ASHTABULA — Each year, the Ashtabula Foundation sponsors Youth Philanthropy Boards at all Ashtabula County high schools to help local non-profit organizations.

The program, initiated in 2010 with the idea to cultivate the next generation of philanthropists, now boasts representation in all 10 area high schools, said Ashtabula Foundation Administrator Kelley L. Katon.

"The mission of the student group is to assist the funding of projects in the  community that the foundation believes will most directly benefit the people in our area," she said.

Last year, about 200 students were involved in the program.

During a catered luncheon last April at the Saybrook Banquet Center, Sarah Henry, a student at Pymatuning Valley High School, shared her experience serving two years on the Youth Philanthropy Board. Each school group is given $5,000 by the Ashtabula Foundation to give back to area organizations that work to improve the community.

“I didn’t realize how many organizations needed help in our county; it’s hard to divide up money for the groups,” she said. “Now I am more passionate and aware of organizations that help others.”

Jordan Minns, a graduate of St. John School, said he was involved in his school’s Philanthropy Board for three years.

“It’s wonderful,” he said.

All total, the students presented funding to at least 55 organizations, including the Ashtabula County YMCA, Beatitude House, Geneva Food Pantry, Faith in Action, G.O. Ministries, Samaritan House, Homesafe, the Good Karma Kitchen and Kids for a Positive Change, to name a few.

Last year, most of the clubs spread their $5,000 between four to eight different organizations.

To qualify for a grant, an organization must have a 501(C)(3) determination from the Internal Revenue Service, and must be in, or serve the citizens of Ashtabula County.

Applications can be obtained through the Ashtabula Foundation website, under Youth Philanthropy at www.ashtabulafoundation.org and can be submitted to the high schools beginning Oct. 1. Applications are limited to two requests to any high school per school year. Grant applications are due back to the high schools no later than Nov.15.

Participating schools are as follows: A-Tech Career Center, Grand Valley High School, Conneaut High School, Jefferson High School, Edgewood High School, Lakeside High School, Geneva High School, Pymatuning Valley High School, Grand River Academy and St. John High School.

For questions, contact the Ashtabula Foundation at (440) 992-6818 or by email, ashtabulafdn@gmail.com.

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