We are pleased to announce a round of grants made by the CFHZ Youth Advisory Committee (YAC). The YAC is made up of students from our local high schools who are responsible for reviewing funding requests and recommending grants from the W.K. Kellogg Youth Fund which is part of our Community’s Endowment for programs that benefit local area youth.
In 2020, the YAC committed $25,000 of their funding for youth racial equity efforts as part of our Community’s Endowment response to a moment of opportunity to make progress towards racial equity in the Holland/Zeeland community. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response YAC received to their request for proposals, they committed an additional $25,000 of their 2021 funding, and sought additional matching funds from the CFHZ Board of Trustees. As a result, the YAC is proud to award $59,449 to seven organizations working to address racial inequity and implicit bias in our community, and to center the voices of Black, Indigenous, and community members of color.
Andrew Ky, YAC Chair, says, “This grant opportunity allowed us to support local organizations and their efforts to help create a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community. It was important as a YAC, especially now, to demonstrate our support and advocate for racial equity in the Holland/Zeeland area.”
Jessica Lynch, staff adviser to the YAC, said, “I’m so proud of this incredible group of young people. We received many great proposals from local organizations for the racial equity grant funding and the YAC was thoughtful and intentional as they discussed each one. They recognize that these are opportunities to create actual impact and opportunity for youth in our community and take that responsibility seriously.”
The following organizations received funding from the Youth Advisory Committee in support of their work:
Amount awarded: $10,000
Scholarships for students of color
Funds will be used to cover scholarship costs for students of color who participate in classes. CultureWorks is a faith-inspired nonprofit offering culturally relevant, transformative art and design experiences to youth from all backgrounds. Since opening their doors in 2013, they have served over 3,500 students, offering classes on a ‘pay what you can’ model. Classes include ceramics, printmaking, oil painting, photography, poetry, and more.
Amount awarded: $10,000
Cultural Lens Series
Funds will help implement the Cultural Lens Series, a robust year-long programming. The Cultural Lens series will feature authors, scholars, educators, and performers. Topics that will be explored connect individuals to cultural themes including racial diversity, homelessness, and LGBTQ+ advocacy. In addition to this subject matter, the Museum will also offer ways to celebrate diversity such as programming for Martin Luther King Jr Day, Día los Muertos and a gospel choir.
Amount awarded: $10,000
Funds will prepare a literacy workshop in which elementary and middle school students of color will participate in a group read and then workshop with professionals to create literary or artistic projects to celebrate their identities. Funds will also provide access to additional summer camp opportunities for Step Up middle school students.
Amount awarded: $9,949.60
Virtual DEI training and resources
Funds will be used for a program to expose white educators to racial diversity, equity and inclusion resources through virtual courses and resources.
Amount awarded: $7,000
Driver’s Training Scholarship Program
Funds will be used for a driver’s training scholarship program which will increase access for students of color to opportunities, help shorthanded families manage transportation dilemmas, decrease unlicensed drivers, and decrease negative interactions with police officers for youth. Escape Ministries works to provide relationships, opportunities, and resources that matter for youth and their families who often fall through the cracks of society.
Amount awarded: $6,500
Resourcing transracial adoptive families and extending Freedom Fighter for Justice program
Funds will be used to resource transracial adoptive families with black and brown children by providing a culturally appropriate backpack including Band-Aids, crayons, stickers, and books that reflect the color of Black and Brown children. They will also be used to build upon and expand Maple Avenue Ministries’ Freedom Fighter for Justice middle school student initiative to include young men and partner churches. Funds will also help educate and train young adults to perform first-person narratives of Black people for community and educational events like MLK Day, Juneteenth, and Black History Month.
Amount awarded: $6,000
Welcome kits for immigrant families
Funds will be used to provide bilingual ‘welcome kits’ to immigrant families as they enroll their child or children in K-12 schools.
CFHZ’s 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 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. The YAC made its first grant in 1993 and since then, has granted over $1.8 million to support Holland/Zeeland area youth and over 200 high school students have served on the YAC.
“The YAC had a very difficult decision to make among programs that continue to pursue centering and elevating the voices of some of the most marginalized members of our community. I am truly excited about their decision to invest in these very timely efforts and grateful for the trusted relationships, expertise and commitments of the organizations funded to continue this important work of building a more racially just Holland/Zeeland,” said Yah-Hanna Jenkins Leys, Director of Community Impact.