Community Foundation makes $55,000 in youth-led grants to support mental health, anti-violence efforts

In Press Release

Every student deserves a quality education and to feel safe within school.

But following the recent mass shooting at Michigan State University and more than a year after the Oxford High School shooting students continue to endure violence, threats of violence and stressors from the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s why the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan today announced $55,000 in youth-led grants to support ongoing mental health and anti-violence efforts throughout our region. 

The $55,000 in grants comes from a $100,000 pool of money initiated and overseen by the Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee after the Oxford shooting in November 2021.

The purpose of this Youth-to-Youth Community Solutions Fund is to help southeast Michigan schools tackle mental health, gun violence and school safety. (The latest round of grantmaking from this fund was supplemented by an additional $15,000 from another youth-directed fund at the Community Foundation.) 

Our hearts are heavy for the students and families impacted by Feb. 13’s shooting at Michigan State University,” said Richard (Ric) DeVore, president Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. “The three students who so tragically lost their lives are from communities we serve here in southeast Michigan.”  

“All youth in our region have experienced so much over the last few years, including COVID-19, the Oxford High School shooting, and ongoing threats of violence in their schools. They deserve the fundamental right to feel safe in school to learn in a place where they can focus and maintain strong connections with friends. This remains a critical time for young people and families to have support, and to listen to youth about the change that they want to see around gun violence and school safety.” 

The current round of grantmaking benefits the following nonprofit organizations that work to supplement school capacity.

  • Congress of Communities $10,000 for a culturally relevant mental health program for youth in southwest Detroit, in partnership with local healing practitioners 
  • Detroit Food & Entrepreneurship Academy$10,000 for an expanded afterschool wellness program for students 
  • Clarence Phillips Ascend Organization, Inc. $25,000 for youth mental health and anti-violence training programs in Pontiac (an additional $15,000 was leveraged on this grant from the endowed Youth Leadership Fund at the foundation) 
  • Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities  $10,000  for youth-led distribution of 345 multi-lingual mental health kits across 23 selected schools in Wayne County 

A previous $60,000 round of grantmaking from the Youth-to-Youth Community Solutions Fund supported youth-led initiatives within schools throughout southeast Michigan. Separately, the Community Foundation granted $10,000 to Oxford Public Schools after the shooting and $75,000 to Common Ground for its “All for Oxford Resiliency Center,” located in Oxford, Mich. 

The Youth Advisory Committee, also known as “the YAC,” helps the Community Foundation engage youth leaders and voices in shaping the future.

During the past 30-plus years, its middle school-, high school- and college-age advisors have recommended nearly 200 grants that promote youth leadership throughout our region, totaling more than $1.3 million.

Learn more about the Youth Advisory Committee