request for Proposal (RFP), reviewed grant applications and conducted site visits
  • Made final grant recommendations

We are honored to have worked with and learned from this year’s board and to engage the next generation of leaders in community needs.

If you’re interested in participating or nominating youth for next year’s YGB, please email us at and check our website in September for the 2019-2020 application.



Nonprofit Partners


Youth Grantmaking BoardgrantsHomelessnessBasic NeedsFamily philanthropyphilanthropists

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