Community Foundation Holland/Zeeland

For more information about our Youth Advisory Committee:

Contact Jessica Lynch, our YAC Advisor, at 616-396-6590 or via email.

Youth Advisory Committee

The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area’s Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) is a group of 18-20 students from our local high schools who are responsible for reviewing funding requests and recommending grants for programs that benefit area youth. YAC members meet once a month during the school year for grantmaking, site visits to local organizations, and learning about community needs and philanthropy. The YAC is enriched by the unique perspective and experiences that each member brings to the Committee’s work.

The YAC program was established in 1991 through a challenge grant from the Michigan Community Foundation Youth Project (MCFYP) funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  

The YAC made its first grant in 1993 to the Boys and Girls Club for $1,500. Since then, the YAC has granted over $1.5 million and over 170 high school students have served on the YAC. 

The mission of the YAC is to empower young people, involve them in the community and teach them about philanthropy while serving as stewards through granting.

Youth-Focused Racial Equity Efforts

The Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) of The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area is excited to announce that they have committed a portion of their 2020 spending to Youth-focused Racial Equity Efforts in response to this moment of opportunity for progress.  

Holland/Zeeland area schools and youth serving nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for funding. Applicants may request a range of funding from $500-$10,000 for programs or projects addressing youth-focused racial equity in the Holland/Zeeland area. Funding requested should align with the scope of the project/program. 

Applications are due by Friday, October 30 at 5:00 p.m.  

Detailed guidelines and the application can be found here.

2019–20 Youth Advisory Committee Members

  • Allison Brown, Distribution Committee Representative
  • Colin Brown, Treasurer
  • Olivia Ceithaml
  • Leah Cooper, Secretary
  • Callie DeMann
  • Christian DeMeester
  • Lydia Foy
  • Andrew Ky, Chair-Elect
  • Nolan Leak
  • Ryan Lindberg, Chair
  • Eleanor Pacanowski
  • Destinee Phasoukvong
  • Eshan Rajani
  • Nathan Schuster
  • Lydia Steeby
  • Aanya Usmani
  • Kyle Van Tuinen
  • Karis Walters



“Through YAC, we are able to invest in so many great projects. When we are able to visit the nonprofits we fund, we get to go one step further and really see the outcome of what we’ve invested in. We’re not just funding the proposals, we’re getting to see the actual results. It helps us realize how big of an impact we’re truly making when we can witness our grant funding decisions in action." - Tabahn Afrik, former YAC member




Reflections from Past YAC Chairs

“I feel very lucky because not a lot of high school students enter college with board room experience. I’ve become an advocate for speaking up and voicing your opinion. It seems scary at first, especially when you’re speaking to a room full of community leaders, but it’s important as young people to step outside of our comfort zones. If you sit at the table, you’re there for a reason. People want to hear what we have to say." 

Tabahn Afrik, 2014 YAC Chair

Read Tabahn's story

“The biggest takeaway from YAC is that everyone can make a difference. I didn’t expect to have such a direct impact on the community. The realization starts as soon as you join YAC and participate in the grantmaking process. You think ‘wow, I can really make a difference.’ I also learned so much about the Holland/Zeeland area. There’s a lot of caring in this community. Everyone looks out for each other here.” 

- Dustin Tran, 2012 YAC Chair

read Dustin's story and advice for future YAc members 

Reflections from Mason Wesolek, 2016 YAC Chair

hear mason's Story

More Reflections from past Youth Advisory Committee members

Below are reflections from our 2016 graduating seniors. We're so grateful for their contributions these past few years and can't wait to see what their futures hold!


“The Youth Advisory Committee has changed me forever. It has helped me to gain skills and knowledge on the importance of philanthropy and grow as a person. I will certainly be involved in giving back to my community wherever I live.” – Mason Wesolek, Past Chair

“YAC has been such a great opportunity to become engaged in the community. It is encouraging to see how many organizations there are here that are focused on making the Holland/Zeeland area better. I am so grateful to have been a part of this team and the impact it has made.” – Quinn Bouwkamp

“YAC is a unique and incomparable experience. It has allowed me the opportunity to have gained perspective into the community, build lasting relationships, and learn the incredible importance of philanthropy.” – Matthew DeNave
“The YAC has been a great way for me to see how people can use philanthropy to make true impacts on other people’s lives. The fact that I get to actively participate in this is a huge honor! ” – Garrett Huizenga

“Being on YAC has taught me about the needs of our community and how to address them while working together with my peers.” – Miles Thompson

“Being part of YAC, I have learned so much about the community around me but most importantly I had the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. YAC also taught me that it’s okay to share my thoughts and ideas. I am so honored to have worked with such an awesome group of students from other schools. It’s a very unique program and I am so thankful to have been part of it.” – Yol Vang

“Because of YAC I’ve had so many great opportunities given to me and made so many new friends. It has taught me a lot about working as a team. YAC has been a great experience and I’ll miss it after I graduate.” – Katie Wahmhoff
“Being a member of YAC has given me the opportunity to meet student leaders outside of my school. I have also learned about many organizations for youth in my community, and am so thankful to have been a part of such a wonderful program!” – Megan Youngerman

“YAC has been one of the most worthwhile programs I have been a part of. The philanthropic decision making YAC exposed me to has shaped my thoughts and opened a whole new world to me!” – Ian Yskes

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85 East 8th Street, Suite 110, Holland, MI 49423   (616) 396-6590   Email us